My goal with this site was to write a blog each month. Something doable that wouldn’t keep me relentlessly tied to the computer sitting in a chair, staring wide eyed at the machine in front of me, sifting words and ideas onto its screen. Gone forever now… April didn’t see a blog. However, blog or no blog, May decided to arrive anyway, along with a gorgeous sun calling me outside to our first days of desirable weather in nine monthes!! So my goal, set over a year ago, now, not even half way through the year… has already fallen off the wagon?!!!
Through April I could hear my “should” voice creeping in. Whether reading a book, making supper or teaching a class it always maintained it’s relentless opinion you should really be writing your blog. Hmmm, but I wasn’t.
We all have the should voice. It’s that chatter we hear in the background essentially telling us that what ever we are doing, feeling or being in the moment isn’t good enough. I like to visualize it as the should spool of thread. Take some time in your day and listen to the should voice… when does it speak up? What are you doing when it tells you you should? Make note of this and then slowly unravel the spool a little. I find the threads of should unravel to a core of not good enough. We aren’t good enough, we aren’t doing good enough, our surroundings aren’t good enough, our relationships aren’t good enough, our job isn’t good enough, on and on it unravels to the core.
The core’s meaning for existence is a debatable place. But when the spool is unraveled I find the core to be a conglomerate mix of unpleasant feelings. Sometimes sadness, other times fear. I liken it to that moment of birth when our wrapped world of sensory delight in the womb is suddenly smacked into the reality of gasping lungs and sensory overload. Separated and helpless from the protective womb, what newborn could possibly feel good enough?
When I was four years old I suffered a damaging blow to the face and neck. This experience layered itself with psychological, emotional and physical patterns and triggers that left me a lifetime (to date) of migraines. Through fourty years of doctors, medications, diets, herbs, scents, meditations, vitamins, philosophies, exercises, massage, energy work, and everything in between I have found my journey with migraines to be woven into the very thread of my should spool and is part of my very makeup and my own not good enough core.
If I am lying in a dark space, consumed with the deep sensation of a migraine, I am unable to partake in all our western culture deems of value. Busyness, extroversion, socializing, doing, moving about, consumerism, making money. I am in a dark cocoon, wrapped in layers of being, forced through pain, solitude and stillness to relate to that stew of unpleasant feelings at the core of our collective and my own personal should spool…. I should be cleaning the house, I should be calling a friend , I should be weeding the garden, I should be a better mother, I should be making more money, I should be teaching a class, I should be anything and everything I’m not while laying in the dark solitude and stillness of a migraine.
One time in a particularly low place of shoulds and the stew of unpleasant feelings it creates I realized that some of my greatest strengths as a human being are because of my migraines. I began to see the value migraines have brought to my character and to my life. I realized that these years of dark, still, solitude and deep sensation brought openings and ways of relating that are invaluable not only to me, but in relating to others. I realized that we all suffer at the core of the not good enough spool and that this is a potential union between people, not a separation; but there is little place for this in our western culture.
It was a profound realization that our most common journey of shoulds ,with the potential for our greatest transformations as individuals and a collective, has been all but banished from modern western culture. Instead we have created a very bright and positive way of living in the west. Have you noticed this? It is as though people believe they can have light without dark or up without down, positive without negative, sun without moon or beautiful flowers without dark rich soil. Naturally it is easier to be having a good day than a bad day, but what happens to a person and a collective, who pretend that only the bright side matters? Where does the dark go or does it go anywhere? Does the spool unwind? Do the shoulds take over, does the collective psyche grow into the beauty of its own character or remain spinning or stewing somewhere incomplete?
If you unraveled your should spool all the way to the core what mysteries might be revealed?
I believe all people know what they should do. Quit smoking, lose weight, be nicer, stop drinking, eat better, buy organic, stop yelling, quit spending, say yes more, say no more, plan better, sleep better etc…. But few people appreciate being told what they should do. Fewer still will actually change or sustain change from a place of should. I challenge you to listen to your own shoulds. Write them down. Notice the events in your life that trigger the shoulds. Perhaps, they are wound together with anxiety, disease, illness, injury, phobia, body symptoms, unhealthy habits or addictions or any other dark place you feel has no place to exist in our culture. Follow them and unwind your own spool , keep going through the not good enoughs all the way to the core. Allow yourself to engage and learn from this place, let it season and strengthen you. Trust that from the dark core of not good enough germinates your own greatest human potentials perhaps compassion, empathy, patience, kindness, gratitude, generosity, peace, stillness, acceptance, wisdom, contentment, grace and joy! Trust that when you journey to your own core, no longer haunted by the fear based shoulds, that you will choose what you need to do for yourself sustainably with Love.