By Susie Ekberg
Q: No matter how hard I try, I always end up in the same spot. I can’t seem to move forward in my life. It shouldn’t be this hard, should it? What am I doing wrong?
A: Sigh. I SO hear you, sister! We try SO hard to improve our lives, don’t we? We work hard, cultivate loving relationships, do everything we’ve been told are the “right” things to do, and… nothing. Or so it seems. When I look at you, I see someone who’s very diligent and hard-working. You believe in the importance of putting your nose to the grindstone (ouch) and life will reward you. So you keep doing what you think will work, but never seems to. If you look up from your grindstone, are you noticing anything funny? You’re going around in circles. Around and around, wearing a deep groove into the dirt. How CAN you move forward if you keep doing the same things all the time?
Yes, change is difficult, but here’s a huge secret: if nothing changes, nothing changes. Isn’t that a nifty quote? Simple, obvious, but really think about your life for a minute. Imagine that as a child your life is symbolized by a wide open field. You’re free to run around anywhere you want, you’re free to explore. You don’t have any limitations. Then someone, say, a parent, tells you that you mustn’t be so exuberant, be quieter. Energetically a little brick gets put in your field.
The next time you want to sing, you remember those words, and you don’t sing. Another energetic brick gets placed on top of that first brick. Throughout your years you hear more and more about how you can’t do things, you shouldn’t do certain things, you aren’t certain things, and pretty soon a nice little energetic wall has gone up all around you, walling you in, hampering your free movement, blocking your view of your beautiful open field. All you CAN do is go around and around in that little area you’ve allowed yourself to operate within. You don’t see any other options, but just like the lobster in the cooking pot, it’s come upon you so slowly, that wall-building, that maybe you haven’t even noticed that walking in circles is all you now CAN do.
I love the story of training elephants. Okay, let me back up –- I actually don’t LOVE what they do to the elephants, but I love what the story illustrates. When an elephant is little, the trainers put a heavy chain on one of their back legs so they can’t get away. The elephant learns to stay. As the elephant grows, the chain gradually gets replaced by a rope that’s tied to a post, then eventually just to a rope that isn’t tied to anything. But the elephant has the original memory of that chain on his leg, and how that prevented him from escaping, so even though there’s only a flimsy little rope now tied to his leg (not even attached to anything!) he still stays, thinking he’s still tied down. Don’t you think we’re the same way? We get programmed when we’re younger and more vulnerable, so that even though that energy really doesn’t have the ability to control us anymore, we act as if it is still powerful, and still listen to it.
The first thing I would suggest to you is to sit quietly every day and just get used to being in your body again. If you are always out taking care of others, working hard, and focusing on your external world, you aren’t there for your own life. Then it’s almost impossible to know what you think, what you want, know where you want to go in your “field” of life.
Once you’ve gotten comfortable with being inside your own life, try journaling about those messages you may have bought throughout the years. These could be thoughts like, “You’re not very smart, you’re not very pretty, you’re not good in math, you’re not a good singer, you’re not mature, you’re weird, you’re too tall, too short, too fat, too skinny” –- you get the idea. Ask yourself honestly, “is this true?” Your answer should always be a resounding NO! All of those statements are judgment statements, subjective, someone else’s opinion. None of it is based in fact. Even being too tall (yes, I’ve heard that one once or twice) is only because the other person is shorter than you. If that person were 7 feet tall, I guarantee you they wouldn’t call you too tall!
See if you can’t see all of those statements as bricks in a wall, and mentally imagine each time you say NO to any of those thoughts when they come up, that you’re smashing part of that wall with a giant sledgehammer of consciousness! Try it -– try to catch one those thoughts as you’re having them, because I guarantee you that you ARE perpetuating that illusion of the brick wall every time you recreate those thoughts. There’s nobody saying them to you anymore -– you’ve effectively internalized them.
THERE’S NO CHAIN ON YOUR LEG. If someone DOES say something hurtful to you, then you get a chance to help them with their issues by not taking the hurt they’re dumping on you. Realize it’s about THEM, and tell them that if you need to, lovingly but firmly that you do not believe what they are saying. That will also greatly empower you, because you are seeing the bricks in their hands, and refusing to let them plant them in your field. They never even get started building -– isn’t that great?
This takes time, yes, it does. But a river will just keep flowing in the same direction unless you dig a new path for it. And that redirecting takes time, but when it’s done, you’ll be going where YOU want to go, in the direction YOU want to head, with no more limitations. And isn’t that well worth it? In your case, my resounding answer for you is a definite YES!
So the answers to your two questions are yes, it IS hard work to change the momentum of your life, but you haven’t been doing anything “wrong.” Just repeating the same things. Do it differently, see the change. Take that wall down –- it was never really there in the first place. And go dance in your field again.
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