Become aware of your hands. Are they tense or relaxed? Closed in a fist or soft? Are they gripping tightly or open to receive? If our hands are a metaphor for our lives, then the fist, the gripping, could point to:
- holding onto ideas, plans, jobs – perhaps for too long
- trying to control people and situations around us
- refusing to change, staying in the known
Alternatively, soft and open, “palms up” hands could invite:
- letting go and inviting change
- spaciousness and readiness to receive
- willingness to collaborate with a wider world
Experiment with me now. Close your hands tightly in clenched fists. Breathe in deeply. Scan beyond your hands and notice your entire body. Do you find your entire body clenched? Imagine how difficult it would be to navigate life from this place. Now, open your hands and rest them, palms up, in your lap. Take a deep breath. Scan your body. Feel the difference?
Many of us hang onto what we know out of fear of the unknown:
At least I know what to expect here. The pain and suffering I know is better than what I don’t.
Yet, life is constantly in motion and changing. We must take risks. Today, imagine living with open palms and letting go into possibility, joy, delight, abundance. Trust that a step into the unknown, even a small step, just might be vital to your larger vision and life purpose.
When you find yourself afraid or defensive, use yours hands. Make a fist. Feel the energy in holding on. Then open your palms and breathe again. Dare to unclench your grip.
What are you holding onto now?
What do you notice as you loosen your grip?
What step will you dare to soften into?
… and possibly maybe and later.
I’ve spent much of my life practicing codependency:
“I don’t know, whatever YOU want”
in response to just about any request for my preferences – simple things like, “Where should we go for dinner?” or “What would you like to watch on television?”
I’ve also realized another form codependency takes:
a hesitation around sharing some of my innermost thoughts and ideas, afraid of what you might think while at the same time not feeling heard or even loved for who I am.
Think about that. Do you ever withhold your innermost self, even from those closest to you, but then not feel heard or understood? Yikes! If I never share my “real”, how can I possibly know that you love/like/or care about me? I haven’t given you the opportunity to see me!
If any of this sounds like you, here are a few thoughts:
- Make requests! Freely ask for what you would like. (Note that this requires you to be honest with yourself first!) But be prepared for: yes, no, counter offer, I need some time to think about it – I’ll get back to you. When you ask, you honor yourself. When you receive a “no” or something less than you ask for, don’t take it personally! Most of the time it isn’t about you.
- Consider this: two people in any relationship are individuals with very different life experiences. What a rarity it would be to like or love EVERYTHING in the same way as this other person! So be you and share your preferences but EXPECT both resonance and dissonance, yes and no. Let the no’s or counter offers be a place to grow, shift and change. In the relationships you deeply care about, the process of counter offers is a journey of co-creating from YOU AND ME to WE.
- Say NO! One of the hardest things for a well practiced codependent is to say no. We like to please others. We like to be liked. So we sometimes run ragged saying yes and yes and “Yes, I’ll do that too.” Just as we need to freely accept another’s yes, no or counter offer, we, too, must be willing to respond in the same ways.
In what ways do you deny your preferences?
Where do you “yes” when “no” would be more truthful?
What part of you is ready to be revealed to a safe other?
What virtues fill your resume? While you may not have used the term, virtues, you know the likes of the answer: efficient, detail oriented, creative, great problem solver, powerful leader, visionary, quick learner. Depending on the job you desire, you carefully craft a resume which highlights the qualities you possess which are a great fit. You list accomplishments to prove it.
Recently, I heard a message from David Brooks in the New York Times (The Moral Bucket List) where he pointed out the obvious: Continue reading Resume “virtues” and more!
What??????????? Don’t we all desire joy, happiness, delight? Don’t we go in search of those people and activities which will bring these feelings to us?
Likely, most of us DO seek joy. Yet, even when it shows up we can miss the full impact of its presence. Why is that? And why, if we all desire joy, would I suggest that you stop seeking it?
Here’s why. Continue reading Stop Seeking Joy!
What is your inner response, reaction, feeling when you “don’t know”? How do you usually navigate life? Do you gravitate toward things you know, toward the facts, what you’ve done before, what you know you can accomplish? Do you gravitate toward the certainty of knowing, rather than the openness, curiosity, vulnerability of the unknown? Continue reading Living in the Question …