I was lying in bed this morning, no need to get up, no need to do anything other than enjoy arriving in the new day. Nothing to worry about.
And in crashes my mind looking for an angle. This is all too comfortable, it considers it to be damn dangerous being this happy and relaxed, letting my guard down like this. It wants to do its job and look after me and protect me from possible danger.
So relaxing seems dangerous, and it wants to alarm me, find some threat I should be looking out for instead of just being there relaxed. It couldn’t come up with anything much for this day ahead as not much threatening is on the immediate horizon. It did jab me slightly with a thought of the vat bill coming up and to remember to keep enough money for that. I’m used to that one and I just go ‘oh there’s that scary thought again’. I let go of that, so it tried again.
It went further ahead into the future, and managed to slip in a worry thought about not having enough work ready for the men to move onto. That old sock, I thought. Works every time, the thought of them not being able to support their families and me being responsible for that. That one isn’t so easy to shrug off as it is an actual possibility. Granted one that has never happened yet in 20 years but still. I have to take action all the time to keep them in work.
Then followed an ‘well I better get off my ass and onto that next design pronto ’ thought. That brought anxiety, As I really don’t like feeling under pressure, or being fear driven to do things, I prefer a natural arising of action where I just find myself doing it when the time is right.
Next thing my physiology is slightly aroused and I get up. Not anxious enough to stop me singing my song though. I belt out my daily ‘A-Team’ theme tune I start the day with and enjoy the dog bounding in with saggy tail delight at the getting up signal.
That’s how long I let life go well this morning in bed. An hour or so. Then I let fear in to create some ripples.
I was talking to a client yesterday about the most common regret that dying people expressed according to a survey I read. It was, “I wish I had allowed myself to be happier”.
What struck me was the volitional element. They had come to see at the end of their lives that it was and is a choice.
I keep revisiting this topic as I think it is of enormous importance. I often use the metaphor I found in Gay Hendrick’s book of the idea of an ‘inner thermostat setting’.
As children we are given an inner thermostat setting of how much love, success and happiness is normal for us. It is determined by those around us largely, what we observe in our role models and our experience of them, how they treat us.
And then we live our lives according to that setting, not getting too much above the thermostat setting. If we do go above the setting it can feel uncomfortable and even dangerous as it is unfamiliar territory to us we have no experience of being happier, more successful or allowing more love into our lives. What happens then is that we often sabotage ourselves back to the familiar setting.
So the challenge is to edge up this inner thermostat setting and allow ourselves in a gradual and safe way, to learn to get used to a higher setting. Doing this exercise may bring up some fears, or feelings of resistance in the form thinking of ourselves as undeserving or unworthy of more than what we are used to.
These blockages need to be worked through and understood to be overcome….sometimes it can take a few sessions of therapy or coaching. And it helps to have someone to chum us along as we experiment with change. It also helps to be around those whose thermostat setting is set higher than ours in the area we would like to expand into. Those that allow a lot of love and happiness into their lives or are comfortable with wealth.
I am not sure how much help friends can be, especially old friends, as we tend to choose people who have a similar inner thermostat setting to our own so that we both feel comfortable. And family, well that’s where we got the original setting from.
It’s a delicate surgical, exciting, enjoyable and rewarding process, one that requires some courage and willingness to experience change. And we can learn to encourage ourselves along the way and as we experiment, little by little we can learn to feel safe and expand our capacity for the good things in life. To relax. Feel safe. Surrender to the moment by moment unfolding of this bizarre miracle we find ourselves in.