What Weighs Us Down Can Lighten Us Up
At the turn of the new year, a lot of media attention is
directed at replacing habits that drag us down or getting rid of unwanted pounds. Why is it that so much of our awareness becomes centered on losing something in favor of gaining something else?
It seems to be a part of our human nature to long for
something new and better and the new year is the perfect time to work toward it. But what if that very longing has the capacity to undermine us by hijacking the first and most essential step in any change effort: to find value in what’s been already gained or given in the first place.
The more we see what is present as heavy and unworthy of some authentic form of our loving consideration, efforts to lighten up our consciousness, mood, or the extra pounds our physical bodies carry around will likely remain out of reach. Even if we’re successful in tipping the scales to “lose” the weight of what is burdensome (including stressful jobs, toxic relationships, and other perceived enemies), doing so without love guarantees we’ll become a storehouse of unconscious resentment.
This doesn’t mean we purposely put ourselves in harm’s way, pretty up what is potentially and actually detrimental in a costume of denial, or abandon calls to action. Yet actions taken in the absence of some form of authentic embrace pretty much guarantee that stored resentments will be re-visited later in another form. Often, those forms come in greater attention-demanding, heavier and harder-to-lose packages.
It’s the love or lack of love in our engagements with what is as it is that unfolds the nature and character of the future. The actions we take are simply the vehicle that delivers to visibility the quality of love we’ve carried inside about whatever we’re feeling weighted down by. It applies to everything we wish to change: unwanted pounds, heavy and isolating thoughts, stalled relationships, or other circumstances experienced as burdensome.
In the fields of transformational healing, therapy, life coaching, and just plain being a good friend; our desire to be a help by moving each other on to the next best thing without encouraging each other to love what’s already there (even if it can be done only by looking back from a place of safety) comes at great risk. Our failure to do this manifests in more harm than good.
Perhaps our natural inclination to seek the better might be more appropriately pointed toward finding the power and beauty in what already is. Maybe thinking there is anything truly new apart from the old throws us off track, and why these sentiments always appear as the next year approaches. The old adage says, there is nothing new under the sun and what we encounter is always a refreshed perspective of what’s come before. All we need to do is look around us to measure whether what we’re currently encountering has sprung from a source of love or from a lack of it.
As a life coach who tries not to help people meet their personal goals (at least initially, because we can’t and shouldn’t deny our human desire to evolve and change), it’s up to me to listen carefully for evidence of what is not being held tenderly in the stories my clients share. More often than not, some form of what people wish to avoid is vital for them to create a refreshed foundation. I’m reminded of this scriptural verse from the Judeo-Christian tradition, which says it well:
The stone that the builders rejected becomes the chief cornerstone. RSV Psalm 118:22
If I collude with them in moving too quickly toward the goal for which they come to me, I’ll add to the burden of the weight they carry, even if joining them on that path makes both of us feel better for a while. Healers don’t heal. Coaches don’t coach. Educators don’t teach. True friends don’t take the easy way out. Instead, the work is to find the love in our own experience and support others in doing the same. Our only job for each other, as professionals or peers, is to be safe and loving companions for that exploration.
Here are four steps to being a great companion:
- Help others to pause before rushing to the new thing that will make the old thing disappear and hide in resentment.
- Listen deeply to their stories.
- Share what we hear is asking to be loved.
- Get out of the way, so love can move through.
This is how what weighs us down can lighten us up. For example, a husband struggling with commitment in his marriage chooses to see his father who abandoned him as capable of loyalty, even if the father expressed it through his loyalty to addiction. The husband discovers the connection they share, ultimately uncovering that hidden capability in himself. The wife fighting life-threatening obesity claims herself to be a living and breathing storehouse of untapped potential and formidable power. The friend who believes weakness to be bad discovers that it opens vulnerability and greater intimacy in relationship.
May this January and February fill all of us with the possibility of finding the cornerstones that will unfold not a new, but a recycled and refreshed version of the old! It’s the time of year to be reminded we have everything we need inside and around us always.
Pat Heavren is a life coach, mediator, energy medicine practitioner and educator who is passionate about supporting individuals, couples and groups to flourish by aligning with the wisdom of the natural world. She is the author of Magic in Plain Sight: When Acceptance is the Healing and is former senior teaching faculty with the Four Winds Society, an international school of neo-shamanism and energy medicine. Pat has led workshops across the U.S., Canada and Latin America and works worldwide with clients via telephone and Zoom from her Woodbridge, CT, office.
She can be reached at: www.livingsource.us and 203.444.4424 for appointments.