My rusty bike
I moved home in December last year. My bike's been sitting out in the rain since I moved. It’s got all rusty and jammed up and stuck.
Being stuck is pretty shit isn’t it?
A few years back I was like my bike is now, ram-jam-stuck. In my job, in my relationship and in my own growth. I felt like I was in some sort of weird suspended animation. Every day I told myself that things were ok, that they were fine as they were. I’d push away my feelings of things being not even remotely ok or fine by shutting down, distracting myself and numbing out with my old friends Rioja, Cadburys and Netflix box sets.
I’d spend my days dreaming of what could be, imagining what if this or that happened. I believed that if only I could find the ‘magic’ solution I would be able to sort it all out and make everything right. That eventually things would get better.
The fact was that I didn’t want to look at my life and dig into what was really going on. It felt too difficult. Where did I start? It also scared the hell out of me! What happens if I uncover something that means I need to actually do something about it?! Instead I pushed my head further into the sand and did a brilliant job at avoiding thinking about any of it.
I knew I wanted things to change and yet I stayed, just where I was.
Sometimes we cling to a relationship or a job or a lifestyle because we believe if it could just be different we would be happy with it. We get possessed by the “If Only” mind. If only my boss would leave, things will get better at work. If only I could earn more money. If only I had a partner who understood me. If only I had a bigger house in a different part of town or lived in a different country. If only I could be healthier or thinner or a better runner…and so on. We wait for things to be different so we can feel happy with our life.
I was clinging onto what I had. Really bloody tightly. Because we do, don’t we?
Even when all the signs are screaming at us "it's time to make a change" “it’s time to move on” “it’s time to let go."
Buddhist philosophy calls this clinging Upádána. Attachment that causes suffering.
“Most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities.” - Dalai Lama
We cling to what we have, we hold on tightly. Clinging to the familiar is human nature, we want to be safe, feel safe. We crave certainty. And yet life is inherently unpredictable, impermanent and uncertain.
The thought of changing something can be just way too scary. We fear failure. We fear being wrong or messing up. We worry about what people will think of us or what they will say about us. We don’t want to regret our decisions, hurt people, let people down or let ourselves down.
And yet it’s up to us to change things isn’t it.
When I'd had enough of waking up every morning with an anxious, tight, ache in my belly that never really went away and I couldn’t pull off the ‘everything is just fine’ story any longer, I made a choice to finally stop pretending that my life was ok when it wasn’t.
With the support of some wonderful people around me I opened up about what was really going on. I started being honest and real. It meant facing some difficult truths. It meant stepping into the unknown. It meant not knowing if everything would work out…
It also meant understanding who I was and what I wanted. It meant some deep soul-searching and learning and growing (that journey continues!) Ultimately it meant leaving my corporate job to build a life and a business that, despite the roller-coaster moments, I'm totally loving right now!
What would it mean for you?