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The art of giving up

Truth is, this is very controversial advice. Bodily, feels also like a balloon slowly deflating. This has been, though, over the last few years a big lesson for me - which of course I keep forgetting only to remember when I’m in deep shit - that till now I kept to myself, wondering why am I doing it, imagining other people might benefit and resonate with this simple life skill.

Pop culture educates individuals to stick to the plan. To keep pushing against all odds. (Watch out for the movie hero who gets to reach the dream-whatever using ultimate stubbornness) To live a target oriented life and only change our mind when numbers / logic / our silly head / our employer says that’s the reasonable thing to do. But what happens when it is for big decisions? You know, those who can determine our human experience for a reasonable amount of time, or forever?

Well, let’s start with the ones who are not so important and life-determining. Let’s say, this person studied, got the right job finally landed, already gained some experience and their professional future seems promising. From time to time though, they notice feelings of dissatisfaction (I hope they do notice them actually). Could also be a permanent sense of boredom, fractions of meaninglessness, lack of purpose, lack of free time, overwhelm by stress, being treated unfairly, you name it. If they are successful enough to keep themselves busy the whole time with activities outside of work, this little voice from inside will not have much space to express itself. Maybe it will creep in when they lay in bed, ruin their holidays, or engage their whole physiology into the game of making them pay attention, like providing them with the company of insomnia, fatigue and other unpleasant phenomena.

Still, they have to carry on because - insert your reasons here - (don't get me wrong, all of them are valid) They might have just moved into a flat where they finally live on their own and it is rather pricey. Or it could be that they are paying back student loans. Or they just want to get married, just got a baby, or whatever it is that pushes them into the direction of the safe income that they have secured and away from the direction of any alternative thought.

So they keep doing their best under the circumstances. They tell themselves that dissatisfaction in some parts of life is normal in order to move forward with others. (Actually it is) The question is, which of the challenges is worth enduring and for how long.

We get to choose our struggles because not everybody is the same. The struggles of building your own company would be devastating for a person who just wants enough free time to spend with their loved ones. We get to choose our challenges based on what we want in life. Getting confused and losing track from time to time is totally normal. What happens though, when things get moving to some direction we find ourselves suffocating in? This can be a paralyzing experience. Yes, acceptance of a situation is a great skill one can have in navigating this shitshow called life on earth. Yet, there is a fine balance between accepting what is and throwing your life to the tigers for lunch, for the sake of - insert another reason here -.

Best case scenario they will live a comfortable lifeless life, which they won’t even realise how it moulds them into a calculating machine, with glimpses of happiness in the form of pills prescribed by your GP or, you know. Internet, porn, alcohol, overworking, sex, substances, deep fried chicken wings etc. They will probably live totally disconnected from who they are, even in basic everyday terms. Like, what music do they like or what they like to eat, if they like forest hikes more than beach holidays etc. They will feel a certain amount of feelings and sensations in a 10% in comparison with what they actually could feel when present inside them. They will keep functioning like a good robot, but is this really why all the 7 billions of us are here?

Actually, now thinking about it, we are so privileged to even be in a place to ask those questions and make different choices at any moment that I want to bang my head (like the bird above) against the wall. We live in the so-called developed world where (most) people have access to education, state support and we can go as far as our imagination or our bank account can take us. There are many opportunities, which we are so used to having, that we take for granted. There are (some billions) of people who between birth and death, they only work to bring food (maybe) everyday on the table, without anyone caring how they will manage it. They reproduce and lose half of those kids from (rather common) diseases, lack of nutritious food, accidents while working illegally and more. So please, we can do better than what we are currently doing with our lives. (Please travel more often and not in fancy areas with Western comfort standards)

Worst case scenario, they will start experiencing more and more of those feelings of dissatisfaction, loneliness, vanity, scarcity, which can lead to all sorts of mental and physical imbalances. Chronic pains nobody can tell them where they steam from or how to get relieved from, migraines, digestive issues, to name a few and avoid the rough ones to not be a catastrophist. Anxiety, depression, more pills, more rehabilitation, therapy to find answers sitting there in front of them. Should anyone bear this cost because they have invested themselves when they were younger in studies and work that does not benefit them as individuals? Well, I do not want to engage in trivial discussions. Yes, giving up in the face of adversity is not a useful life advice, as many times we need to push through certain hardships and obstacles to get where we want and need to find ourselves. Hardship should no way be avoided. Pain and suffering, when sitting with them with an open mind and heart are invaluable teachers. No one would be who they are today without all the lessons they got from overcoming challenges. The question is, which challenges are worth pushing through, which are not, and how far should someone go in order to understand where they stand and if going further down this path, will be of their benefit.

Questions to reflect on if you are in similar situation while focusing on your bodys’ response (monitor sensations of contraction, expansion, temperature, smaller, bigger, opening, closing, tightening, lengthening, restriction, ease, softening, hardening, to name a few)

  1. What are my criteria in terms of a successful career

  2. What are the values I want my career path to represent and reflect

  3. How my choice has served me so far, what have I gained

  4. What can I do to influence the existing frame towards a more aligned to my values and criteria direction

  5. Am I able to accept and go on with things exactly as they are, in case nothing can change?

  6. How am I protecting myself from the fear of uncertainty?

Write them down, sit with them, walk or dance with them, do whatever fits you the most. When clarity has been established, ask yourself whether it is time to move full forward in the known direction or start letting go.

By letting go, I would not imply that you throw a bomb and make a 180 degree turn. (unless it’s your calling) What I mean, that it is the time to start detaching yourself from the identity you have built around your roles in order to imagine and start moving towards a direction that will serve you as a whole. For who you are today. Your talents, your values, your needs.

Although I am a big enthusiast of Tao and all the teaching around non-attachment, I need to steadily keep in contact with them in order not to completely lose sight of my own attachments. Because we are just humen. Because our brain is wired in this way (creating attachments and building identity around given roles) to help us remain safe by creating the illusion of safety and predictability. Oh boy how much easier it sounds that it is done!

Here lies a big difference among folks who meditate and those who haven’t yet met the benefits of this practice. Actually mindfulness meditation helps a person gain clarity by unravelling the thread between not only being and doing, but as well as between being (observing awareness) and personality (automatic responses, reactions, thought patterns, attachments, fixations, stories of the past, ideas for the future). If by reading the word meditation you imagined a person in rigid lotus position, this is already a fixated idea you are holding. :)

If you feel like giving it a try but have no clue where to start, there is good news. Yoga studios, Buddhism Centers, Podcasts, Books (and audio books) and many worthwhile apps are available. Make it fit to your schedule and preferences. (You are always welcome to send me a message for recommendations)

By learning when you have done and said it all and it is time to re-orientate and re-calibrate you will do yourself a big favour. Signs that you have reached this point could be:

  • Feelings of being stuck and in a dead end path

  • Feeling lost, clueless, disempowered and that somehow life goes on with you not actively participating

  • Feeling stagnated, like a motor without fuel

  • Permanent sense of tiredness, lack of motivation, of making good thoughts about yourself and your future

  • Feelings of shame and unworthiness

  • Knowing something has to change but don't know what or where to start from

You will boost your self esteem and self worth by learning to preserve your vital energy from situations that do not benefit you, or don’t serve you any more. You will limit the amount of suffering people usually feel when stuck in life, when feeling not appreciated, rewarded, seen, wanted, belonging, fit in. And this pain is real. Bodily, our brains’ pain receptors cannot differentiate between pain from a deep cut or from being alienated from ones’ self.

Same goes for relationships. Some of us vibe, some don’t, some used to vibe but something is off lately, some want to make it vibe but it does not seem to work. We might not even be able to put it in words. There is just this deep gut knowing that points to someone and goes, u-uh. The relationships I found the most challenging to end, were the ones who were seemingly good enough. I spent time hanging with people I didn’t really feel connected and resonating with and being in this relationship that was healthy but not fulfilling. Thankfully, I stayed long enough in these -ships to learn what I know today. The game changer was tuning into my body. Dissatisfaction, disconnection. Cold. Tight. As a person who highly values the open channel between my head and heart, I started to notice that my heart was getting mute some periods of time, because (now I know) I was engaging with people and activities that were just not right for me. Also was noticing my vitality flatten, my appetite for anything that makes me feel alive getting less and less.

When the heart is mute, it means that we have moved away from ourselves for whatever reason. When it comes to relationships again similar questions apply:

  1. What are my needs around friendship / intimacy / family relations / work relations?

  2. What are my core values and criteria when it comes to this type of relation-ship?

  3. What does healthy, respectful relating mean for me?

  4. Which of my needs / values are met in the existing frame? Which are not?

  5. How do I imagine a life that is aligned with my truths, needs, dreams? How about the other member/s of the relationship?

  6. Can I use some of these insights to influence the relationship to a direction that allows me to feel more fulfilled, whole, honoured, seen, taken care of?

  7. Which fears surface if I sit with the image of this relationship having ended?

Just take it from there. Let the old skin be shaded. The dreams to break. The pain of what you thought your life would be today in comparison with the truth. Be honest with yourself. Do not rush. These layers do not dissolve in a day. Give yourself permission to embark on the re-membering journey. Where more and more of your pieces (members) who make you who you are, without duality (good - bad) are coming to sit together, with loving awareness of one another. That is a fertile space where great decisions are born.

Learning to give up, even on a project we have been putting time, effort and money into, does not represent us at all anymore. Chapters end. Cycles come into completion. Seasons change and trees go naked before fully blossoming again and again. There is so much force in this liberation. So much grace and moving forward energy. Yes, we can still be unsure and afraid and walk step by step to our truth's calling.

Do your best to talk, try, change and re-educate around whatever possible to change if your heart says that it is not too late for the glass pieces to be put back together. That someone -a an expert- can be of help.

Whatever you do, in the end will be the right thing. From getting stuck for years and years you will learn and grow. From living lovingly towards yourself and your environment also you will learn. Keep your mind on those questions, reflect, align. Then surrender with grace, knowing you are on the right path, for now.

If, on this journey you feel like you need a co-traveler, one that points you back into what matters for you and reminds you to remember, book a 30’ consultation with me and experience whether body oriented coaching can be a valuable tool for your unique journey.



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