This time of year is tricky in the back lane. The snow that got packed down in the road during the winter got turned into a slushy mess with warmer weather. Now it’s gotten cold again, and that slush has frozen into solid position: deep ruts.
The challenge driving down the back lane these days is two fold:
- I’m working to not damage the undercarriage of the car given how deep the roots are
- I’m working to not have the ruts which rather criss cross each other direct my car. I don’t like the feeling of my car taking me in directions that I am not choosing to go.
I’m working to drive alongside, rather than in the ruts. I want to be the one that directs where this vehicle is heading.
Something very interesting has been happening during these days. It is remaining solidly below freezing–but the sun shines warmer and brighter than it has all winter. There is a difference between the cold in the shade and the cold in the sun.
The sunlight matters these days. Even with the temperature below zero, where the sun hits, the water drips from the icy ruts and they disappear exposing the even concrete below.
The ruts are disappearing in my backlane where the sun hits them All. Day. Long.
Where the sunshine hits, the road is easy. Smoother. Less effort and jostling.
The ruts that are shaded by garages and towering pine trees remain.
- continue to jostle the vehicle and its occupants
- make the driving tricker and bumpier…and dictate where the car goes–either to fall in the ruts–or to avoid them
- just plain make driving slow and inconvenient
My back lane is again reminding me of the value of bringing our fears into the light of day.
When fears of “I’m not enough” hold us back, remembering that those ruts that run our lives and hold us in destructive patterns gradually melt away when they aren’t kept in the shadows. When brought into the light with love and support, those thoughts and beliefs that hold us back in small lives and timid relationships melt away.
This is why I do what I do as a therapist.
This is why I believe in therapy: Therapy is a place where stories that have never seen sunshine, stories that hold us into patterned ways of living that hold us back get the warmth that happens when human beings connect with each other.
And the ruts melt away…slowly but inevitably.
See, the ruts in our lives control our behaviour…either because we easily fall into them and we get locked into them in a fixed way, or because our energy is consumed with figuring out how to avoid them. Both of those are equally uncomfortable.
Those ruts–the behaviors and thoughts that seem to dictate our lives–those don’t magically disappear when you choose to talk with a therapist. But naming them out loud, often for the first time, changes things. Allowing those painful stories to be exposed to the light with assistance of a therapist gives you options:
- Once you tell a painful story to a therapist and understand how it shapes you, it becomes easier to integrate that story in a healing way into your life. Telling it to your spouse/friend now becomes possible–and now you can get support and understanding. Explaining your discomfort with your boss/colleague/mother make it possible for you to advocate for yourself
- Making your pain a real thing by naming it with another human being gives it a legitimacy it didn’t have before. And now you can grieve, weep, mourn, be angry–whatever it takes to move through the experience to come out the other side still feeling it, but not being controlled by it.
- Allowing yourself to talk about it, allows you to feel it, be curious about it, understand the hold it has on you. Bringing the wounds into the light stops them from hijacking you and pulling the strings in your life.
That which you resist, persists.
What you feel, heals.
Resisting the painful experiences in the past, keeping them in the shadows doesn’t actually work. It creates ruts that make for too much drinking, too much shopping/eating/facebook/videogames/porn etc. Those ruts dictate behavior and though you may resist them, the behaviors take on a life of their own.
Or, pushing away the effects of the gremlins creates perfectionistic patterns of managing everything inside of you, everything around you and everyone around you. You run yourself ragged trying to please everyone and everything. You spend your life avoiding the ruts…and so those pain-filled ruts still dictate your life.
Being consumer by a lifestyle of avoiding the ruts, or letting yourself fall into them are both equally painful.
Call somebody to put your ruts into the sunshine and melt them away?
- us at Conexus Counselling
- another therapist
- your doctor
- a rabbi, an imam, a pastor, the HR person at work, your compassionate next door neighbor, or a friend whom you trust
- somebody who you think might help, or who might point you in a direction that could help
Go online and do your research. Figure out who to email. We’d love to hear from you. Lots of people are there to help. Maybe Alcoholics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Show up at a meeting…it’ll be hard. You’ll want to drive right by when you get there, back away from the door when you approach it, and get up from your chair before the meeting starts…find a way to stay. It will take courage, but stay. It might be even harder to go back a second time once you have a whole new set of excuses…but go anyway.
Read a book, watch a movie, complete an inventory–take the first step towards shining some light on the painful reality of the runts. Give the pain of those ruts some love…and let somebody else shine some warmth on them too.
Let someone hug you when you usually push them away. Accept the conversation and stay with it, feeling your way through the discomfort. Let the tears that you usually push down fall…grab a kleenex.
Do something to bring your ruts of your life into the sunshine of warmth and healing.
A start. It starts with the first step. Take it now.
And then, please…let me know that you did something. Email me at <firstname.lastname@example.org> or through our contact page to let me know what you did to take the first step. I promise that I will respond directly to each email I receive to congratulate you. I want to be a cheerleader in your life…someone who is privileged to hear of your courageous step to bring your ruts into the light of day. I want to be part of the sunshine!
And take the second step when you’re ready. And the third one after that…sometime.
You’re worth it.
Living a life without the ruts dictating your life by being in them or by frantically avoiding them is no way to live. Let those ruts be exposed to the sunshine of your attention and self-compassion. Let those ruts get the warmth, care, and expertise that happens when you expose them to the care of someone else.
Thank you for considering the warmth and beauty of sunshine.