I got back from a road trip to Ireland a couple of days ago. As I attempted to settle back in, I started to see all the things in my home that weren’t enough, needed to be fixed or were unsatisfactory in some way. This was sparked by my desire to be seen as someone with all their shit together, someone worthy of liking and respecting.

This critical eye switched its focus and started to judge my life choices. ‘You’re not doing enough’, ‘You should be doing XYZ or it’s not really worthy’ etc.

I started to feel frantic (hello sympathetic nervous system response). I spent 4 hours weeding and clearing in my garden, until I could barely bend over to pick up the last few piles of weeds. When I couldn’t physically do anymore, I started to analyse what was wrong in my life and what I needed to start doing NOW to fix it and sort it out. It felt unbearable and utterly URGENT. I began to feel overwhelmed and the wheel spinning confusion and desperate feeling of ‘I must do something, but don’t know what’ finally gave way to ‘fuck it’.

I gave up…

I gave up and let myself have a break from trying to figure it out. I dropped down into my body and started to sort through the sea pottery and sea glass I collected in Ireland. As I felt the pieces in my hands and focused on the colours, shapes and beauty of each imperfect piece, I came back into myself. Calm returned and I re-entered my regulated nervous system state. In this state, I started to think straight and could access my emotions and intuition.

I let myself float along following my intuitive desire for what wanted to happen next. As I was washing some jars to put my sea treasures into, I remembered I wasn’t broken and there was nothing to fix (BINGO! Light bulb moment!).

I am worthy right now regardless of whether there are weeds in my garden or if I have a new rug for my hallway or not’. Trying to figure out the next right actions to FIX my life were no longer needed. I could clearly see the futility of this way of thinking and how unnecessary it was.

This whole experience reminded me of the intuitive painting process and the practice of radical acceptance of whatever shows up on the painting. This practice involves honouring everything that shows up and allowing mistakes, parts we don’t like and shapes or images that feel uncomfortable to remain unchanged on our painting. This is super challenging, but such a powerful practice that teaches us to remain in the discomfort and resist the urgency to fix (as it’s all perfect exactly as it is).

When there’s a sense of urgency to fix, change or work it out, we can be sure this is an old trauma trigger sending us into the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight). There is nothing to fix. There is no urgency. If we can catch ourselves at this point, before we head down the exhausting road of trying to work it out and fix ourselves, we can save ourselves a whole lot of heart ache (and aching muscles – my legs are still killing me from that marathon gardening session!). Then the practice is to get back into the body, into the present moment and to remember we’re not broken, we are worthy full stop and being here right now is more than enough.

Ahhh! Simple, isn’t it? Life, just like the intuitive painting process, is a daily practice. It’s amazing how quickly we can forget and go off on a tangent.

Wishing you peace in your heart and calm in your body

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