Sunday, September 11, 2011

I hereby abdicate my responsibility to YOU! You fix it!

If its scary to go to yoga because you have a belly, go anyway. Find your place of benefit, get over yourself and get to work Yup, that's me. Yup, my belly goes to Yoga with me. (photo Abbie Wade, Studio: Arjuna Yoga Aspen, Yoga Clothes: Heidi Hat)
Humans want something better. Humans want clarity. Humans want to feel that there is purpose to them. To their being. We all strive for it, but today, we have somehow learned that striving means hiring someone else. To strive well means to hire the best person to help. And while help is good, and educated help is a good path through nonsense into what really works, we forget that we ourselves, ultimately, are the ones that have to do the work.

Most of us want to abdicate our responsibility for healing, our mind, body, soul, energy, lifestyle, contentment, to an outside source.

When that outside source is a pill, the scientist who produced it is the hero. As in, I have high blood pressure, so rather than looking at what I may be doing in my life to cause it, what changes I can make over time to change that, and what healthier choices I can make in other areas that I implement myself, I will go to the doctor and ask him to fix it.  He will give me a pill, which I will take, which will fix it.

Shit. I'm still fat and unhappy.

I can totally take my "make my life better" pills every day. As long as they are easy to take, someone else reminds me to do it, and they don't make me too uncomfortable. Wait, this might be too hard, too.
Perhaps I will hire a personal trainer. And then abdicate my responsibility to that person. I've shown up at the gym for three weeks, three times a week. I have gotten slightly uncomfortable picking up heavy stuff and putting it back down over and over, and then I got slightly sweaty and uncomfortable walking on the treadmill in certified workout clothes for twenty minutes, but I'm still not skinny, so clearly either this doesn't work, the trainer isn't as dedicated as I am, or there must be some sort of medical procedure I can do that will short cut this. Because I've done the hard work and nothing is happening.

Guess what? I play this game with myself all the time. I have a fine pair of running shoes. There is a road right outside my house. I don't need a trainer to get fit. If I can run for 20 minutes a day on the pavement by myself, I will be more fit. This is a free activity. This activity increases "feel good" hormones, reduces stress hormones, raises my heart rate just enough to help ward off heart disease, increases cardiac stroke volume, gets me outside, and I come home feeling like I've really ACCOMPLISHED SOMETHING. And yet. It is hard to do.

Because I have to do it alone, because its "uncomfortable" because because its easier to sit on the couch and wish I was fit and then be the slowest person on the hut trip every time we go because I refuse to take responsiblity for my own training, health and happiness. I may even blame my slowness on the hut trip on the weight of my pack or on my neck injury rather than telling the truth to myself, and to my friends, (I sat on the couch all day and ate ice cream instead of going for a run). Its easier than having to look in the mirror and see the fact that I DESIRE to abdicate my responsibility for my health and well being to a trainer who can hold me accountable.

If only I had someone to hold me accountable... I'm sure I could get so much more done...
 And then there is therapy. I'm unhappy, so I'm going to go to a therapist. And because I've paid my money to the therapist, that should be enough, she should do her job and I should feel better. And if I don't after six weeks, months, or years, its either the fault of the therapist, or I'm so happy just to have someone listen to me finally, that I feel better from speaking when I've been silent, but I refuse to realize that there is a deeper level that begins and ends with my willingness to look at me.

And then there is body work. Lay down on the table and have someone else relax you. Have someone else fix the pain. If you leave feeling better, the body worker is good. If you don't, find someone else. A body worker can be skilled in energetics, intuition, physical modalities... but they are still just a facilitator for you to take responsibility for seeing or feeling what you are holding, being willing to look at it, being willing to let it go, being willing to let it heal. A good practitioner makes that easier. Just like a good therapist. Or a good ski instructor. But ultimately, YOU are the one doing the work.

My point, and its not a new one, is that whether its religion, or science, sport, or psychotherapy, or art, or nutrition, when we are wishing for change, we have to put that wish into action.

"Its easy to want. Wanting is the easy part." Kurt repeats this at all the times when I want to kick him in the shins for saying it. Usually because I say I want to be a good enough skier to be a viable candidate for this team of instructors, and I'm not willing in that moment to work hard enough to get strong enough to ski well enough to realize that dream. So he is, of course, right.

Creating change often starts with FEAR.

Cave or learn. Your choice.

You have to look right at who you are. And how clearly you are willing to see who you are will change over time, and with practice. At first, when you look at who you really are, how others see you, what you hide from yourself, you will have a strange and skewed perspective of reality.

Because the reality of who you are, what motivations that you have come from a sound, and true place, a place of integrity, and what of your motivations come from old, deep coping, or a desire not to see what is ugly in yourself, is very heavily influenced in its form by how willing you are to see and accept what is in front of you without judgement.

I see six blades of grass sitting on the closed cover of a book.

I see a willingness to bend the truth in certain, but not all situations.

The grass was most probably pulled from the lawn on which the book sits, its proximity, the freshness of the grass and similarity of the blades tell me this is a probability.

The willingness to bend the truth most probably comes from a proclivity of one of my parents to punish me equally no matter how great the lie or truth was, making it safer to lie.

The lesson I can take from the blades of grass is to see, dispassionately and with clarity, that which is real and true before me.


The lesson I can take from the lie is to LOOK FOR the fear coming up, the deep and subtle signs that have been integrated for so long, catch it as it comes up, recognize it, dispassionately and with clarity, and do my best to own that this is me, my pattern that I now own, no matter how it became programmed in my mind, find that I have choice, and choose differently.

This lesson must be diligently repeated over and over until the pattern, the neuro-pathways that the mind follows when it is challenged in this way that makes it desire to follow the old patterns which appear to be safe, viable options. If you don't repeat this lesson, a willingness to walk down the dark hallway even though you are scared of the dark, over and over and over again until your mind believes that there is no boogey man there, congratulations, you have just abdicated your responsibility for healing to a pathway your frightened mind chose when it was trying to protect you in a moment of crisis.

Just because it is your pattern does not mean it is the only way.

And for real change to occur, most of the time, we have to be more than "slightly uncomfortable". Our bodies, for thousands of years, and even today in most countries, are designed for toil and hardship. Unless you are diabetic, it is not going to kill you to feel hungry.

To feel tired, over exerted, full of lactic acid, full of fear. To be a bit too cold or a bit too hot.

We live in a country, and many of us live in towns, where we are no less than five minutes from a coffee shop at any given moment. The safety net is there. There is a warm, dry place.

Do not become an amalgam of your fears, of things that have happened "to" you, of patterns you follow because this happened "to" you. Let go of your need for it to be someone elses fault. Let go of your need to watch someone who is successfully living the way you wish you could live and assuming it was easy for them to get there.

Wishing is easy. I wish I was as virile as this guy. Clearly, he can leap tall buildings in a single bound because he is fit, happy, independently wealthy and has all the time he wants for training. (Or am I making some assumptions here?)
Now you are abdicating your responsibility for change via blame on someone ELSE for doing what YOU should, could, want to be doing. But because you see someone who is fit and healthy, (emotionally, spiritually, physically, whatever), you chose not to see them as the mirror they can be, the impetus for change. (It IS POSSIBLE, here is proof), but to see them as a barrier.

(I can never be like that, I am fat and they are thin. They don't have kids and I do. I have a job I have to work 16 hours a day at, so I can't go to class.)


The person who is fit is you. You are the same. You are both humans making choices.

Can you become an ultra marathon runner if you are 37 and have three kids? Sure. It might be really hard and throw a lot of the rest of your life out of balance and cost a bunch of money and take some time away from your kids. You have to decide if that's really what you want or not.

But don't say you can't because you work too much, or you are just "big boned" or its too hard.

If its too hard, quit whining that its what you wish you could do. Wishing out loud you could be "like that person" but doing nothing, or something, but really, just lip service, and finding no results is again, abdicating your responsibility.

My step father taught me a lesson that I am grateful to have learned. The buck stops here.

Bonk. Often, this is how we feel in reality, even if we look like six pack guy up top there. This is okay, too. This is part of the human experience. Don't let it bury you, own you, or dictate. Find the lesson this is trying to teach you, recognize that implementing that lesson is YOUR responsibility, and get to work.
No one is going to take responsibility for your mistakes, errors and bad judgements. Ultimately, you decide to man up and stand in front of the board and the investors (in your case the board and the investors might just be your internal critic and your shrink), and say, yes. That was a decision that I made, which caused this series of bad things to happen, and I own the responsibility for that decision, and the actions that followed.

You do not try to shirk your responsibility, search desperately for someone to shed some blame on. You grow stronger standing on top of every decision you make with ownership. This is courage.

Is it incredibly scary to do this? Of course it is! No one said it wouldn't be! Just like lacing up running shoes the first fifteen times is scary. Just like showing up to yoga when you have a fat belly that rolls over your yoga pants is scary. Just like telling the truth when you want to lie. Just like letting someone love you when you feel you don't deserve love.

These are all opportunities for you to own it, to look at it, to absorb it as your own, to see yourself clearly, to be willing to look for, and learn the lesson by getting after it again, and again, and again, until the new truth, and probably the next lesson, is revealed to you through your hard, uncomfortable, relentlessly never ending hard work towards being whole, better, balanced and real.

Let me be clear here. Seek out and ask for help. Be curious. Learn. Hire expert help. And then incorporate and follow their advice. Make it your own. Look at your responsibility in this. Be willing to be accountable. Be willing to suffer. Be willing to be present. Because then you are taking action toward that thing you were "wanting".

Now you are doing. Becoming. Growing. Nice work.

Alright. Rant over. There's more about the religion of touch, food, exercise, and the cult of things that soothe my ego, (everything is religion) but that's another post. Have a nice day, I'm going to take my fat ass to YOGA!


Bill said...

Great blog Kate. We live in an 'instant gratification' society. If a website takes longer than 10 seconds to load, we get annoyed and move on to another site. The one that pisses me off the most are the adds for weight loss drugs. "You don't have to change your eating habits or increase your exercise level. Just take..." Hey fat ass, the reason you're as fat as you are is because you're not changing your eating habits or increasing your exercise level. I am fat and finally had enough. I'm back in the gym 4 nights a week and eating better. Here's the kicker, it works! I'm still a far cry from my high school weight and will probably never get back to it, but as long as I am stronger and more fit, then I will be healthier. Love reading your blogs. Keep it up!

Jongira said...

Hey Kate, this post is one of the best of your many great posts. You're inspirational! Best wishes, and empathetic support, for your upcoming refurbishing.