I've noticed a lovely trend in the emails coming into my inbox at this time of year reminding me to take it easy.
The feedback is to go at your own pace. Listen to your inner feedback regarding your boundaries. Slow down. Rest! Remember that time is a construct. Don't let something made up cause you to feel a sense of urgency and make yourself rush. There is no objective time, so you can't be behind. Yes, you can miss deadlines, appointments, and flights, but no matter what, you are always doing the best that you can, and you are more likely to make commitments in a timely way with less pressure on yourself rather than more.
We are a culture that thinks fear is needed to make us get things done. We believe we need pressure for our lives not to fall apart. We are addicted to adrenaline as a way of life and use caffeine and stimulants to keep us going.
When the price of our addiction shows up in relationship problems, physical health challenges, and mental health distress, we wonder why? We're just trying to be good and live as we were told.
But what if you don't wait for things to fall apart before breaking your addiction to adrenaline, fear, pressure, and urgency? What if, instead, you listened deeply to what works for you? What works for your body? What you want to say yes to, and what you want to say no to? And what if you didn't just listen but also followed through? You took action and set boundaries. You said no. You took risks that feel good. You decided not to let your conditioning run you and instead stretched into what is genuinely self-honoring for you.
I am exploring this. Will my life fall apart?
I don't think so; I do think things will change. My guess is I will have more energy, vitality, and a more open heart. I will be more present, loving, connected, and available by saying no more often and reserving my yeses for what is truly inspiring.
I have already been doing this and am no longer driven by my inbox or perfectionistic desires to be on top of things. But I can feel a more profound commitment emerging within me to be even more self-honoring and not let my ego run roughshod over the tender shoots of inspiration and desire that peak through into my awareness. I notice the big prompts, but there is more for me to be sensitive to. There is more for me to see regarding how I relate to myself in self-honoring ways. There is more self-kindness and attunement possible.
When I don’t do this, fear is what stops me from listening. I fear I won't survive. I won't be loved. I won't have anything. I fear my life will cease to exist if I honor myself because according to my ego's conditioning, I cannot include my wants and needs in what is possible. Life won't work if I do. I need to sacrifice myself, and if I don’t, I will suffer. I will be punished. I will experience the shame of me being seen for who I am: The lazy sloth, the disorganized whore, the incompetent buffoon, the ignorant Luddite, the unsuccessful entrepreneur, the unenlightened seeker, the stupid student, the unworthy human, the unloveable person, the unattractive woman, the low mood sufferer, the mean individual, the selfish bitch, the impatient teacher, the sickly weakling, and many more.
I use pressure and performance to run away from all my rejected parts. I fear if I slow down, they will take over. And yet, every fiber in my being tells me to rest, relax, soften, open, settle, and take it easy.
I will do my best to listen, not by turning over a new leaf for 2023, but by meeting myself exactly where I am, honestly and kindly.
My encouragement to you is rather than putting the pressure on yourself to have a fresh start this New Year and to bring a new you into 2023, is instead, to give yourself a break and time to recover from all of the holiday disruptions, excesses, schedule changes, and if you had it, challenging family time.
Instead of seeing this as the time to turn over a new leaf, make this the perfect time to put yourself first, give yourself a break, and listen to the wisdom of your body and your deeper knowing. You may be raring to go, but if you're not, that is okay! No matter what, do life on your terms!
If there is anything you might consider resolving yourself to, how about considering spending more time taking care of yourself by surrendering to who you are exactly as you are and what is exactly as it is?
Rather than this being a nihilistic endeavor, let it be an opportunity to experience freedom from pressure and to enjoy the resulting benefits of greater peace and capacity to be open to joy and intimacy with the present moment and those included in it.
This January 2nd of New Year’s day observed, I will be relaxing into embracing all the parts of me that I fear -- and welcoming them in! Inviting them with open arms knowing that every part of me deserves to be loved. This isn't going to be a doing where I put pressure on myself. It will be a relaxing, a letting go, and a non-doing.
Wishing you a Happy made-up New Year! May you experience the joy of non-doing, the freedom of un-doing, and the nurturance of letting go so all of you can experience the feeling of all of you being welcomed into your own heart.
Rohini Ross is co-founder of “The Rewilders.” Listen to her podcast, with her partner Angus Ross, Rewilding Love. They believe too many good relationships fall apart because couples give up thinking their relationship problems can’t be solved. In the first season of the Rewilding Love Podcast, Rohini and Angus help a couple on the brink of divorce due to conflict. Angus and Rohini also co-facilitate private couple's intensive retreat programs that rewild relationships back to their natural state of love. Rohini is also the author of the ebook Marriage, and she and Angus are co-founders of The 29-Day Rewilding Experience and The Rewilders Community. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To learn more about her work and subscribe to her blog visit: TheRewilders.org.