The Weight Of The World: Transforming Discontent Into Thoughtful Action

Kim Johancen, Licensed Professional Counselor on Sep 10, 2020 in Mood and Feelings

I can't shake this feeling that I need to speed up, but recognize the pull backwards, as I simultaneously feel the need to slow down. There is a stickiness to this that seems to amplify the feeling of unrest that I think is as pervasive, as it is universal, for human beings everywhere. Although feeling the pull in both directions is difficult, we have the ability to manage all of it.

The speeding up comes from the need to get on with things. Figuring out what this means in our present climate, and what is being referred to as the "new normal," has been challenging. The chatter in our minds that we try to outrun, that noise we all know intimately (and perhaps privately), that compels us to do more, and to be more, seems to be getting louder as we shelter in place, cancel trips, and peek through the curtains at a world that is the old familiar, but now feels alien. It is a world that we feel has betrayed us, but it is also a world that screams back at us, because we were the ones that betrayed it first. Feeling stuck, holding quite literally, the weight of the world, we remain closed for now. But the chatter tells us we need to get moving again.

I understand the experience of discontent.  As humans, the drive to build, and rebuild, flows freely from this type of emptiness, but it is also a feeling that can prompt growth even as it weighs us down. Feeling like we can do more, and be more, is what nudges us forward. But it is also something that has to be held gently, with compassion for ourselves, and also for those around us. The drive to be better can be powerful, but requires thoughtful action if we are going to successfully dig our way out, versus digging deeper in. Although there are many techniques and strategies to quell the thirst, movement is what sustains us, and has since the beginning. Recently, a client of mine discussed how she slips into self-deprecation only when she has nothing planned, does not have a project to work on, or activities to keep her occupied. Although we have to tend to balance always, I believe that movement has been her antidote. She understands herself along with her nature.

As human beings, we are supposed to feel discontent, but with movement hindered by the state of things, it may at times feel unbearable. Find creative ways to grow, move, and process your experience. Complete small tasks. We live in a world that wants us to find our way, and this is possible. Inspiration is literally everywhere. It stands strongly in the challenges we have overcome, and is sparked by the kindness of others every day. Inspiration lives in, and outside our walls, but without awareness, it can remain hidden in plain sight. This, of course, brings me back to the moment. Because here, I can reflect on the direction I am headed along with what inspires it. Standing still, at least for a moment, gives me the opportunity to make sure that every step I take is in line with where I want to go.

In this vein, I understand the importance of slowing down. It is not a pull backwards, but rather one that promises to help us move forward in a way that feeds us all. Being mindful of what we are doing keeps us in a state of gratitude, and also reminds us to tend to the world around us, and the people she sustains. Keep going, but remain thoughtful as you do. Savor the beauty that resides in your home, and is most certainly there outside your window. The world continues to move on her axis regardless of the things that happen. How fast she moves is not the point.

Clear Reflections

What inspires you? How can you give yourself a daily dose of inspiration?

How do you experience discontent? Where do you feel it in your body? What thoughts or behavior do you engage in that help you move through feeling discontent?

What does balance mean to you? How can you create habits that are in line with your definition of balance?

What are your goals? What steps can you continue to take to reach them? How will you mark progress?

Have faith. Keep going.

Kim Johancen is a Therapist in Lakewood, CO.
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