It's a scant few days into the new year and I find myself stuck in overwhelm and exhaustion. Again. It made me start to wonder"¦ am I addicted to struggle? In my mind, is there something noble about life being hard? Does it make me think I'm a better person when people constantly exclaim, "I don't know how you do it all!" What exactly does this perpetuate for me?
I hang on to self-talk phrases such as "It's so hard being a single parent!", "I have to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet"¦", "I have no help, I'm doing it all myself!", and"I never get any down time, and I don't even sleep." Okay. These phrases are all true in my current reality. But do they have to be? After all, I create my reality. I can blame it on outside circumstances, but ultimately I am creating my day-to-day story.
I used to hear life coaches and gurus tell me to simply drop my story, or decide that things are easy and they will be"¦ and I would get really ticked off. I would mutter, "Easy for you to say! YOU don't have kids! You have someone helping you with the bills!" I thought it was rubbish. The more I open my heart, though, the more I am convinced that I'm addicted to this mindset. You know how I really know? It doesn't matter if I am working full time, part time or if I just won the lottery (well, I'd like to test that one out for myself, ha ha!). My life would still run at this hectic pace no matter what my outward circumstances may be. I would fill my days with ridiculous deadlines, over-commit myself, and remain exhausted. It's an inside job (ouch!).
I have this AMAZING book called Choosing Easy World by Julia Rogers Hamrick. It spells out the solution so simply and brilliantly "“ just choose Easy World and watch the stress and turmoil melt away as your problems are worked out effortlessly and joy abounds "“ if you let it. It's the ultimate opportunity to turn it over: to your higher self, The Universe, God, Source, Spirit… yet, I lose this logic daily (hourly!) and find myself here again.
I do get reminders and moments of clarity like a brick to the back of the head "“ I'm making things difficult again with my mental gymnastics. Let go"¦ give it to Easy World and it will work out perfectly. Yes, it's really that simple. So why do I experience amnesia every day? Yep, I'm addicted to the struggle!
Autism and Living in the Moment
I have an Autistic child. Have you ever watched a child with Autism play? They live in the present moment 100% of the time. They're happy. They enjoy doing what brings them happiness. It's like they're programmed to follow their bliss. This is the way we are supposed to be "“ all of us! There is a gift and a lesson here that we are in danger of missing if we're too caught up in the story of struggle.
I receive amazing gifts and lessons from both my children daily, and I am there to guide and encourage them to be their best self. But what other lessons am I inadvertently passing on to my neuro-typical teen? Am I teaching her to live in the present, or does she pick up on my limiting thoughts by default? When I hear her say things like, "I'm worried we won't have enough money," "I'm stressed out," and "Am I skinny enough?" my heart sinks. Those are not gifts I mean to leave behind! I am automatically teaching her about the struggle as well, whereas my Autistic child is too busy following his higher self and having fun. Hmmm.
So What Do You Do if You Struggle?
Well, I can't really "preach" until I get at least one foot out of the struggle mentality (without perpetually putting it right back in, that is). Perhaps we can explore this together, and remind each other to take the express train back to Easy World when we're caught up in the "What if" syndrome or the "It's soooooo hard" mantra.
Watch your children while they play "“ they gravitate naturally toward their joy. Do more of that. Every day. Let me know how it goes by commenting below – I'd love to hear how you handle the struggle mentality.
We can start by following Julia's advice: "Breathe, Relax, Allow"