During yoga this morning, my radiating guide, Natasha conducted a “slow” class. Long-held poses, movement into them at caterpillar speed. And in this I was reminded of how much more challenging moving slowly than fast can be.
We oftentimes get this mixed up. We navigate the world quickly, racing through our to-do lists, feeling overwhelmed, but secretly important carrying the coveted label of “busy”. We look at busy people, fast people as accomplished people. And we want to be that. We are “supposed” to be that.
The thing is though, going fast is not hard. Maybe we exhaust ourselves in fast-paced busyness because we are looking for validation for our efforts. We’ve all been praised for being busy, for being accomplished. No one gets a trophy for last place.
It is easier to hop from thing to thing, disconnected, focused solely on our end game, than it is to do things mindfully. Slowing down is hard. Like in a slow yoga pose, where we have to really draw our attention to the physical sensations in our muscles, in a slow life pose, we have to really draw our attention to how it feels to be where we are, emotionally. So we try not to. Because that’s hard. That’s uncomfortable.
So we create hiding places. Hiding places that create an illusion of too busy to deal with anything real, anything hot. Places such as an over-committed social calendar, a Netflix marathon, errands upon errands. These things, in and of themselves, are not bad (trust me… I love a good binge watch of Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce). In fact they can be good. It is only when our places prevent us from delving into our real, hot stuff…. our messy stuff… the hard stuff. Let me explain…
In 2016 my hiding place was studying and work. And I justified my places at every turn by telling myself that studying and working as much and as hard as possible was necessary to move my vision into reality. It was an easy sell to myself.
The truth is that hard work did serve me well. But this is only part of the truth. The other side of my truth is that studying and work became a hiding place for me. They offered safe little cocoons… a way for me to not deal with substantial pain, substantial hot, real stuff. And it worked. I flourished in my study and work goals and I didn’t touch my hot stuff. But the hiding didn’t make it go away.
You see, my fear was that if I slowed down… if I stopped, then I would crumble under my hot mountain of pain. I would have to surrender to it… surrender to not being able to fix it, but just to be able to feel my way through and out to the other side. Studying and working… going fast… was so much easier than the slow movement through pain.
We all have our hiding places… most of us have many. The question is…What are we hiding from? And what would emerge if we didn’t?
In the writing of this post, I’ve checked email (at least 3 times), scrolled through Instagram and my bank account, ate a banana and added 2 things to my to-do list. It’s taking me 5x longer than it needs to… which is always an alarm to me that I’m hiding.
I’m hiding from completion. I’m hiding from the fear of pressing send. I’m hiding from the feeling of self-doubt… “What if I forgot to write something? What if it doesn’t make sense? What if no one reads it? Or worse yet, what if someone does read it, and it doesn’t connect? Or even worse than that, what if someone reads it and judges me unkindly?” I’m hiding from my hot stuff of insecurity. I’m hiding from the emergence of “not good enough” narratives flooding my head and my heart.
Here’s another truth. We can hide from our perceived pain and it will work, for awhile… but I know two other things to be true. I know that pain will catch up with us. We are meant to feel it. We are meant to use our pain as fuel for our journey. We are gifted pain as a means to emerge into our best selves, like a caterpillar emerges into a butterfly. I also know that when we protect ourselves from pain, when we don’t allow ourselves to feel, we also don’t allow ourselves to heal and it is in the healing that we are gifted the opportunity to feel our truest joy and potential. That’s the reward of pain.
So I’m a minute away from completion, from pressing send, from feeling what will emerge. But this time, I’m all in. I’m welcoming it, knowing that on the other side of my hot stuff, is some real cool growth.