The Potato is Harmless

I realized the original object was a lukewarm potato and I was scared for no reason. The sword I had been carrying around was a little excessive. That poor potato didn't stand a chance.

The Potato is Harmless

I let myself off the hook for my own mistakes and I want to talk about that process here in the hope that it helps you do the same thing.

For as many blogs and social media posts as I've written, it's really hard to for me to explain the massive shift that I've made within myself over the last few years. I really can't describe the train wreck that I was in enough to color to make it real to you. Unless you were there and you experienced my crazy first hand, you really will never understand the depth of the crazy train wreck that was me. You will also never fully understand the shift that I had to make to not be that anymore.

One part of that shift was in letting myself off the hook. I had to get okay with my own mistakes.  I'm going to be very honest with you, I caused a lot of pain for other people as a walking train wreck. Some of those people I cared about deeply. Those types of mistakes are the places where people tend to beat themselves up the most and I had to figure out how to get okay with them too.

First, I had to accept the pain that I was in. This is part of the argument that we create with ourselves. When we argue with the pain it subsequently makes us also argue with the actions we take because of the pain. I started from just accepting the pain. I separated the actions from the pain a bit so that I could begin to understand what was happening. I allowed the pain to be its own thing and got okay with it by itself. It gave me the space to accept the wounds that I was carrying around.

I got out of the idea of "should". It shouldn't have been that way. I shouldn't have had to go through all that pain. They shouldn't have done that to me. You know the "should's" because you probably have a few yourself. That's an argument with it. It puts you on defense. What are you defending yourself against?

So there's some quirky logic happening in this thinking. Let's play this out. You're defending yourself against things that have already happened. Presumably it's because of a hidden fear of them happening again. You "should" yourself into believing that they shouldn't have happened to start with, but then you defend yourself against the possibility that they may happen again. You keep yourself in pain by arguing with what you think should have happened and then you defend yourself against the exact same thing. You create your own problem and then you render yourself unable to solve it because you refuse to use the tools you have. You make yourself a victim of your own thinking.

"Should" traps you into believing that you don't have any control. The control you have just isn't where you want it to be. It doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Your control is within you. You have control over own thoughts and feelings. That's where your control is. What you want to control is the experiences that you have but you don't have that control and it's frustrating to you. It causes you to instead "should" yourself into a corner with an argument that you make yourself incapable of getting out of because of your thinking.

Once you accept the pain, then you have to accept the things the pain caused. This is step two. The pain caused you to make poor choices and to potentially do some rotten things. Can you accept those as warped thinking? That's what they are. It's no different than what I just showed you in the crazy logic of "should'. The pain makes you warp your thinking to defend the pain. These hidden potholes trap you because you don't see them. You can't see them because you are too busy defending the pain.

To do this, I had to put my sword down. I had to stop defending myself against myself long enough to see things clearly. Maybe that's the simplest way to put it. I did my healing work solo in a room by myself. There was nothing happening in my external world in those moments. There was nothing outside of me to defend myself against. I recognized that even just temporarily, I could drop the sword long enough to look around and see what was happening. It didn't mean I couldn't pick it right back up. It just meant that I had to put it down while I was healing so that I could stop defending myself against the thing I was trying to heal.

Contrary to popular belief, the pain didn't overwhelm me when I did this. It had overwhelmed me many times in my life. Why? Because I was still defending myself against it when it came up. The pain itself isn't tiring. Do you know what is tiring? Arguing with it. Defending yourself against it. Trying to keep it buried. When I finally put down the sword and stopped doing those things, the pain just was. It was somewhat manageable at that point. I could actually handle it.

I realized I had been playing Hot Potato with a potato that wasn't hot. What was hot was my perception and my fear of the potato. The potato itself just was what it was, a lukewarm potato that I could manage easily. I didn't have to play that game anymore. It allowed me to stop defending myself against my own pain.

Accepting the pain allowed me to accept the actions that came from the pain. I didn't make it an excuse, it just offered me clarity. Why was I such a dumb train wreck? Because I was in pain and because I was defending myself against and arguing with things I didn't have the ability to change or control. That allowed me to drop the useless arguments and actually deal with the things that I really needed to deal with.

You see, a lot of this is just fighting with shadows unnecessarily. They aren't the real thing. They are just shadows of the real thing. If you were in an actual fight, you wouldn't fight with their shadow on the ground, you would fight with their physical being. Well guess what? The same is true with your pain. You have to deal with the pain, not the shadows the pain creates.

We call it shadow work and it's a bit of a misnomer. It gives you the idea that you need to get rid of the shadows. Well how do you get rid of a shadow? By removing the object that creates the shadow. Well, guess what you need to do? To deal with the shadow work, you have to deal with the thing that caused the shadow to form. What was that? Some sort of pain that you experienced and hung onto.

Shadows deform the original object and can often make things a lot more scary than they actually are. How many times in your life have you looked at a shadow and felt fear instantly because you didn't know what was creating the shadow? What if I told you that you were doing that with your pain too?

Shining a light on the pain will remove one shadow but it will probably create another. It's all about what you do with that when it happens. You have to focus on the original object. If you get distracted by the new shadow your attention is again taken away from what you need to be focusing on. That's why focus is important.

When you go to deal with pain, your immediate instinct is to relive the experience that put the pain there. Would it surprise you to know that I did not relive all the painful experiences I've had in order to heal them? I didn't have to do that because I didn't get distracted by emotions and stories that came up when I brought up the memory. I went looking for the original object. I did not get distracted by everything else. When I found the original object, I was able to deal with it much more easily. I realized the original object was a lukewarm potato and I was scared for no reason. The sword I had been carrying around was a little excessive. That poor potato didn't stand a chance.

You too are far bigger than the pain you think you're fighting against. Those shadows you're scared of, aren't telling you the truth. They aren't showing what's really there. You have to be willing to ignore the shadow to find the truth of the pain that you experience.

There's something I haven't talked about here at all. Do you know what it is? Forgiveness. I haven't mentioned it until now because at no point did I try to forgive myself or anybody else for anything. Here's why.

Forgiveness is a distraction because it focuses you on the wrong thing. I didn't focus on forgiveness. I focused on releasing pain and understanding what I was defending myself against. I focused on putting the sword down, not stabbing the potato with it. By focusing there forgiveness came naturally.

When you focus on forgiveness it makes you try to force things. You can't force this. For as much masculine energy as I have flowing through me, I can't force forgiveness. It happens naturally by healing pain. I shifted my focus away from all the distractions including shadows and this concept of forgiveness. By doing that I was able to heal me. It allowed me to forgive myself and everybody around me but it was a secondary process that came after I'd done all the other work.

Because it had happened as a result of all the healing that I'd done, it was more or less an unconscious process. I chose to make it a conscious process though and took the time to acknowledge the forgiveness that I had found. At that point I was all but admiring my own handy work and that's okay because it made forgiveness really easy to do.

What may surprise you is that I did all this early in the process. I didn't wait until I had all the clarity I have now because I couldn't. I wouldn't have been able to heal to the degree that I have if I had tried to do that. I needed to do it early to clear my own path. That meant I accepted the very limited clarity I had and made that enough for me to do the work to let myself and others off the hook.

It's likely that this is what blocks you too. This is probably the argument you're having with yourself. It's what causes all the fear, anxiety, and doubt. It's what causes you to run away and stay stuck. I get it. I also know that this is the thing you need to do first to clear your own path. You have to get out of your own way. Accept the limited clarity you have as enough. Stop being afraid of the shadows and go find all those lukewarm potatoes. I promise, the sword is excessive. You don't need all that armor. You can handle what you find. The potato is harmless.

If you can put down your sword long enough to reach out and ask for help, we can do this process together. I won't let the shadows bite you because I can see right through them. I'm on your team. I get it. I've done it. I've lived it. I'm willing to show you how to get to a better place. When you're ready, I'm here.

Love to all.