Stuck in the Scaries?
What do we do with the moments where it feels like life is crumbling down around us? When we can’t pay the bills, our partner walks out, our job is in jeopardy or some other scary story we dive into?
These are the questions I get virtually every day, and since I’ve been writing about reality tv so much I thought it was time for something from my own real life.
I shared this example with my group class today, and thought it might come in handy for others who struggle with the scary parts of life, tired of their miracle not manifesting and wondering how to get some relief once and for all.
Here’s what I did when I recently found myself stuck in a scary story:
My sweetie – and recent joint mortgagee (is that what you call someone who helps you make a big house payment?) – came home from bowling the other night announcing he had a dealbreaker on his hands.
(We hadn’t talked in several days because of our schedules and it was starting to feel like we were more roommates than lovers.)
He’s got a dealbreaker?
We used to joke about those – you don’t cook? Oh, that’s a dealbreaker. You don’t scoop litters? Oh my, this will never work. You don’t like guacamole? What kind of alien are you??
But this night he wasn’t joking.
I’d been sleeping in Anne’s bedroom (guest bedroom, named after my best friend and first guest) since I wasn’t getting any sleep with him due to snoring. Lots of loud, impossible-to-sleep-through snoring. Which, I was dealing with. But not the case for him, apparently.
He came home – to our expensive house we just bought together, remember (that was key fuel for gremlins) – and said, “This not sleeping together thing is a deal breaker for me.”
We’d been talking about the sleeping arrangements and experimenting with solutions, so this wasn’t the first time we’d had had this conversation. But this wasn’t a conversation; it was an announcement.
Well, that’s great. We both know where we stand now, and that’s not together, apparently.
Let the Gremlin Storm begin:
Here we are in our new house, that wouldn’t be easy for me to finance on my own (totally limiting belief). I just sunk all my cash into a significant down payment on this place. So I have no money. (Exaggeration.) I bought furniture that I wouldn’t have bought if it weren’t for him. (Not true either, half of it is exactly what I wanted.) I can’t move my cats again! (Lie. Of course I could.) Everyone who ever said to me, “You’re no good in long term relationships” was right. What will everyone think? I failed again. How come only the jerks want to hang out with me? This house is too big for me alone. I don’t want a roommate. I sure in the hell don’t want a new guy.
Gremlin City. Anyone been here before?
Yeah, I know. We all visit every once in a while.
Here’s what I did:
I hung out with the gremlins for a while. (Because what we resist, persists.) I let them entertain me. “Really???! Oooooohh.” I let them scare me. Or give it their best shot anyway. “I might be homeless?? I might be penniless?? I might never be loved again?? I might be HOPELESS???” Ooooohhh.
I let them have their way with me: “Lanaiya told me to get some sort of pre-nup so this wouldn’t happen. I thought she was ridiculous. She was right?! Sheesh. People told me I should just live in his house before we bought a new one together. And everyone else told me not to even think I would be successful living with someone. I’m not wired that way. They told me so.”
Really hard thoughts.
I didn’t resist them. I didn’t wish them away. I felt them. I heard them out.
And then I thought about it.
I checked in with my higher self: What do YOU think?
Ahh, she thinks all is well. She thinks this is perfect. She actually thinks this is kind of funny. ha ha We just move in together, and then he comes up with the dealbreaker?! What a HOOT!!! Come on, this is great material!! How can you not laugh about this?!
And I did. I laughed. She was right.
It was funny. Ridiculous and … well, just plain ridiculous.
And it WAS all well. If I move, I move. If I stay, I stay. If it ends, it ends.
Either way, I’m going to enjoy it the best I can. Because that’s what life does. It throws us (more accurately: WE throw us) curve balls and things we didn’t see coming, and it’s all good. That’s how it works.
It keeps it interesting.
But this isn’t the big scary drama we make it out to be.
It might seem that way, and while it does, we may as well make the most of it (maybe even enjoy it). Because it’s just an illusion. What’s TRUE is that we are eternal perfect beings, who are incapable of “screwing up” – yes, even when your name is Hitler – and all of this is serving our highest good. We can’t fail, so we may as well stop thinking we can.
What would feel better in this moment?
Those were some of the thoughts that worked for me in that moment. I had to feel around a big bag of them before I found the ones that felt better. And the ones that felt better in that moment weren’t necessarily the same ones that felt better the next day, so it was a work in progress. But I kept heading in that direction. “What would feel better?”
Whatever scary story you’re telling yourself, it’s the same process. Don’t resist it, or you’ll just stay stuck in it. Acknowledge it, know you’re not a “victim,” feel the feelings, and it will already start to feel better.
Once you’ve acknowledged and felt the scary thoughts, that gives you some room to work with. What’s so scary after you’ve looked at homelessness and unlovability and even death?
Once you look at the worst case scenario as played out by your gremlins, you’re not in resistance any more.
“This could be bad.”
Really? Let’s look at it. You see all the ugly scenes … and then ask: “Would I be okay through all of that?” Of course you would. Worst case scenario, you’re still okay.
Because it’s always okay. In each red hot moment we’re living in, we’re okay. There’s no such thing as a bad ending here. It’s impossible.
And when you feel the truth of that, those scary thoughts aren’t so scary any more. “Huh. I can do this.”
That “allowing” is the key to things starting to go your way.
Because we’re not fighting it any more. We’re not wishing it away. We’re not thinking of it as “wrong.”
“It’s fine. All is well. I can do this. This is perfect.”
Can you feel the freedom there?
Perfect isn’t a strong enough word for who we are and what we’re doing here.
A few nights later at our first dinner together after the dealbreaker announcement, I asked Russ what he believed about himself.
He listed a bunch of positive things I didn’t realize he felt about himself, which was nice to hear. And then he added he also “has a habit of creating problems where there are none.”
And I asked, “Really? How so?”
He responded: “Like the not sleeping in the same bed with you thing. That’s no big deal.”
No big deal. (Can you feel my smile?)
Of course it isn’t. And look at him seeing it. How perfect is that? I didn’t have to convince him. He saw it.
More perfection: something has mysteriously changed that allows me to sleep through the night with him now. He still snores, but I’m sleeping. Not every night, but more often than not.
Maybe my adrenals healed to the point where I’m not as sleep-challenged as I used to be; maybe the supplements are zonking me out better; maybe I found the right level of exercise; maybe … maybe we each let go of the resistance. I don’t know.
All I know is it’s all good.
And it would have been just as perfect for me to live here alone, or with a roommate, or to move – again, or even to live here with a guy who had a dealbreaker on his hands. And you know me well enough to know I’d have enjoyed every single one of those alternatives, too.
Can you see how impossible it is to screw up? We couldn’t if we tried.