Saturday, August 11, 2007

Moving through crisis and opportunity

1977 Nobel Winner for physics, Illya Prigogine, stated, "Essential flow of energy is essential to wellness; disease is the result of any interference with this flow." At first, disruptions in energy flow may appear as isolated blockages demonstrated through tiredness, fatigue and muscle pain. Later chronic issues will appear.

I was wondering about energy this morning. Thinking about my energy. How I use it. Abuse it. Lose it. Where is my energy flowing?

Last night, I had a long, inspiring conversation with a girlfriend about life and love, learning through what appear to be mistakes that open us up to what we need to embrace and let go of so that we can leap, fall, and flow into new states of being. We chatted. I listened. She listened. I shared. She shared. When I hung up I felt relaxed, refreshed and inspired. What a gift.

Our conversation naturally moved into a discussion about men and relationships. (we are women! :) She told me about a recent situation where she had felt less than. Where she felt, regardless of what he did, what she did undermined her value, compromised her self-respect. I'm so angry at myself, she said. I knew better. Been there. Done that. I replied.

Everytime I have undermined my value it is because I resisted my 'inner knowing'. That place within me where I know what is right, true, authentic and congruent for me. Instead of doing the right thing -- which is often the difficult thing -- I act out of teenage-like angst and compromise myself. I disregard my path, and step into the oncoming traffic of someone else's direction.

Recently, I met a man. He was funny. Creative. Gifted. We flirted. Back and forth. It was fun. Scary too. But that was okay. I felt secure in my boundaries, comfortable with my direction. A couple of things happened that tested my boundaries. I was comfortable telling him. Not so comfortable with his response. Over the course of a couple of weeks, we had three dates and shared a bunch of phone calls and emails. I learned enough to know we had differing values about some things that are very important to me. For me, those values are core to any relationship growing beyond the first blush of an encounter into something deeper.

I told my girlfriend about that encounter, about the stress of coming up against my own stuff, of having to determine what's real and true for me in this situation, and to not be swayed by someone else's assertions about who I am or what I'm feeling. It's stressful to say to someone, I think you're wonderful but I'm not interested. It's stressful having to turn up and be honest with my feelings without fear of the outcome. Stepping through my fear, however, gave me the opportunity to embrace what I needed to know and understand about me. It gave me an opportunity to see how much I've grown and how much more I can grow when I accept myself as I am and stand true to my values, principles and beliefs. I was okay before we met. I'm okay after we met and I trust he is too. What an empowering place for me to get to!

And then I told her how I'd gone on to let myself down. I had an opportunity to become involved in a business venture with this person. My immediate response was yes. Challenge is, my yes wasn't based on wanting to do it. It was based on wanting to kid myself that this was a good idea for me. I mean, if I didn't do it, might I be missing out on the next best thing to sliced bread? My yes was also based on not wanting to create conflict and not wanting to hurt another person's feelings. Truth is, I hurt someone's feelings when I'm not truthful. When I acquiesce for the sake of 'being nice', I am being dishonest. Truth was, I was actually rather angry with this man about something he'd written after we'd agreed to not continue dating. I never told him though and he never mentioned it when he phoned to invite me to participate. Even more important, however, was what I had learned through what he'd written about our different values. I knew better than to say yes, yet, I behaved as if I didn't. To avoid conflict, to not have to deal with it, I lied. I smiled and said, yes.

And that's where I undermined my own sense of self, my self-respect and worth. That's where I devalued myself. In not telling the truth, in not being honest, I lost an opportunity to turn up for me, speak my truth and not be attached to the outcome.

I had to fix my mistake -- and that's where the growth came. I stewed in my angst. Stressed myself out over -- why did I say yes when I meant no? Well.... I hate being wrong. Hate making mistakes -- lol -- how absurd is that? Mistakes are awesome opportunities -- as long as I'm willing to move from where I am into where I need to be to grow through it. To step in the right direction, I sometimes have to identify where my direction (not to mention my thinking) is off base.

In accepting my mistake, and in growing through it, the stress of being wrong grew into my doing the right thing. Of speaking my truth without fear of the outcome. I declined the offer to be involved in a new business and breathed freely. I was okay. The world didn't stop. The skies didn't open up and dump condemnation on me for having made a mistake. The stars stayed in alignment and life continued on with wonder and joy.

That feeling of 'omg! I've made a mistake' can be enormously stressful. Yet, according to Prigogine, stress is integral to change. Stressed-out systems lead to dissipation of the system, which leads to creation of a higher order of awareness and complexity -- as long as we allow ourselves to push through our fear and lean into our courage so that it can guide us into awareness and change.

My tendency is to use covert measures to fight stress. I ignore it. Move around it. Dig under it. Back away from it. I lie about my feelings and thoughts. I pretend. Not healthy. Not a good idea. I know this about myself. It's up to me to be aware, to stay conscious so that I do more of the right thing and not let my habit pull me off balance.

My responsibility to myself and to the world around me is to be honest about me. To be upfront, open and respectful with my truth. When I am moving with grace and ease my energy flows. When I block my truth, I block my energy, stress my systems and the world around me.

In the Chinese alphabet the symbol for crisis and opportunity is the same. Rather clever those Chinese. Crisis is an opportunity for growth -- if we're willing to accept it.

Have an energy-inspired day moving through crisis into the opportunity to learn more, do more, be more than you ever imagined.

No comments: