I was having a spa treatment yesterday, and at one point during the treatment the therapist used a body brush on my skin, lightly sweeping the brush across the tops of my arms and chest. And I found myself thinking to myself, “ohh, so that’s how gently you’re meant to use one of these?”, realising that whenever I’ve used one on myself I was definitely not that gentle, I’ve never swept it lightly across my skin, even though I know you’re meant to. It’s like I thought the harder I go (my poor skin!) the better the results are going to be.
And I started thinking about and reflecting on all the times I thought harder equaled better. That intensity equaled better. And it didn’t matter what that related to: dieting, exercise, studying, work, even reading – even activities I usually do to help me unwind or relax, things which are meant to settle you, like yoga, or going for a nice walk – ask my Husband, I do not amble, I walk at the pace of “we must get there”! Get where for goodness sake?!
Everything was always so intense, I was always pushing, always striving perhaps? for something.
I was an addict. I was addicted to intensity. Addicted to more. To more force. To over-achievement, to over-commitment, to overwhelm – ing, everything. Slow-er didn’t feel safe. Steady didn’t feel good. Comfort or settling wasn’t an option, it meant weakness, it meant laziness, it meant incompetence.
No, more was better. More accomplishments. More events, crammed into an already packed schedule.
Things are meant to feel hard, that way we’re deserving. Work hard. No harder. Harder than that. But be humble about it. And be stoic. Nothing is too much trouble, nothing is without sacrifice; your health and wellbeing; your time and energy. This is normal, this is expected. To sacrifice these things means to validate your achievements.
As I’ve progressed through my healing journey, I’ve realised I want to be able to go toward and experience “intensity”, but in a way which feels good in my body, and in my being, without believing I have to, or I should do, in order to prove something, or because I am so used to the chaos of it that I don’t know how else to be, how else to exist in this world.
I was addicted to the rush of intensity, of the pushing and shoving, of the activation in my body, in my nervous system, without realising I was addicted. The intensity (of everything) felt comfortable, it felt familiar, habitual. I didn’t know, in my being, that there was another way, a much more easeful, and yet just as rewarding, way. I couldn’t fathom it. It never even crossed my mind.
Thank fuck I figured out that there is.