I woke up January 1st with a hangover. I am an Irish lass who loves to celebrate and that involved many glasses of bubbles on this eve of the New Year. There have been many overly indulgent nights over my lifetime but this one felt profoundly different.
I realized that I was wasting my own time. And I have no idea how much time I actually have on this planet. None of us do.
So why would I waste it? It prompted me to look at other things I was doing in my life to check out or numb out of life. Hmmm. That’s a Pandora’s box isn’t it?
We all participate in checking out and various levels of addiction with our “drugs” of choice. I know this is a sticky topic but bear with me. Nobody enjoys feeling pain and we go through great effort to avoid it.
This is the Year of Checking In, Not Checking Out. I know you are perched on this beginning of the New Year wondering how this year will unfold. There will certainly be magic. There will certainly be hardship. There will certainly be mountains to climb, demons to fight and battles won valiantly.
The more conscious and present we are in our lives, the better it gets. It may not be the easier path to take but it IS the path to greater satisfaction, more intimate connection, and crafting a life that you actually enjoy. Commit to being fully awake and bold acknowledgment of where you might still want to be asleep!
First, we have to know what we are doing when we are numbing out. What is the darkness that we are avoiding? Are you lonely? Are you worried about your health, your relationship, your future? Are you angry with someone (still)? Where are you keeping your stimulations levels high to avoid feeling?
Some of the ways we employ distractions to avoid our deeper material are:
Technology-We are the generation that coined the term “binge watching.” What are we really doing when we are watching 4-8+ hours of television in a row? Are we in full enjoyment and pleasure? What are we avoiding? What social anxiety or discomfort or social connection are we seeking when we are doing the cracked out round robin of checking our email, IG, FB, and all of our apps?
Food-If you are eating a whole bag or box of something, you are not hungry for food. You are hungry for something else.
Being Busy-We live in a culture that celebrates being busy. In fact, we calculate much of our self worth based on our level of productivity. We feel terrible when we are “lazy” and not getting things done. How many times do you ask someone how they are and they respond with “I’m SO busy.” WHAT we are doing has become an emotional cover for HOW we are doing. Overscheduling creates a highly charged nervous system that leaves no time for anything uncomfortable that might need to come to the surface.
Substances-Pain killers. Sugar. Weed. Wine. Etc. These don’t really need an explanation. You know what you’re up to. The invitation is to notice when and why.
This is not a call for ascetic living. This is not about no pleasure. This is only about Paying Attention to what you might be doing to disconnect from what’s really going on with you.
Get excited to dig into it. Make a choice to question the roots of discontent and commit to investigating your inner realms. There’s a lot of deep material that needs to be felt and released.
Underneath all the distractions is the core wound. We constantly seek to get away from the grief, loss, disappointment, and hurt. Our addiction to stimulation and busyness keeps us in the mind and avoids the feelings that live in the body.
Commit to being awake! Commit to being aroused, active, conscious and aware. Commit to yourself this year.
As always, I am here as your gentle guide if you would like to shine a light on what may have felt too difficult to look at alone.