Habits of Tension?

wrestler1A week ago my sweetie and I started watching Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler and got two thirds through before the DVD player went fritzy.  All week long I’d been imagining how it might end, really enjoying the anticipation of alternate possibilities.

Last night with a new DVD player connected we finished watching
(Spoiler Alert: skip this post if you don’t want to hear how it ends!)
… we finished watching Randy the Ram self-destruct.  For some reason, that wasn’t one of the endings I’d anticipated!
Earlier that same day I listened to Abraham say they think we enjoy the drama of our lives – of building the tension in order to more thoroughly enjoy the release of resistance.  (“Wheeeeeeeeee” is how we squeal with delight once we let go of our overstretched rubber band.)
I thought of a couple friends who have these habits, whether it’s reaching the brink of financial ruin before pulling off a save, or sabotaging relationship after relationship, or continually manifesting illness in their body. 
Thinking of their drama, I was grateful that I don’t have a habit of resistance in my own life.
And then this morning I did something that got my attention: I put the new retainer in (that the dentist was excited to give me three weeks ago) – I put it back in after breakfast. 
Which was unusual, because even though that’s what I’m supposed to do after every meal, I haven’t done it once yet.  Wearing it during the daytime is a  hassle.  It makes me talk funny, and I’m not one for following the rules anyway.
So when I put it back in for the day, without really purposely intending to, I wondered why.  Then I realized I put it back in because I’ve become accustomed to the tension it provides. 
Accustomed to the tension.
It made me wonder what other tension I might be choosing unconsciously, just because I’ve become so accustomed to it?
Here’s the thing, guys: I don’t think I’m the only one doing this.
Remember the scene from What The Bleep where Candace Pert talks about how we become addicted to our emotions?  Because our emotions have a chemical component that our body cells not only adapt to, but become so used to that the body will actually crave it when it goes without?
Yeah, like addicted to drama.  Or self-destruction.  Or adrenalin.  Or tension.
In looking through other areas of life besides the dental retainer, I realized I’m also used to tension between my ex and my sweetie.  I take it for granted.  I don’t even bother manifesting something different! 
I’m also used to tension when it’s time for foster dogs and cats to go up for adoption.  (Why wouldn’t I let go of THAT?!)  I’m used to tension when I travel.  Sheeh, and that’s just what I found in the first couple seconds of looking!
Imagine if Randy the Ram or his sweetie Cassidy had been able to end old patterns of self destruction and disappointment and were able to instead choose relief and happiness? 
Surely they could have, had they just been more aware of their situation and their power to change it.  And surely we can to.
When we become aware – which we do simply by observing – we can make new choices in support of what we want, rather than what we’re used to.
Here it is almost noon and my retainer’s still in!  Makes me wonder if perhaps I’m ready to give up the tension of being a rule-breaker?  ha! 
Not likely. 


I’m curious to hear whether any of this hits home for you.  Do you see any habits of creating tension in your life?  Are there scenes you find yourself repeating, even though you might choose differently if you were paying better attention?  Are there any life tensions you take for granted? 
Or maybe you have a story of how you DID release old habits of tension to allow more relief into your life?  We’d love to hear from you!

  • June 7, 2009
  • Annette says:

    Lately I have been asking myself why I feel tense – where do I feel it, what am I ‘askeert’ of.
    It usually comes down to a sub-conscious program that thinks I am taking a risk. Which is good – risk is growth!
    No drama = risking less attention.
    What kind of attention do I really want? Solicited or spontaneous?
    No drama = I am not ‘special’.
    What kind of special do I want to be – victim or Powerhouse?
    No drama = what do I talk about???????
    Would I rather talk trash, gossip or doom & gloom, OR
    solutions, empowerment and enlightenment??
    Thank you Jeanette!!

  • Jonathan Lockwood says:

    I travel weekly as part of my work, flying out on Fridays and back on Mondays. Why was it that I used to leave paying bills, packing and preparing for my trip until the last possible moment? Why did I so often stumble into bed after 3 am, only to wake up an hour and a half later to leave for the airport?
    Was it because I somehow LIKED the drama created by furiously slamming my bags together and rushing to make my flight? The idea that–no matter what–I would ALWAYS valiantly overcome any obstacles and be on that plane? (I think so…)
    But I married the most wonderful woman nine months ago, and I came to see that this mad-dash was unsettling for her. It seems that is all it has taken. I might not get eight hours of sleep the night before a flight, but I’m in bed at a reasonable hour, up in time, and leaving an extra twenty minutes earlier.
    Is it because she’s worth it? Well, yes. But also because I came to realize this drama was contrived by my some weird part of my psyche, and is entirely unnecessary.

  • Janette says:

    LOL!! I’ve spent the last twelve hours trying to repel anxiety thoughts about a meeting I have to be at in two hours. This will be a meeting of people who have kept accepting massive amounts of overwork because they love what they do and they love the people for whom they do it. They’ve struggled for years to manage it, but never found a better way. And I’ve been anticipating that they will want me to fix it for them.
    Something told me to reread this blog, and BINGO – it’s that ‘other people’s drama’ energy again… and the meeting hasn’t even happened yet!!! Talk about putting the bad stuff out there, hee hee! 😀
    So now I’m drinking coffee and thinking about how great Pilates is going to be this morning. And how the people at the meeting won’t need me to do anything other than provide some resources such as copies of the relevant legislation. They will talk about their situation and make some different decisions that will lead to better outcomes. They will take responsibility for their own well-being – and that’s JUST FINE!!

  • Daphne says:

    This one is a toughee for me and many others I’m sure. On the one hand, I feel that it’s absolutely beneficial to release tensions that I hold because I really don’t need the necessary drama. A perfect example for me would be seeing how late I can leave and attempt to arrive at a destination on time. Can you say nervewracking?
    But on the other hand, if every tension is removed from my life, what would I be? At this point I feel that I’d be a wet noodle.
    It’s natural and normal for us to experience the gamut of emotions because that’s part of what makes us human. When my mother died, I had relatives suggest that I get a prescription for a sedative from the doctor and I flat out refused. Why? Because I needed and wanted to grieve and I felt that I would be setting myself up for drama later on if I didn’t deal with the very raw and gut wrenching emotions that were just under the surface.
    I’ve had a long stretch of time in my life now where I’ve had very little drama, and I’ve wondered if it was natural to feel so unaffected by almost everything. Like floating on a vast lake whose surface stood still even when there were storms surrounding it.
    I can’t lie. I kind of love the emotional rollercoaster. However, I’d like my rollercoaster to go something like this. I meet an exceptionally attractive man at a party and he takes my number and start dating. Then a secret admirer pops up out of nowhere and begins to challenge party-man for my affections. In between their tug-of-war, I’m being taken on fabulous trips out of town, sumptuous dinners and dancing until dawn. Soon I’ll have to choose between these two, or is there a third suitor waiting in the wings to steal my heart?
    What are your thoughts?

  • Drama’s a strong word for what I engage in, but the tension I contribute to is usually around proving myself worthy and/or right.
    I think it can be helpful to identify the payoff we’re getting from the circumstances we say we don’t want, in order to set ourselves up for an alternate (and easier, more rewarding) payoff. Or giving up the need for it altogether.
    Good food for thought, Susan. Thanks for posting!

  • Pure Potential Coach says:

    Creating drama – so many people complain about the drama in their lives and continue to re-create it on a regular basis. So asking what is the positive intent or secondary gain from the drama, often reveals the motivation/cause of the chaotic swirl. When clients report that they are exhausted by the drama in their lives, I often reply by asking what happens when you engage in the drama. The first reply is usually I don’t engage on purpose but get caught up in/pulled into the situation. Again I ask what is the positive intent – being right, getting attention, claiming the victim role, make-up sex, financial interest?
    We have the choice to write our script and I choose comedy, romance, adventure and/or fantasy over drama.

  • Funny you’d mention that … it’s one of my recent “prime directives,” Ms Nikki, to listen to and act on intuition more than I already do.
    And I have to say, you’re flowing some good stuff to be accepted in the veggie crowd despite your flesh-eating status. lol
    Keep up the great energy!

  • MSNikki says:

    Oh, I forgot to add the comments to my post as “anonymous” re: Kim’s analogies.
    Kim, thank you so much for including those wonderful analogies in your post! So true! There our a lot of us who can relate to the “frunny” state that you described! That is a good question to ask oneself if he or she is questioning a relationship, job, etc.

  • Anonymous says:

    Once again! There must be a karmic connection between you, Jeanette, and us, the faithful readers both new and old! I am going to join this LOA chorus with my two notes worth of experience! Just this very afternoon I told a good friend how much I enjoyed the girls’ company in my veggie group! All of the veg-a-teers come from different racial, ethnic,and regional backgrounds and there is no tension or judgement amongst us. Hell, I am not even a vegetarian! I am “bi” I guess since I eat both meat and veggies. Yet, I still get accepted despite that!
    Usually, I am in situations where I have been critized both overtly or covertly (both at work and personal lives). Tension, chaos,and drama were the three main ingredients for most of my relationships. I didn’t feel like I was engaged in a relationship if at least one aspect was not present.A lot of us grew up in toxic environments and thus are now conditioned to negativity even though we know it is harmful to us. Since I chose to have peace, I have had much smoother relationships and associate with non toxic people! It is still work because at times I do regress. I would also say that we need to listen to and act on our intuition when it comes to bad vibes.

  • Janette says:

    Ha! Inner Genius, I hear ya! Wow, great topic – remaining tensions…
    My job currently includes some advocacy work, and boy was I in the habit of fighting battles!! Even when my conscious desire was to create collaborative and collegial solutions, I’d “find myself” embroiled in knock-down, drag-out, tooth-rattling firefights.
    Which were NEVER my fault. Or that of the person I was representing. Not once. It was ALWAYS the ‘other side’…
    YEAH, RIGHT!!!! 😀
    This year, since remembering that I create EVERYTHING in my life, I’ve gone through the following phases:
    Phase 1 – ooh, I don’t like being around these people who want to have battles when I want cooperation and consultation… I think they need to change
    Phase 2 – ooh, I don’t like being in this job where I have to fight battles when really I want cooperation and consultation…. I think I need to leave
    Phase 3 – *clunk*…. so, if I create my reality wherever I am, I guess I better change this reality or I’m just gonna keep taking it with me into the next job.
    I’m now in Phase 4 which is daydreaming how fabulous each meeting and encounter will be before I get there. It’s WAY more peaceful to come to everything from that space, and if the people I meet choose to retain their old behaviours I’m not engaging. It’s none of my business. 🙂
    Now all I need to do is apply that to A-A-A-ALL the other tensions I can feel lurking in the wings, waiting to come onto the stage of my conscious mind…

  • Oh my word, Amen for Phase 3, Janette!! Without that, we’re stuck in ruts that may or may not serve us, right? The awareness is what allows us to implement our power to change!
    You go, girl!!

  • inner Genius Coach says:

    Well, when I practiced law, I was always caught up in the drama that other people faced with their legal problems. I ended up getting pretty burnt out with all that.
    I can honestly say that I have moved from drama into less tension in my life now. And this post is so timely as I am aware that drama has been part of my template and so I am quickly unraveling any drama that I come across.
    Now, I will say that I never got the make up sex part.
    Drama of fighting just to have sex? O, No. When I am pissed, it takes me time to get over that and the last thing I feel like doing is……
    Well, go figure!
    Iyabo Asani

  • El Baugher says:

    I love when you’re in my head Jeanette!
    My friend K and I were JUST talking the other day about how in the unconscious way of life, I was VERY prone to passive aggressiveness as a default reaction to most everything.
    One very important lesson I’ve learned from my husband is:
    Generally speaking, men say what they mean and mean what they say.
    Saying, “What’s that supposed to mean?” is almost a useless phrase when spoken to a man. If you heard his words, you know exactly what he meant. Reading more into it and looking for the hidden meaning and finding out what we think he REALLY means is all drama created by the insecure, passive aggressive woman.
    I resembled that remark for many many years. Creating the drama in our relationship in search of the validation I thought I needed to have.
    Saying “Nothing!” when there’s really something… or saying “No” or “I don’t care” when the true answer was YES and I DO CARE, A LOT!! Expecting him to read my mind and know what I wanted when I wasn’t TELLING HIM! I was being passive aggressive and purposely NOT telling him. For what? I got nothing out of it but misery. I takes a TON of energy to go through that a dozen times a day.
    I suppose the only thing I got out of it was, him giving up and me wielding the power…. which in retrospect is stupid at best LOL.
    Now, I take him at his word. And if his word happens to be something I don’t care to hear or something I disagree with, I just allow him his perspective and move forward. I know it’s sure sucked the stress and tension right out of our marriage. It’s been a wonderfully peaceful life.

  • I’m with you on the make-up sex, Iyabo. Never worked that way for me, either.
    And can I just say congrats on the wonderful progress you’ve made toward a drama-free life?! woo hoo!!

  • Mitch, your post is making me laugh!
    I love how sometimes we get exactly what we said we wanted, which can make us rethink what we want and what we’re used to.
    There’s something about familiarity that is seductive, huh?
    Kudos to you for moving past old habits and manifesting a fab new sweetie!
    Thanks for joining the conversation, my friend.

  • Mmm, El, I’m sure many will be able to relate to the example you shared with us!
    Congrats on releasing that habit of tension!

  • Mitch says:

    I love this post, and I love these comments!
    T.I.A. I know just what you mean about the volatile “exciting” relationships.
    A few months back I very successfully manifested a new sweetie who was SO drama-free that I couldn’t tell if we were really right for each other. LOL For me to have a really stable and easy relationship was so against my normal pattern that I have to admit, I caught myself thinking up reasons for drama and tension! (If only for the opportunity to make up later! Ha! j/k) But honestly, the release from that kind of tension is what I had been accustomed to calling “love”, and it certainly is a little more intense than the soft and easy feeling of simplicity and *niceness* that the new relationship gave me.
    That niceness is definitely a feeling I would like more of, though, on a myriad of different subjects!

  • Oh boy, I can see in my past where I’ve boiled AND turned around, Kim! Huh.
    The power would be to spot it in my present!
    Great way to spot the sabotaging behaviors – thanks for the frog & bunny stories, Kim!

  • Kim Falconer says:

    This is a wonderful post–we all have habits that don’t serve us and the good news is, unlike the bunny and the frog, we can change!
    Bunny and frog?
    I’m walking with Aesop this morning it seems. 🙂
    These two stories came to mind as I read about habits of resistance. Both are somewhat horrific so pleased be warned:
    1. The frog–it is said that if a frog jumps into a pot of water sitting on the stove and that pot slowly heats up to the boil, he will stay there and eventually cook to death because it all happens so gradually. But if there is a pot of water already boiling and Mr Frog jumps in, he will spring back out before his toes are singed.
    It’s all about what we get used to . . .
    2. The bunny–Rabbits have a powerful notion of their territory. They stay inside the self-proclaimed boundaries no matter what. Even if a coyote chases them to the brink of their known land, and escape is in sight, they will turn around and run straight into the jaws of the predator rather than risk the new ground.
    Again, it’s all about what we are used to . . .
    In the past, I was quite the Frunny (frog/bunny) when it came to relationships–in boiling water that, if not for habit, I would have sprang out of long ago, or coursing across terrain so inhospitable is was hard to see the comfort, no matter how familiar the patterns.
    How glorious is it to know we can recognize these situations and make different choices–think different thoughts!
    Thank you, Jeannette. I’m taking a moment to consider where I’ve become accustomed to habits that don’t serve me!

  • And with all that awareness flowing, Tia, you can’t help but set a beautiful example of choosing in favor of what you want rather than what you’re used to.
    Thanks for posting!

  • Retainers huh? Me too 🙂 And I resist the feeling I get when I wear them but if I don’t wear them I worry about ruining the year long work my braces did. So there’s one tension I face DAILY. And it affects my entire day sometimes.
    The old relationship sabotage thing, check. The I’m-getting-there-so-fast-but maybe-I-could-go-faster and then subconsciously hitting the brakes, check. Also check on habitually complaining about how some manifestations are close to perfect but just not good enough. Can you FEEL the tension in THAT one?
    Of course we get addicted to drama! Most of us have been in relationships that were exciting and .. volatile. So when we meet someone who’s not as volatile we crave it and think the person’s not right for us. This is something I’m still learning, when I say I want excitement and get drama, what I really want is to feel ALIVE!!
    And drama is all about emotions, reactions, energy – all of which heightens our senses, reflexes and emotions. To consciously find ways to feel alive without resorting to tension fuelled theatrics … that would be my idea of enlightenment.

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