‘Slugs and Snails and puppy dogs tails – that’s what little boys are made of’
Which is not really what I’m talking about today but the slug v snail analogy popped into my head and I got set to wondering which is happier. The slug who is free and easy and able to go wherever he wants unencumbered or the snail who carries everything he could ever possibly want or need around with him?
There are positives and drawbacks to both really.
This comes to mind because I’m about to start packing to move house again. The move to Wigan was always going to be short term and I never was sure where I would go afterwards, and it seems I’m feeling the urge to go back home to Northern Ireland.
Once again I’m collecting boxes to start putting away the things I carry around with me but in making this second move in such a short time I’m aware there are boxes I’ve yet to fully unpack but they had been absolutely necessary to bring with me and I feel the same sense of need around bringing them with me where I go next.
What’s in these boxes? The most precious ones are books and journals and notes taken through years of learning and research. Notes for books I want to write, courses and programs I want to create, and books I’ve bought and never read, but always intend to someday.
Is there really any need to cart them all the way back across the Irish Sea again – the investment made in time and money and effort says yes. The fact that I haven’t opened those books or pulled out those journals to use the notes they hold suggest not.
Same with the clothes in boxes upstairs that are the wrong size. I’ve been carting those things round for years and years and I’ve not worn them – not been able to get into them for that same amount of time! Will things be any different where I next go? Will I magically decide to stop hiding and get slim and healthy again?
I hope so. Which is why I hold onto those clothes, because they represent the hope that I can and will drop the excess weight I’m carrying and once more shimmy into my tiny waisted jeans, pull on my high heeled boots and a slinky little sequin top to go about my daily business like a glamorous tv therapist and not the decidedly more homely version I am right now.
Why do I cart this stuff around when it hasn’t proved useful or inspiring in recent months? Is it hope or just a sense of not wanting to let go of something that might be useful and that cost me a lot of money and has yet to recoup its investment or prove its value to me? And what is that saying about me?
And of course that’s not the only baggage we carry around. The physical stuff is easy to see, and we decide to ignore it or do something about it because its right there, in front of us.
But there’s also the emotional, mental, spiritual baggage we carry around. An often used metaphor in hypnosis is the idea of us carrying around a backpack filled with all our cares and woes, as heavy as if it is filled with rocks.
We’re encouraged to set the backpack down and maybe throw the rocks into a lake and watch them sink to the depths or smash them into powder with a handy mallet.
Its one I’ve often used with clients myself and most say they felt lighter and at ease after experiencing such hypnosis.
But what if we could all do it for ourselves?
First we have to get around the fact that we like carrying all that stuff. Even though it weighs us down and makes us feel things we’d rather not about events that are long past, there’s a comfort in it. We’ve carried all that heaviness for so long its familiar to us and there is always comfort in familiarity, no matter how decidedly uncomfortable it feels.
We human beings hate change, even change that is good for us, we’ll fight against it with all we have.
Just let me stay miserable, thank you very much!
I imagine people wrestling with themselves, one part saying put it down and another determined to hold onto every hurt, every grievance no matter what. That part is our subconscious who wants to remember every time we felt unsafe, or were hurt so that we can avoid such circumstances again.
But the subconscious makes mistakes in determining whether a situation is the same as the original instance or not. And it errs on the side of caution and believes everything is likely to harm us and cause us pain. This is what happens with anxiety and depression, the world we live in shrinks in the effort to stay safe.
How do you stretch past that ever shrinking boundary?
By telling yourself everything is going to work out perfectly, all is falling into place, its all coming together and you are exactly where you were always meant to be and you are ready and you are enough and the problems will resolve themselves. You are safe, warm, loved, protected, nurtured, taken care of.
You start repeating a litany of comforting, soothing words that distract you from the fear. You start talking to yourself as though you loved yourself and you do, more than anything else in the world.
And you do just one thing outside of your comfort zone. A baby step, a tiny habit change, and you do it consistently and that change sticks and then you do another and so on until you have changed utterly in what you believe possible.
And that change could be throwing away one rock, one of the things that has been holding you back.
For me, it starts with a box full of notebooks, journals and books. A review of what may someday be useful and what I will never actually go back to and I’ll throw that away. And I’ll celebrate being strong enough to discard the unnecessary and lighten the load of what I’m carrying back with me.
Whatever you’re carrying around, start becoming conscious of it all and ask if it still serves a useful purpose or is it a belief that constrains you and makes your world smaller?
And release it, process whatever caused that belief to form, and allow yourself to be free from it from here on.
Here’s to smarter, lighter shells.
And if you want help with figuring our what’s holding you back and releasing it, especially if you’re a man but obviously my work is for everyone then read on!