New Year, New Possibilities!
Have you ever noticed that sometimes there are things that have worked for you for a LONG time that, suddenly, do not work anymore?
These things may work so well, and be so efficient that we do not even notice what they are actually doing for us. How they are unconditionally making our lives easier in some way, giving us relief. They have just always been there, like a good friend, or a comfy old shoe. We don’t notice the comfort that this thing brings to us, until it is gone. And then, one day, done! Just like that. Out of the blue it no longer works.
Surely you have experienced this with your phone or your computer (of course, when you are away from home), your air conditioner (when it’s the hottest week of the year), or your washing machine. It may even be your body that is no longer working for you like it once did.
The Washing Machine
Just before the holidays, our trusted, steadfast, unwavering, dependable washing machine kicked the bucket. This washing machine had been around for a LONG time and worked everyday, like a charm.
Now, we had noticed some things, funny noises, clicks, clacks and loud whirring, maybe clothes not rinsing as well, having to run the machine twice. We just got used to it; and, the trusty steed of a machine just kept going. And then, it didn’t. Just like that. And so, for the holidays, “Santa” brought us a new washing machine. We didn’t even know what we were missing! This machine uses less water, holds twice as many items, and purrs like a quiet little kitten….you can even watch the clothes being washed for you through the window in the lid! What a welcome and refreshing gift.
Our old machine literally kicking the bucket gave us the opportunity to experience something new, something that works better for us and brings us new perspective on the efficient use of our resources.
Do you see where I am going with this? Could it be that the washing machine represents our habits and patterns, or even part of our body that are not working as efficiently? Some of our parts and patterns have worked for us for a LONG time and then suddenly do not. When the old machine (pattern/habit) stops working, we can welcome in the new pattern or way of thinking, that can better serve us.
Do you have any habits or patterns that would benefit from a breakdown? If so, keep reading and discover how you can break-it-down for your benefit.
The Breakdown: When Things Stop Working for Us
This can feel like a bummer and be totally frustrating. Notice your initial response when your phone, or your AC stops working. I can almost hear a guttural UGH! Also, notice, how you feel when your pattern of trying to please someone stops working and they are very unhappy with you. Or when we have an injury or pain in our back that keeps us from doing what we love to do. We can think that the world is against us or trying to make things hard for us, or slow us down. “Why is this happening now?”
When the habits, patterns, (and household appliances) that have worked for us for years, or even a lifetime, no longer work for us it can show up in our lives in painful ways: relationships become more challenging & tumultuous, our job no longer feels like a fit, we don’t feel like people are showing up for us, we feel isolated, irritated, and get easily agitated (like a washing machine), or maybe even experience physical pain.
Resistance & Agitation are a Good Sign!
This agitation might be an indicator that the way we are going about things is not working for us, taking our energy, or causing pain for ourselves and others. Our inner knowing is aware of this but our outer behavior is not a match because we do not know another way to behave, yet. This will cause natural resistance & frustration. This resistance is a good sign! It indicates that we have hit something that holds great value and importance to us.
Resistance is a work of genius (and a paradox) installed by the universe, letting us know exactly what needs attention.
It is not the outer things that we point to and blame that are the problem. What the outward “problem” is pointing to is an inner desire, or need, that is not being met. The outward “problem” is actually the solution to the inner disturbance that we are having & that we need to resolve in order to be free of our internal suffering. The inner disturbance is usually unconscious, so we need the outer problem to bring our attention to it, like a projection screen.
Tara Brach calls this “the squeeze”. She describes it as “the squeeze of your future self calling you.” The call to live in your wholeness, not in your suffering. She compares this squeeze to moving through the birth canal. When change is calling, we feel the squeeze. The squeeze is the indicator that it is time to awaken & move. Something new awaits you. Even better than a new washing machine! Unfortunately, or fortunately, the squeeze can show up when we least expect it, but it will come up when our (unconscious) patterns are no longer working for us & we are ready for change.
The other paradox is that our response to our phone breaking is not different from our response to letting go of old patterns. What is your pattern when things stop working well?
Do you immediately & hastily fix it so you do not have to live without it or feel the discomfort of loss? Do you wait and wait and wait for the right moment, until you "have time", or do you avoid it altogether? Do you become angry and indignant? Notice your style and how it works for you.
The next time you find yourself upset because your computer or your phone is not working, notice how you feel inside. This might be a similar reaction or feeling you have when your way of doing things is being threatened and you are being asked to change. The comfort of the old habit, is juicy and satisfying, but not nourishing or resourceful in the big picture. The discomfort of the new choice is often awkward and clumsy which we easily avoid if we are not paying attention.
SO…..if you feel:
Awkward & Clumsy = Change, Growth, Learnings & New Possibilities!
Comfy & Familiar = Old habit = Auto pilot = (same old, same old) = Be Aware!
The more that we can recognize that the discomfort of the squeeze is a good omen, the more open and responsive we can be to life and what it brings us, pleasant or unpleasant. We can be attuned to the beneficial information that is being provided for us and actually learn from our losses.
New Possibilities Worksheet
Grab a piece of paper and jot down your answers to the following questions:
1) What is not working for you right now?
Go ahead, write it down. (could be an old habit, internal thought pattern, or an old chair, or your knee)
2) Can you detect a feeling, belief, or emotion underneath this problem?
Where do you feel this in your body?
Write it down. Feel this feeling in your body and notice what your inner critic is saying to.
3) What IS working for you right now?
Write it down.
4) Can you detect a feeling, belief, or emotion underneath this?
Where in your body?
5) Write down ONE thing that you can do differently (a new behavior) to address what is not working for you right now. Write it down. Do it everyday for 5 days. Example: "I breathe when I feel the tension in my stomach around what is not working.")
4) Write down ONE thing that you can do to feed what is working for you right now. Write it down. Do it daily x5 days
CONGRATULIATIONS! You are now practicing the art of opening to possibilities!!