We all experience weeks where everything that could go wrong does. One thing that I know by now is that these weeks will pass, a blip on the radar of my life. It’s how I handle them that counts. Do I act out? Do I make them mean something about my spiritual progress? Will I allow a broken-down week to send me into a nosedive that requires a month-long repair? How quickly can I turn a breakdown into a gift?
I am at the end of such a week; it’s uncomfortable and not where I want to be. I have utilized every tool in my arsenal and relief is temporary at best. Prayer, meditation, sleep, exercise, service work- these practices which usually shift my mental state are not working, and frustration is only planting me more firmly in the space I am trying to escape from.
All the issues I have been dealing with are of the “broken shoelace” variety. I learned that term in AA. The substantial problems in life are not what take us down; it’s the piling up of the broken shoelace issues that slowly chip away at our serenity.
It’s easy to access faith when I feel great, and things are going my way. I also know how to plug into God during a calamity. Disasters spike our adrenaline and promise spiritual lessons that will eventually enrich our lives. Showing up during a traumatic experience is purposeful, spending three days dealing with a broken computer are not.
These off weeks are no cosmic accident either. They usually take place after I go through a high energy phase of productivity and inspiration. I have a tendency to become less vigilant about the maintenance of my spiritual condition when I feel good.
I have a list of the levels of consciousness by David R. Hawkins pinned on the board next to my computer. I have been staring at it a lot the past week during calls with the Apple and Microsoft help desks. How did I revert to a ping pong ball bouncing between anger and pride? Haven’t I put in enough work to earn my permanent slot between love and joy. What will it take to get back there? Do I still have to go through all the levels or could I just skip the line and jump right back in at joy after a great meditation?
David is the author of many brilliant books on the subject of consciousness. I have read two that I recommend: Transcending the Levels of Consciousness and Power vs. Force, The Hidden Determination of Human Behavior. I read them after I received the list below at a year-long course I took called The Evolutionary Collective.
Having this metric to track me has been life-altering. Knowing that courage is the portal to higher altitudes has helped me embrace discomfort and fear in a way that has not historically been my pattern.
It hit me as I was staring at the list and writing this that I can’t move past anger until I give up my judgments about anger. Self-judgment leads to self-loathing. To get to courage, I have to step into vulnerability- become a loving witness instead of a judge. Once I stop making anger wrong, movement becomes possible.
At Date With Destiny with Tony Robbins three months ago, I learned that my emotional home is anger. An emotional home is a primary emotion we default to when we experience setbacks in our life. We all have one. I had an angry father, and I used anger to protect myself. Anger served me for a long time, so I need to acknowledge its purpose every time I return to it. Building a new emotional home takes hard work, just like hammering together an actual structure. Consistent practices that wire me to positivity and gratitude are essential in creating new neural pathways. When I am vigilant, I spend a lot more time in gratitude and love than I do in anger.
Today I am practicing acceptance. I will passionately take on all the practices that open my heart, letting go of any results. Whatever shows up, today will be whole and complete just as it is. I am grateful for the week of broken shoelaces because it gave me the opportunity to recalibrate and recommit.