glow notes

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

As if

Jacob Glass, a fabulous spiritual coach and speaker, writes this week about Acting As If . That's also something that Barbara Sher talks about in her fabulous career book I Could Do Anything if Only I Knew What it Was. In part, Acting As If is about deciding what you want, then acting as if you have it. How would I dress if I had my ideal career? How and what would I eat if I were a naturally thin person? What would I do today if I had all the energy I wish I had? What would a constitutionally happy Ellie do in this situation?

I see a balance here between denying feelings that are painful or hard and focusing awareness of what I want. On the one hand, there is a time to say "I'm tired and I need a nap today," "that pissed me off and I'm not over it," or "sheezus, I hate my job and I want out." On the other, when we act as if we already have what we want, we invite it into our lives. It's a way of getting unstuck, out of ruts. Or, as my boxing teacher used to yell at us as we sweated through bag drills: your body doesn't give up on you, your mind does! (That's not quite true, sometimes my body does give out on me, but you get the point).

Yesterday I walked up a flight of stairs and could feel my hips ache (note to self: I need to stretch every day) and a creeping fatigue. I quickly made two decisions. One, I needed to be kind to my body, stretch it out, do some restorative yoga, eat some extra carbs, and give it a light cardio day, maybe a day off. Two, I wasn't going to give in to the part of the fatigue that was in my head.

What does that mean? Just that part of my fatigue wasn't about my body being tired, it was about a pattern of overwork, expectations of perfection, and collapse that I set up a long, long time ago and that isn't useful in my life today. I need not push myself so hard that I need a week off. I can take steps to feel great right now! It's an ongoing process, detangling these things, and a perpetually fascinating one!

But wait! Where's the acting As If? Hmmm . . . well, it's like holding two ideas in my heart at once. The one idea is being kind to myself, being in dialogue with myself, giving myself what I need. The other one is living as if I already have all the energy that I need, of not giving in to brain waves that are stuck in a low energy state.

What patterns can you let go of today?

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