Have you heard the old adage of “sitting on your hands”? Well over the past few weeks I have been literally sleeping on my hands. During my deepest slumber, I would awaken to painful tingling up and down my arms – my limbs were falling asleep. One night it was so bad I thought I dislocated my shoulder. My body was talking to me, it was telling me something that I was pushing out of my thoughts during the day; I was not just sitting on my hands, I was sleeping on them!
I couldn’t meditate or concentrate without this one particular thought crawling around the back of my mind – ‘I worked in a toxic environment’. I was putting off quitting out of fear: fear of not being able to get more clients, not being able to pay bills, or perhaps ruining my reputation. There is no postponing the inevitable yet for some reason I was stalling.
I only worked at this place for 5 hours a week but it felt like 50. It was consuming my energy for my personal business. My clients were leaving their jobs to find greener pastures, I praised them for their bravery while I remained a coward. Interesting how I can take care of myself physically just fine but mentally I was being irresponsible. Since I listen to my body, obviously more than my psyche, it screamed at me to stop being complacent.
When we ignore problems they might manifest into other areas, then we internalize and have no choice but to eventually deal with it down the road. Sleeping on my hands was one loud cry to deal with the current situation. Tight hips/tight shoulders don’t just arise out of nowhere. We are carrying ourselves inside ourselves: we are carrying negative emotions, the past, behavioral patterns, relationships, fear and holding onto it. In order to change the holding patterns of our body we need to change the patterns in which we live our lives. This is part of letting go.
To live in fear, causes you and those around you to suffer. Fear-based decision making is holding you back from living. Get yourself on track-by addressing what you need to do to live a healthy life both mentally and physically:
1. Know the root of your unhappiness: can you pinpoint what is causing you displeasure? If so give it a name and evaluate why you are letting this happen.
2. How are you addressing this problem: are you dealing with this problem by voicing it externally or internally? Externally can mean you are discussing it in a healthy way with the people who can help bring about positive change (i.e. if someone at your work is causing you discomfort maybe you should discuss it directly with them). On the flip side, avoid wasting excessive breath on negative energy. Its healthy to vent but when radiating steam turns into a part-time job you are giving it too much power. Don’t let anything take your happiness away from you. My husband and I have a rule that we complain about work outside the walls of our home so our house can be a place of joy.
Internalizing issues, sweeping things under a rug, can often become more dangerous in the future. This is where we begin to hold onto things but deny the power of the issue. We deny that both the mind and body suffers. We think we can lock things away but instead our joints lock up or worse (note that stress is a killer).
3. Does this problem motivate you physically: wherever you go there you are. Movement, yoga, exercise or any physical practice will help manage the stressors of life. However, management does not necessarily mean elimination. I believe physical movement has the power to heal, otherwise I wouldn’t teach it, it absolutely works wonders. However, when we run away from things they do catch-up to us. Maybe your situation can be dealt with through physical movement alone, but if not read on.
4. If you conclude that the problem won’t change, then you need to. You are solely responsible for your life and the sole instrument of change. When you have exhausted your resources looking for a solution, finding none, realize that the best solution is usually your initial instinct and move forward. Put your actions into motion and let go of what is holding you back.
Yesterday, I received an email from my employer telling me that I was no longer needed at work. I had a sound sleep because my hands weren’t pinned underneath me. I had made the decision to leave before receiving the email but fate sometimes trumps the plan. Things have a way of working themselves out and it is those honest moments of ‘I am sitting on my hands’ that gives you the power to admit what works for you and what does not.