The trap of avoidance
What do you avoid?
In October, shortly after moving into my current home, I started painting the main bathroom. It’s not a big bathroom, I spent maybe 90 minutes on it getting a basic first coat down.
And then I never finished it.
The truth is, I'm kind of a crappy painter. Painting takes attention to detail and precision, neither of which come effortlessly for me. And at the time of painting the bathroom I had also just finished painting my bedroom and dining room. So for as much as the bathroom needed a fresh coat of paint, I conveniently (and legitimately) found other things to focus on.
Unpacking all my boxes. Getting my herbal products ready for selling this holiday season. Organizing this old, neglected house so it didn’t feel so neglected. Oh, and working, coaching and doing life each day. That happened too.🙂
So I avoided painting because I thought it would save me energy, save me from facing the thing I dislike. I can just put my energy somewhere else and pretend that bathroom doesn’t exist. 🙄
But over the last few weeks the half painted bathroom has started to grate on me. Grating worse than the actual act of painting itself. It actually felt SO GOOD to paint. To let the energy move, to clear out all that had gotten gunked up from avoiding, which is a blockage of energy flow.
Like that feeling after you’ve eaten far too much sugar and junk and you eat vegetables for the first time after a long absence and it’s like whoa, this is a whole Different food party happening In my cells right now.
It was like that. Refreshing. Clearing. And so so much energy freed up that had been locked behind the avoidance and dread of painting. Which is what we all want for ourselves, the satisfaction and expansive feeling that comes from completing something, or reaching a goal. Especially as we head into the new year and consider our focus and set resolutions for this next year (which I suggest maybe you take a different route, which will be tomorrow's blog post).
That’s the thing about avoidance. It ties up so much of our energy pushing something away, turning our awareness off and rerouting all that attention and energy into other things, all the while the thing that REALLY needs to be attended to hangs out behind all your resistance.
So next time I catch myself doing this- and I recommend this to you too- let’s catch ourselves the first time we realize we’re avoiding and take baby steps toward giving that thing the attention it needs. I’m not talking grand heroic gestures here, because coming at the thing you’ve been avoiding is a bit like yo-to dieting- big swings of the yo-to aren’t what we need. What we need to counteract the discomfort that drives us to avoid is simple, gentle, CONSISTENT connection to that thing (painting, vegetables, what have you) so that we can show our little avoidant ego minds that it’s not so bad after all.
And in fact, the act of connection, rather than avoidance, builds energy. Builds vitality. Builds satisfaction and a stronger ground of power and well being.
So for this next year, particularly as we rotely set resolutions, try staying connected, rather than avoiding- in a real and genuine way. Not a big heroic yo-yo way. In a sustainable, generative, digestible way. You’ll be amazed how good it actually feels