Dissolving Avoidance

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Photo Credit: bohed via Pixabay

Last week I found myself spontaneously making a note on along the bottom of my calendar.

“Make a choice. Yes or no. Do or do not.   Don’t waste precious time and energy on avoidance.”  

Yes, part of that is stolen.

Thank you Yoda.

Here’s what can happen for me. I run my own business, which means that whether it’s financial management, IT support, planning, marketing, filing, direct client services or keeping the office clean, it’s my job. Yes, I hire a few small things out and envision more of that in time. But for the most part, it’s down to me. While I love every moment I spend with clients, some of those other responsibilities I really don’t enjoy

Your situation may be entirely different. Maybe you’re balancing the demands of a full-time career and the full time love of raising children or caring for extended family. Or maybe you don’t have kids or they’ve left home and now it’s the balancing act of career + personal interests + nurturing relationships + a passion for life-long learning. Truth is, I’ve not met many people who don’t have more on their “to-do” list than there is time to get it all done.

When I did my pre-vacation planning a couple weeks ago, the final schedule looked daunting, but do-able. Then when I got into actually completing all that was on my schedule, I had an afternoon that I simply could not do what was on my list. I hit a spot where my body just said, “No. Way.”

Yep. You know that feeling – when doing laundry looks far more inviting than getting that “top-priority” task done.

That was when some less-than-conscious part of me wrote that note across my calendar and just moved on to other things. 

That firm, Yoda-inspired, directive was a synthesis of intuition, study, practice and heart wisdom at it’s most spontaneous & it has served me well during the last couple weeks. Here’s some of what I’ve come to understand about avoidance.

Avoidance often points to an internal conflict. It’s worth pausing to ask yourself a few questions. Is this really something I want to do, something that’s important to me? Is this based on trying to meet someone else’s expectations? Is there something about this that is taking me away from my right path? 

Get clear about what matters most. To answer the questions above it helps to take an honest look at what you value. That doesn’t insulate you from avoidance, but when it shows up you can measure your intentions and actions against what’s most important to you. 

Remember the wisdom of the body. Make a regular practice of listening to your body. Is the avoidance a result of the need for rest? Safety? Right timing? The mind can misdirect; the body speaks from a primal wisdom. Learning to read the language of the body can be a challenge for some, but well worth the effort. 

Be realistic about time. Look at alternative ways of getting things done. Get help, modify your approach or let it go.

Notice your patterns. Do you have a regular tendency to overwork yourself or put too much pressure on yourself? Get help from a friend, coach or counselor to dissolve painful patterns and create ones that serve you better.

When I was a young mom and juggling career, family, personal interests, taking care of my home and the beloved task of raising my son, I had an excerpt of a poem by Ruth Hamilton on my wall. I’m sure many mothers know it well.

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.
~ Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

 

This is wisdom that’s useful at any stage of life. When we’re clear about our priorities, choices become more straightforward even when they’re not always easily made. Today, this month, this year – – – what’s your “baby”?

Avoidance and resistance are part of the human experience from time to time. Be gentle with yourself and make space for your own intuition and inspiration.

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