Life has tossed me a couple of related gems recently from four completely different sources and I think that maybe the universe is trying to tell me something.
First: I happened upon THIS interview by Marie Kondo with Elizabeth Gilbert on the topic of “tidying the mind.” I’m going to quote what most struck me because A) I’m lazy and also 2) this is way more genius that I can summarize/rewrite:
“You can’t work on yourself and not work on the space you live. And you can’t do work on the space you live and not work on yourself.”
“If you’re too afraid to look into the scary attic of your mind, look into the scary attic of your home. It will be a portal, a doorway, that will take you into the parts of yourself that you’ve been afraid to look at.”
“I always say to women, ‘Start knowing’ … Go deep and say, ‘It’s time to know.’ You have to believe the force of knowing is in you. We’ve inherited it from our ancestors; they passed on everything they went through. There’s an old version of you that lives in yourself. Ask her.”
— Elizabeth Gilbert
Second: I was at acupuncture, all laid out in the amazing chair with heat and massage, when my acupuncturist comes in to insert the needles. She looks at my left wrist — that’s where I always keep a hair tie for emergencies — and she says, This looks tight, I’m going to just take it off. We’re going for energy flow here, not stagnation.
My response: Laugh. Her response? We talk about that all the time in the clinic, clutter as stagnation. When energy is cut off, you’re also cut off.
And then she starts talking about the different forms of stagnation: A thousand saved emails, a cluttered house, even your weight. And when you’re energy is blocked, you’re in a state of stagnation.
So I looked up the definition of stagnation (I mean, this is me we’re talking about) and it is “a state of not flowing or moving; a lack of activity, growth or development.”
Third: I find THIS post by Kyle Nicolaides about journaling as a way to cope with depression and anxiety, and there’s a section where he’s talking about habit trackers — how you should approach them with lightness and joy instead of just another thing you have to do and that, upon failing, beat yourself up over. He further says that missing days at a time — weeks, even — on a habit you’re trying to cultivate means that it’s something your heart didn’t really want OR it’s something important that your heart is avoiding.
And fourth, an email newsletter I somehow got signed up for after helping a new wellness business with a press release, in which she writes that, with the winter solstice right around the corner (aka longest night of the year here in the western hemisphere) we should be asking ourselves two questions:
- What is too much in my life that might be causing me harm? (Think worry, sugar, toxins, fear, sitting, processed food, rushing around, over-committing, over-spending.)
- What is not enough in my life that can help nourish me/heal me? (Think sleep, nutrient dense foods, meaningful connections, healthy routines, movement, nature, mindful awareness.)
There’s a theme here, simply that resistance affects flow. That we know what we need to confront but we tend to numb and therefore further harm ourselves instead of just dealing with it. That it’s easier to be stagnant than get to the root of the problem. That change is hard and requires actual work. But if our heart isn’t in it, we won’t even start.
It’s interesting to ponder and also kind of scary. I’m still sorting it all out. As always, thoughts welcome.