Why Do We Hold Ourselves Back?
The other day I climbed a mountain by accident.
I was lost in thought walking the dogs on a new trail. Lola kept pulling to the left. She fancies herself a professional deer hunter and she was sniffing out a hot lead. She pulled and I followed.
The other dogs were scampering close behind.
I was thinking about taxes, thinking about one of my kids who’s having a hard time, thinking about summer, about schedules, about change, about future.
I was everywhere but present.
Suddenly I looked around and we were way up above the road, deep in the woods. The traffic was barely audible. The top of the hill was near and we were all panting madly.
I felt like screaming. It's a feeling that comes over me anytime I find myself in deep woods solitude. Not because anything is specifically wrong but because nothing is specifically right and so much still feels stifled lately. Deep woods solitude is hard to come by. It feels safe to me, like a pillow that can absorb all the loudness that wants out.
I remember the early days after my daughter was born. I watched a cheesy “get your pre-preggers body back!” exercise video online and the instructor said: think about how many months it took to grow your baby in your body. It will take at least that long to shed the weight and get your old body back.
When I think of that now it makes me mental. We feed ourselves so many versions of this egoic, linear thinking in every corner of our lives and it sets us up for disaster. Like: what you put in is what you’ll get out.
Nope! Not all the time! Not as a sacred rule!
There are things we've put our whole hearts into, like a game of hokey pokey, and instead of the triple cherry jackpot, we've received loss and pain and hard lessons back, in return.
The only sacred rules I’m able to live by reliably at this stage in my journey are:
All things are prone to change.
Life is not fair - Life is a teacher.
Our deeply held beliefs govern our path, whether we’re conscious of them or not.
I lost my preggers weight within weeks because I had a baby who wanted to nurse 24/7 and my metabolism was on fire. I was actually thinner than I was before child. Baby number two was totally different. The weight stuck to me stubbornly regardless of breastfeeding and my body never completely went back to the way it used to be.
I felt betrayed by this at the time. Like my superpowers had stopped working. My expectations and my reality fell out of sync.
This kind of falling out of alignment happens for many of us, over and over, all day long. Expectations are always future-dwelling, while reality, in stark contrast, is happening right here, moment by moment. We can miss its nuances ultra easily. We can find ourselves panting, at the top of a mountain somehow, without the slightest understanding how we got there.
Don’t bank on an outcome. Outcomes, like expectations, can be slippery, shifty, potentially disappointing things. Bank on the unfolding. Bank on your capacity to work with the unfolding skillfully. Bring your whole heart to the unfolding and watch it with reverence. It will open like a new bloom and show itself to you.
What we put in is not always, necessarily, what we will get out. But that doesn’t mean we should relegate ourselves to life on the sidelines either.
What we put in, to our life, to our endeavors, is our energy. There is nothing more important than that. Even time is wasted on us if we don’t have access to our energy in order to make the most of our time.
So often, what we put in is not our whole wholeness. We hold a little something back. We want proof before we’re willing to jump. We want a guarantee or we’re not playing.
So often, what gets in the way of our putting our whole selves into the game is the backlog of screams that need some version of deep woods solitude to release themselves. There’s a heaviness to a backlog. There’s a heaviness to everything we carry around within ourselves unconsciously.
One of the kindest, most self-loving and radically healing acts we can undertake in our lives is to tend to that backlog. Check on it. Listen to what it wants to say or scream. Give it a place to unwind itself. To empty its heavy pockets. To release.
I've been thinking a lot about something I read a long time ago regarding the tendency for intimacy to include fighting. Often because we don't feel safe letting it rip with anyone else besides our nearest and dearest. The point was: what matters most in a fight is not who comes out on top, who proves their point or gets the last word in. What matters most in a fight is the opportunity for repair, after the fight.
Many of us are living lives where that opportunity for repair never happened. So we walk around holding the energy of closure-less-ness ongoingly and it's extremely painful.
If you never had the gift of being able to repair, you can still give yourself the gift of release. Find your woods, your pillow, your mountain top, your blank page, your meditation cushion, your long, solo road trip and let it out. You're allowed. In fact, you're required. It is essential. To your Soul and to the future you're walking toward.
An empty bucket is easier to carry than a full one. And an empty bucket ensures there will be room to scoop up the riches of all you discover and take them back with you.
Have a beautiful week friends. Keep walking your path and keep praying for peace on earth,