Action is what many of us are normally very good at, and in fact, we may too often jump straight to action without first consciously identifying thoughts, feelings, and wants.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space, within that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response, within those choices lie our opportunities for growth & happiness.” --Viktor Frankl
Action can bring us fear. Some of my favorite books are about feeling the fear but doing it anyway. I remember years ago I heard of a Nike ad that was very controversial. It was a depiction of a woman running in the forest and then being followed by a "Halloween" type character with a chainsaw.
Women across the country were so upset at the video, as it portrayed us as victims in a storyline many were sick of watching. But I loved the commercial. I thought it was brilliant, actually.
I believe walking into the woods is a living metaphor of an archetypal journey. In the deep forest of our being we encounter the dark places, the mysterious and hidden corners of our psyches. As we continue on our journey and fight our way through the visible and invisible threats to our identity, we emerge out of the shadows into the beautiful sunlit meadow of self-awareness and expansion.
I discovered this powerful metaphor when I was 28 years old. I called my mother to tell her I was headed to a mountain retreat, into the woods with 50 other women to heal my codependency. I was hoping that connecting with these women would help me heal and get out of the rut I was surviving. Living alone in Los Angeles, miserable, working at a job I didn’t like, and enduring the constant upheaval of an on-again-off-again relationship.
My mother, with her “did-you-wear-clean-underwear” tone, said; “Oh honey, don’t do that. Jason will be in the woods and will chop you up into little pieces, and then you will be dead.” I remember rolling my eyes – clearly going into the woods alone was a dangerous proposition for her daughter.
I did go to that retreat. And, I remember walking into the woods in fear for my life; afraid that every little noise meant an evil “Jason” was stalking me. Jason was that same archetype as in the Nike commercial.
As the weekend unfolded, I confronted the very real dangers of unhealthy patterns and emotions that were literally killing my soul. As I embraced the sadness within, I cried the hardest I ever have in my life. And I learned that I could recover from the deeply rooted codependency holding me captive in a horrible cycle of self-sabotage. It would take years to fully recover, but I am forever grateful for that experience and those wonderful women.
Where in your life are you afraid to go into the woods?
Watch the Nike video HERE.
Activity: Move Into Action
(Refer to Your Workbook)
Practice: Emotional Intelligence & Connection with Others
Activity Time: 20 Minutes
This week, try to move into a direction that SCARES you. Take an action that you normally would not take just to see what happens. I have always liked the title of the book: "Feel the Fear, and Do it Anyway"... or the Nike phrase "Just Do It." These are practices that get us into action no matter how we feel.
Another activity is to take a walk in the woods ALONE. Pay attention to what comes up for you in the quiet of your soul and nature. Is it fear, peace, happiness, or calm? Notice and name the experience for yourself as you stay into the action of paying attention.
One last activity, watch Amy Cuddy and her brilliant Fake it Til You Make it Speech.
It will change your life!!