The Shift: Being Stuck to Taking Action

It feels like it has been forever since my last post.  I’ve thought about writing plenty of times and I have lots to say, but somehow I could never seem to find the time…  it just kept passing me by.

My job is pretty demanding and I don’t really love it that much these days.  I used to love it.  A lot.  But I find myself wanting to do it less and less each day.  Most of the time I work independently, with nobody watching over my shoulder, so it doesn’t really get noticed when I’m not actually working, except for the fact that my work is not getting done.  So I have to force myself to keep at it, white knuckling, and have started bargaining with myself about distractions.  I say to myself “I want to write a blog post”and then I determine that I MUST finish the task I have been working on, or more accurately been avoiding, and THEN I can write a blog post.  The bargaining chip varies.  Sometimes it’s eating lunch.  Sometimes it’s taking a break, or a walk, or some other form of self care.

When I bargain with myself one of the following happens:

  1. I do the task I have to do and then no longer feel like doing the one I wanted, or
  2. I don’t do the task and subsequently don’t allow myself the reward

I notice that this is the same tactic I use in other areas of my life.  WHEN I complete the task/overcome the obstacle (lose weight, get organized, be perfect), THEN I can love myself, be seen, do what would make me happy, etc.

The problem is that this is clearly a Catch 22.  I have to love myself, go confidently into the world, be happy, in order to complete these tasks/overcome these challenges, but I don’t allow myself the satisfaction of self acceptance, love, happiness UNTIL I have become better.  Chicken.  Egg.  Impossible situation.  One of them has to come first.  I don’t want to waste any more time not being happy/satisfied/accepted by me, but I have not yet overcome the distortion that I first need to prove my worth, or that I have earned it.

And while I work on sorting this out, time passes anyway.  No matter how hard I wish and pray for it to stop, I keep losing days/weeks/months, because time stops for no one.  Until now, I have pretended not to notice.  If I don’t acknowledge the passing of time, it must not really be passing.  If I pretend there is no time, life is not happening, time is not passing anyway, then I don’t have to acknowledge my stuckness.  If I don’t experience life, here and now, then I’m not really missing anything.  So, I numb myself with food.  I escape into TV series.  I “work” (or sit at my desk and act like I am, while nothing gets done).  Time progresses, but I don’t progress with it.  This happens all the time.  I look up from my distractions and realize that another month has passed.  **Raises fist to the sky and screams “TIIIIMMMMEEEEEE”**

But I am at a point in my recovery that I can’t keep pretending I don’t see the hole, so I am choosing action.  I gave myself a break last week.  A vacation from the constant reminders that I don’t feel like I am enough.  I gave myself a technology time out.  I took a trip alone without a computer or cell phone, or any other convenience item that could distract me from my thoughts and feelings in the moment.  Have you seen the video of Louis CK on Conan from last year?  If you have not, it’s linked and posted below.  He’s trying to be funny about it, but what he is saying about our inability to just be and feel sadness is actually extremely profound and I feel that in my own life.  I recognize that I use avoidance tactics (phone/computer, TV, food, etc) to avoid the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings.

I took the technology hiatus to re-introduce myself to the feeling of processing my thoughts, instead of pushing them aside for later.  In those 24 hours of relative silence and journaling, I decided to working on shifting my life to action.   You cannot find peace/happiness/satisfaction by avoiding life, so I am going to take as many baby steps as needed until I find them and then forever after that.

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