Every morning before I allow the day to provide my with its plan for me, I mediate and try to run interference on the potential cascading of negative thoughts that often rush in to set the tone for my day. As I get into the day I am generally good, but it is when I am not distracted and alone with my thoughts that often my mind serves me a healthy dose of low self -esteem, fear and frustration. Now if you have met me, or think you know me, you would assume that I have it all together, and for the most part I have a life I am very grateful for, but like many I think, I work hard at being even keeled. I have invested countless hours in reading, research and personal development in an effort to do…what? Quite often our drivers are unconscious to us, meaning that what drives us or motivates us is not always apparent and not what we think. I had hoped with the countless hours of self-improvement, study would have eased my troubled mind, and it has helped me immeasurably in many ways, but I felt like there was something still missing. Only in the last little bit have I begin to understand a pattern of mine and it all makes sense to me. When I grew up there was alcohol and violence in my environment, so as young children we were to young to leave home or to even contemplate it so all we could do was “numb” ourselves to the chaos that we lived in day to day. As we got a bit older, we ran away from home to escape the craziness, sometime only to be brought back home for a brief time until we found an opportunity to leave again. So the learned coping mechanism was either to “run” or “numb”, and that was the pattern I think all the kids in our family used for years. But what happens when you can no longer run? Numbing becomes the dominant trait now, and was for me. It expressed itself in various ways, over achieving and busyness, and I think that as long as I was doing something that made me feel better about myself I could avoid having to sift and sort through the dark thoughts from my history that beckoned for my attention. But there was mounting anxiety in me as the more complex my life became, the more demands that were being made on my time and energy, the harder it was to numb and I could no longer run. I had come to the “end of rope” as it were and now I was being asked to “grow”. Everything I have ever read and study over the years had alluded about the “birth pangs” of self-realization and personal growth, but I never truly realized what it meant until now. In growth we must change our whole paradigm, how we view the world, how we view ourselves, and there is a necessity to change the meaning of all the things you have every experienced and to look for the gift in all of them. It’s funny how life works, how the simple act of taking one step forward can seem like the most terrifying decision you will ever make, but in that one small act of courage and faith a whole new world of possibilities opens up.
We can choose to “run, numb or grow”. What will you choose??
C. David Gilks Your Fellow Traveler
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