I had an amazing rumble with my shadow on Monday.
I sort of decided I was not going to do any work. Well, work I expect to get paid for - which didn’t happen of course, as I had already spent a couple hours on email when I decided that.
I had to go to the office for a few minutes. As I drove away from there going south on Middle River Road, I decided I wanted to see the Middle River. Rather than turning west onto 26th Street as I usually do, I went straight across and meandered through the neighborhood trying to find a place I could watch the water for a bit.
“You’re playing hooky,” I heard myself say to myself. “You really should go home and study.” With that thought, the other thought I often think and speak came up. I affirmed once again out loud and emphatically too - “I’m a workaholic.”
For the first time in a long time, I noticed how easily and automatically I affirmed, “I am a workaholic.” But I know that isn’t healthy or actually true, although I‘m often aware that I need more balance in my life, more intentional times of having fun.
Finally I asked, “Why do I feel like I have to work all the time?” Remembering then, that a thought always precedes a feeling I changed my question. “What do I notice about feeling like I have to work all the time?”
Not that I do work all the time, I just usually feel like I should. There is an internal pressure that I should be working almost all the time. And I realized it is a familiar thought/feeling that impacts so much of my process.
I think I’m not enough and I have to work to make up for that and if I don’t, I will lose my job-and then I will turn into a bag lady.
I’ve never connected my awareness of “not enough” with my “I need to work all the time” thoughts before. And of course, in that unconscious frame of mind, I also get to blame my family of origin for not being very good at knowing how to play since they never allowed me to be a child!
So my shadow of not being enough also gives rise to not having enough.
Now the fact is I love my work and the people I work with. Mostly, when someone from one of the national or regional Unity groups I work with, or when someone from one of the church’s I work with calls or emails, I want to respond.
And I don’t work all the time! I actually have plenty of free time. I just don’t have a really clear definite set time – except for Sunday afternoon. And mostly, I am not great at freely enjoying time away from working.
So I had lunch out – and went shopping. Got a great bargain on a new outfit too. Enjoyed every minute of it!
But I know now, that my bottomless hole of unworthiness is what gives rise to the pressure in me to feel like I need to be caught working all the time. I’m not really a workaholic. I’m just a worrier about needing to be one. And when I am unconscious about that, it convenes the committee that lives in my head that predicts all sorts of dire outcomes if I don’t get back to work quick! I allow it to invade my thinking so that I feel uncomfortable and cannot really enjoy the time I take to refresh and renew myself.
Rumbling with my shadow is not fun. But it pays off in such huge dividends if I’m willing to do it. I have enough practice now with doing it, that I know there is an upside that makes it not just worthwhile, but essential for my well being. I am willing to walk through the pain of my actual thoughts and take responsibility for being more conscious of when a thought occurs, and then simply see that to continue to indulge it is a downward spiral. I know where that thought comes from- It’s habit. It is up to me to create a new habit, rather than continuing to practice that old one.
I can say “STOP” and affirm the Truth I really do believe, which is, in this case, I am a woman of God. I am created with inestimable value. I am worthy and deserving of my highest and best. God’s substance and goodness come to me from every direction. Nothing and no one stands between me and my highest good! I have all I want and more – enough to spare and share. Thank you Father Mother God, for the abundance that is mine!
And so are you – a man or woman of God! That affirmation can be yours too! Whomever, wherever you are!