When I initially wrote what became my former blog post, “Living with Incongruence, Part I,” I felt complete and certain that this would be a creative, whimsical topic and nothing more. Then, shortly afterward on a road trip, my Sweetie and I re-listened to “Energy Anatomy” by Caroline Myss (http://myss.com/), and I couldn’t ignore the synchronicity when Myss began talking about incongruities. I realized there would be something more to explore around creating congruence by aligning our thoughts with our actions, and so this discussion follows. What I offer below and in my next post is but a taste of a much larger, remarkable work by Myss, with some of my experiences peppered in as they relate to what she shares. I offer this because I’m seeing how this shows up in the lives of so many of us.
Myss explores incongruities in our lives, how they drain our energy, how they relate to willpower, and how they point the way to growth potential. Incongruities show up in different ways, and their effects in our lives can be quite dramatic.
First, Myss suggests that incongruities can show up as things we want or need to do, things that continuously nag at us, but that we never seem to get to. Similarly, there are some things we are doing that may be better left undone. We know better, but that doesn’t seem to stop us. I see these struggles come up often with regard to exercising, changing diet, and other health-related choices that are easy to put off for another day, month, or year. When we focus our energy on what we should or should not do, but neglect to empower our will to make the changes we know are in our best interest, we lose energy. Energetically, we relinquish our power and authority over our lives to our “shoulds.”
Yet the path to claiming our power and authority over our lives is not always easy or clearly laid out for us. Here’s an example from my own life. During a particularly intense meditation, I had the insight that I would have to radically alter some of my habits in order to further my spiritual development, and that the process would involve something around the healer archetype. In that moment, I had a delicious sense of possibilities in stepping into my destiny, but I knew it wouldn’t be easy for me to override my epicurean and workaholic tendencies, and that I would need assistance to alter my life patterns. In that moment of bliss and bravery, I embraced the transition and requested help, however it might show up. I leapt into the unknown in total trust and abandon. Turns out, I almost immediately developed a physical condition that was strongly related to diet, environmental energy (good vibe vs. bad vibe) effects, the quality of my thoughts, and my habits around workaholism. I would have to choose between either my attachments to certain foods, environments and habits or my vibrant health. Putting off the changes that I needed created lots of suffering and energy loss. Eventually, I just had to do the work, release a lot of attachments, and create life changes in order to heal. Truth be known, I still struggle at times, especially when I lose site of the grander vision of what I wish to create in my life. Also, it wasn’t always easy to accept ill-health as the blessing it proved to be. Yes, there were intense moments of self-pity, which were not at all useful in reclaiming my personal power.
Another way that incongruities show up, according to Myss, is through limiting beliefs that we know aren’t good for us, but that we picked up during childhood or that were transmitted through our culture. Common ones that I’ve encountered include: I don’t know enough to take the next step; If I make this choice, the people in my life that I love won’t understand me and I’ll be separated from them; I will have to do this all alone; If I follow my bliss, I’ll never make enough money to survive. Here’s a clue: these thoughts are not yours! They are old programs from years of social conditioning. Here’s a new one to try on: When I break away from old beliefs that hold me back, I find amazing new freedoms!
Here are some examples of limiting beliefs that have created and perpetuated fear and victim consciousness in my life: No one can succeed starting a business in an economy like this one; I’m not good enough, ambitious enough, or smart enough. And then there’s the big one, a ghost from my way-back past: Who do you think you are? Oh, ouch. Now, I don’t walk around like Eeyore all the time. Most of my moments feel like wild clarity, optimism, and appreciation for the yumminess of life. Still, in recent years I’ve grown very accustomed to noticing the background presence of these fleeting thoughts. I’ve witnessed the destructiveness that they can create in our life patterns and even our health as they keep us stuck in avoidance of anything that feels like a risk. The messages grow in intensity with the degree of change we contemplate. I’ve learned that as quickly as the thoughts come, I must release them without judgment. To make myself wrong only feeds them, and dis-empowers me, further.
Until I release Part III of “Living with Incongruence,” you may want to just notice your thinking patterns that show up for you.
What does your mental chatter sound like? What is the impact in your life?
What have you been putting off far too long?
What are the consequences of putting off your decision to change?
If you made a choice you’re not honoring, what are the consequences?