I had someone write to me recently and ask the question “do you think you have applied an avoidance strategy and your life is a form of escapism? Perhaps you can cover it in a publication.” It was a great question, and one I have been asked before – in fact it was me that asked that question a thousand times before I decided to quit my job and travel the world. “Am I running away?” My answer was no, I was running towards something.
“Life is to be faced, in that place, in that time” she wrote.
She could not be closer to the truth. Life is about facing up to your shit. By that I mean dealing with what is going on around you, the ups and downs, the highs the lows, but more importantly your own shit. Lets face it, how good or bad life is is really a matter of perspective. Your own shit is the stuff that defines that perspective – the stories you tell yourself about how things are, the beliefs we hold onto like security blankets, the patterns that are so deeply ingrained in us we think that we can never break free from. Our shit is what allows us to wake up each morning and say “wow, what an amazing day” or “why am I alive??”
We are constantly applying avoidance strategies to escape from our shit – we pour another wine, spend hours online, watch tv, or even max out our social calendars. We are constantly “busy” and our lives are so full we never have time to rest down, to be instead of do. Our lives are constructed into one big avoidance strategy, avoiding ourselves. I know, I was one of those people. The more I could cram into one day, the more productive I felt, the more yoga classes I could go to, the books I could read, the people I could catch up with all made me a “good” person. But I was avoiding the thing I needed the most, I was avoiding slowing down, of doing less. I was avoiding spending time simply being.
I made the decision to leave behind a very comfortable and happy life as I wanted to get outside my comfort zone, I wanted to let go of planning and structure, of routine and easy living. I wanted to stop avoiding my shit and deal with it – the fears around not making it, of not having money, of knowing no one, of being able to simply be v’s do.
One thing I know for sure, you can’t hide from life and your shit, it catches up with you, no matter where you are in the world. Trust me, even on the side of mountain in the middle of the Himalaya’s, your shit is with you. In fact it is even more with you than in a busy hectic life in a big city. There is no internet or tv to numb your mind in the Himalaya’s, you have to face it head on.
So like a game of hide and seek, all of our stuff sits in waiting, waiting to be found. No matter how much we ignore, avoid, numb it down, it will always be there. You don’t need to go to the Himalaya’s to face it, but you do need to spend some time with yourself, being instead of doing, and allowing your shit to arise so you can face it and more importantly let it go.
I would love to hear what you do to avoid things – drop them in the comments below! I know a favourite of mine is the internet 🙂 If you have a question or idea for a post, get in touch here.