28 Apr Going from performance pressure to celebrating life – Part 2
In the last post I published a 1-year old text about the performance pressure that has followed me all my life. Now one year later I can conclude that all this pressure is gone. I am simply totally relaxed, I only do the things I like to do and there is a playful joy in everything without me forcing myself…
NOT! I wish it was that simple…
I have been spending more time with Dhyan Vimal lately and he has showed me how deeply this disease goes into us humans. Pretty much all of us are taught that we have to add value to the world in order to be worthy. Already in school we are taught to compete for good grades. This gives one or a few winners and hundreds of failures.
Our parents (remember we all have parents, living or dead) and the society wants us to do certain things and we also believe we must or should do them. Instead Master Vimal said each of us had better find out the life we are here to live out. He gave us an exercise to write down 10 things I have to take a stand for in order to celebrate my life. At first I thought it was a tricky question. But then I felt into myself. What do I want to change in myself in order to just celebrate my life? This is of course very individual, feel free to write your own list. Here is mine:
- I do not need to have a bad conscience for anyone or anything
- I do not have to do anything for someone else’s sake
- I do not need to prove anything to anyone
- I do not need to search for love
- I do not have to chase after sex and hot girls
- I do not need to stress
- I do not need to tense myself in the body
- I do not have to force “the truth” on anyone
- I do not have to seek eye contact or any contact
- I do not need to worry about missing anything
I was quite surprised about the list. It was not a bunch of things I had to do in order to celebrate my life, it was only things I do NOT have to do. As long as I remember I have had this voice inside me telling me; I must deliver, I must make the most out of the day, I must be a success. I guess it comes from a fear of failure, a fear that I am not worthy if I fail. But then success and failure are just ideas, ideas put on us by someone else.
Master Vimal said that this list of things can step by step be transformed into only one statement and that a very powerful exercise would be to live that out for one year. For me it got quite obvious my 10 statements could easily boil down into one:
I don’t have to do anything!
“That sounds like a selfish asshole!”, someone might think. For me it is not like that. It is a change in my internal attitude, a shift in how I look upon myself and why I am here. It is a response to that voice in my head telling me I should do this or that in order to impress my parents, have something to be proud of or just be valuable to the world. I have made this into a promise to myself. Whenever I manage to remember that I actually don’t have to do anything there is a great relaxation happening to me.
Perhaps this is not for people who are already lazy, but they would have a different list of 10 above. I think it is important to make clear that this does not necessarily lead to me being more passive. I can use this blog post as an example. I normally have a voice telling me that I must make sure to write at least one blog post every week. Otherwise I am too lazy, the readers will not be able to count on me and so on. Now with my new rule I don’t start writing because the voice says I should. Instead I stop all activity, perhaps take a deep breath and recognize that once again I don’t have to do anything. This creates an immediate opening in my heart. I feel lighter, happier and sometimes also self love. I am happy for no other reason then being myself, without adding value to the world – without adding anything at all. From that space I am able to give more of myself to others, because it is happening rather than me doing it.
Simultaneously I also become more creative. I am writing this now not because I must, but because it actually feels good writing. It kind of happened. And since it is not something I have to do, I am not as worried about the outcome. “Is it smart enough, will there be any readers, how to advertise it?”… Those thoughts do not get the same strong grip over me when I am trying to live after this rule – I don’t have to do anything.
Another example could be that the sun is shining when I wake up and I instantly believe I have to get up and do something with that day, not to miss out. But maybe I actually feel like just staying in bed, hugging the one I am sleeping with or just enjoying meditation for an hour. Then suddenly I get an impulse to get up and it happens by itself, from a nice, open and energized space – rather than me pushing.
I believe this can be applied in many situations. What about you? Do you also have a voice inside telling you that you should do things all the time? Try out doing the opposite. Maybe 5 minutes later you’ll find yourself doing nothing, or doing something else, or actually doing what the voice first told you to do. But now you’ll be enjoying yourself, not forcing yourself.