poetry, yoga

Snared In The Jaws Of Should.

Photo credit: rent-a-moose / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: rent-a-moose / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

I should be getting up and getting dressed.

I should be preparing to start my to do list,  getting my ass in gear, getting going on creating the life I want.

I should be writing, being creative. I should finish that project I am working on for someone else. I should just write my fucking book already.

I should be doing Yoga, going for a jog, or preparing healthy foods so I can pay more attention to what I eat. I should be trying.

I should have more time, more money, more energy, more ambition, more focus.

I should be hustling. I should be in motion.

I should be doing something about this.

I should be grateful. I should be satisfied with all I already have.

I should get out there and network with people. I should have confidence and be charming, be pleasant and polite, but also meek and humble, gracious and kind.

I should keep a perfect house and raise perfect children, work full-time to help support my family, look stunningly pulled together every waking moment, and still find time for exercise so I can be a size 5 someday.

I should balance all my responsibilities as well as coordinate the schedules of multiple others and always be punctual, efficient, effective and polite. I should lead but defer to others, be honest but not show emotion publicly and somehow, amidst all this, be creative and genuine and heartfelt and real.

shouldn’t be confused. But I am. (How can a person not be in this head space?)

Sometimes I feel like I live my life in a constant spiral of conflicting roles.

Although I think it’s healthy, even important, to have ambition, this crazed notion of trying to be everything all at once pushes me sometimes from going after what I actually want for myself into pursuing what other people think I should be, or what I think they want me to be.

I get so tired physically, but I also tire of all the mad confusion created as my dreams become tainted and tarnished by the world around me, this drive for achievement, and the desire to make everybody happy all the time.

What about my happiness that gets lost in this maniacal process? How subtle the shift from my self-imposed shoulds to those of others!

Many of us live our lives in this way. We spend much of our time trapped inside our own heads, wanting more for ourselves, but still trying with all our might to please and placate others.

We search for things that don’t exist, like additional hours in each day so we have more to work with as we try to be everything to everyone. We get overwhelmed by every task or demand having a sense of urgency attached to it.

We become martyred by our good intentions and smothered by the well-meaning advice of those around us. The irony is that we long for someone else to help or to show us where to start in reordering our lives when the very cause of our dilemma is that we already give our power away.

Photo credit: Umberto Fistarol / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: Umberto Fistarol / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

In my quest to rescue myself from the Tower of Despondency, I discovered this hidden truth about myself and my pack of wild heroines:

Each of us longs to create, to feel alive and vibrant, but that isn’t something that we’re able to do when we’re stressed out, tired or resentful.

These shoulds created by others are sentries guarding against our escape from the Tower, blocking the path between us and happiness. It’s time to outwit them with the spell book of self-care and reclaim our power to decide who we are and what we need.

It’s time to let out a wild howl and declare our dreams and desires as valid and powerful in their own right and take back our time using fierce love.

Even though we might think we know where (and who) each of these jackals are, they are insidious and relentless, conspiring to claim the territory in our hearts as their own every time we try and take a step forward.

Be mindful of these predators as you rush away from that Tower and toward your freedom. Don’t let the opinions of others and the desire to please them cause you to trip, fall and be devoured.

Flee from the shoulds that confine your spirit, as if your life depended on it, as if you were being chased because, if you don’t, your one life will be lost on the fickle judgments of others, your soul lost to the whims and wants of the masses.

Let the beating of your heart as you run breathe fire into your being and fuel your creativity and desire for something better.

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I’ll be waiting for you, my sisters, in the woods.

*****

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