Life SHOULD Be Different to How It Is Right Now

I find it very useful to inquire into the “Shoulds” that pop up in my mind about me or others or the world. Shoulds are all about the idea that Life SHOULD Be Different to How It Is Right Now.

Well, is that really true? It’s so interesting to get curious, to take a look at that idea, see what happens when a Should is running my life in the moment, what the effect is of that thought.

Here’s an informal but nevertheless serious inquiry into a thought that’s been lurking around in the corner of my mind for a few days….today I nabbed it, sat it down and questioned it.

I should feel creatively inspired right now.
Is that true?
Really? What’s your reality right now?
I don’t feel inspired. I feel tired and spent. My neck really aches!

So how do you treat yourself when you believe this idea?
I judge myself, put me down, see me as all used up as an artist, nothing to say, nothing to give, pointless. I get depressed. Feel hard done by. Feel flat and empty in my chest. Feel resentful at life. It’s not fair! Do a bit of inner tantrum.

And how do you treat your recent artworks when you believe this idea?
I devalue them, discount them. I disconnect from them. Ignore them. Compare them with other artists’ work and see mine as washouts.

So is this idea that you should feel creatively inspired right now, a stressful thought or is it peaceful?
Very stressful, really painful.

So who would you be without this idea that you should be creatively inspired, right now?
Mmmm……I notice I start to let go of some holding in the body…. start to sink into and accept the tiredness……that feels better…… I actually expand…… relax more.
Without the thought I get more present…… feel more at ease…….mind quietens.

Turnaround: I shouldn’t be creatively inspired, right now.
Truer – I’m committed to do a lot of work this week. I‘m now recognizing this just isn’t the moment for getting creative in the art studio. Now is for taking a rest between work activities.
I step out of pushing to be the “ideal me” into a more real view of this moment.
And wow, now my neck hurts a lot less! Aaaaahhhh….better!

You’re Not Emotionally Healed? Is That True?

Lost_2005_HelenaWeaver_cSitting with a client today, wandering through the landscape of “there’s something wrong with me” we came across the subtle variant: “I’m not emotionally healed.”

You’re not emotionally healed?  Is that true? I asked.

I can find where I plug into this idea too. It’s such a common one – so many of us get caught up in it. As I examine this concept I am struck by how conditional life is when I believe this powerful thought. How I am now is not enough. Images arise of the ideal me I should be, in the future, when fully emotionally healed: A me who’s shiny and glowing, my life perfectly sorted out, everything tidy and optimum. Ahhhh…..

By comparison, now looks inadequate, provisional, a getting by, apologetic, even shameful. After all, I’m not emotionally healed – and obviously I should be. The more I examine what it feels like to believe this idea, the more my energy drops, my body subtly slumps. I see how I mortgage the present, promise myself to become a me in a future that never actually manifests, and carry an inner image of myself as insufficient and deficient. I watch this state of mind breeds an anxious striving to get better, to fix myself, that creates an impossible goal I must always fail to achieve. This is so stressful.

Who would I be without this thought I am not emotionally healed? If I didn’t place this criteria upon myself, what would now feel like?

Interesting… I notice the categories of “emotionally healed” or “not emotionally healed” begin to dissolve. It’s like watching boxes crumble. What if I can’t use these categories to assess myself? What if I don’t stick these labels on my feelings?

There’s a moment of disorientation, an unfamiliar sense of space where the boxes were. A layer of shame loosens and dissolves. And my actual current emotions, feelings and sense of body become foreground.

I start to notice them directly and with curious interest in them instead of using any stressful or painful ones as proof that I am not emotionally healed.  There’s a turning towards the feelings, an acceptance of them. A listening to them, to their messages. Some are telling me I need more sleep than I’ve got lately. And that I ate too much chocolate yesterday. Others tell me I’m still a bit disappointed about something that happened recently. It feels good to pay more attention to them, to allow them to express themselves. To give them time and to take in their information.

As I continue to ask the question, who would I be without the thought that I’m not emotionally healed, my sense of myself expands, I feel lighter and freer. I feel more present, more awake, things brighten up, my body sits up, there is more ease.

The future drops away, together with the urge to strive to be better. My body begins to deeply relax. Tight places loosen. And a conceptual space appears within and around me, free of categories of emotional healing. I feel less defined, more spacious.

I just am. Just life living itself, experiencing this and that, is all.