What’s It All About?
There was a comic strip started in the mid-1950s about a character named “Beetle Bailey”. He was a lowly private in the army who got himself into trouble by making naive mistakes. The particular cartoon I am recalling shows Beetle coming up to a secured area. The armed guard hears someone approaching and yells: “Who goes there?’ Beetle answers back: “Often I ask myself that very same question. Who am I? And where am I going?”
The daily news consistently feeds up doom and gloom. The fear mongering is fostered by a floundering market, crazy political rhetoric and a general feeling that we may be heading down a slippery slide towards disaster.
The question, “What’s it all about?” is one that naturally surfaces when life has thrown too many curve balls and a distaste for the game temporarily sets in. Finding the will and the energy to get up and start again can be elusive. At those times, the skill of introspection can be helpful.
We must first discover what is dampening our spirits. The more introverted your personality and the more sensitive you are to your environment, the more challenging it is to keep charging ahead, no matter what.
Some of us are heartier than others. My Chinese doctor keeps an onion and an orchid in his office to illustrate the yin and yang energies. He points out that the onion can continue to survive with no water and no soil to nourish it. It keeps on growing no matter what. The orchid requires a specific climate in order to flourish. Too much or too little water, sunlight or air and the orchid falters.
True grit seems to be a common expectation in our culture. Do or die. Heroically standing in front of cannons, persistence and extreme outlays of enthusiastic participation seems to be the whip that many of us use to keep on striving for perfection.
If the idea of someone giving you a well-meaning pep talk when you are temporarily down and out puts your teeth on edge, face the fact that your answer is to go within to find the key that unlocks your heart. The world doesn’t hold your answers.
You must approach yourself like a fine surgeon. Instead of hacking away at your injured feelings of disappointment and despair, it is necessary to remember that it is most important to suture a wound. Treating yourself harshly out of misplaced guilt about dragging your feet just prolongs the agony of being stuck. I remember as a kid watching jungle movies where someone had the misfortune of stepping into quicksand. The more they struggled and fought, the faster they were sucked under.
When stuck in attitudinal quicksand, the way out is to admit that you are currently a victim captured by thick, murky, pulsating fear or anger, resentment or disappointment, sadness or pain. You are fighting with the feelings one minute and numbing out or fleeing from them the next. This push me/pull me struggle is exhausting, ineffective and understandable. Understandable because overworking the problem seems to be better than giving up and passively going under.
Follow these steps to stop the downward spiral. Admit that you are feeling victimized. That will begin to stop the struggle. Next, acknowledge that you are also the rescuer. Realize it is possible to be both the victim and the rescuer if you are willing to give up persecuting yourself through harsh inner judgments and disparaging commands and demands.
When you consciously choose to put a stop to inner conflict by accepting your feelings, no matter what they are, this drama can dissolve. When you accept and embrace both your sensitivities and your strengths, you begin to find your personal rhythm, timing and tempo once again.
When you decide to provide an accepting home for all of your orphaned feelings, they will bring you the precious gift of emotional integrity. When we have access to our true feelings, we become more fully informed about who we are. We become more conscious.
Guilt, resentment and emotional upset are activated when we ignore the need for a time out from both external and internal demands for action before we are emotionally ready to choose.
In order to make clear, discerning choices for our lives, it is necessary to tune into as many channels of information about what is really going on. Becoming more conscious allows answers to a slightly different question “Who am I now?”
Susan is a local author of “Beyond Intellect: Journey Into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind.” Reach her at: susanvelasquez.com