An Anti-Escapist Courage Salve
Water (Winter's element) is a masterclass in escape. She disappears as steam only to reemerge across the road as rain. Water is genius at slipping out and away. For better or worse, she invented “ghosting, and without her, there's no magic, no mystery.
When water can’t find a way out, she simply goes in . . . into the earth, the air, the roots of whatever wants more movement, more freedom.
Water can teach us to escape the unfulfilling and evaporate overwhelm- especially when it comes to our most dearly held dreams. She teaches us to pay attention to what we're absorbed in.
“Dream paralysis,” often disguised as overwhelm, is that moment when we come face to face with the mountain of effort required to achieve something meaningful to us . . . and we get flooded, or we freeze, or we just want to go hide in the comfort of our covers and Netflix…
It's often around this time of year, after the New Year's excitement and resolve has settled and we step into the actual work, that we hit moments of real overwhelm or fatigue.
Dream paralysis is not about lack of self-worth or even your ability. It’s a natural challenge along the path to freedom. It’s a much-needed eddy in the river of your life, a breather in which to reconnect, soulfully and strategically, with your highest why, and conjure the next dose of both trust and realism needed to move you forward.
It's a good moment to ask with radical honesty- is my schedule filled with activities that are true “needle-movers”? This is an important distinction, because it’s easy to get distracted from the steps that are truly going to move our dreams ahead.
But often, when the dream gets big and scary, we do the exact opposite. Instead of consciously slowing down, we unconsciously slow down (or speed up) and activities that now and again are relieving become (when the minutes and hours add up) huge distractions from what we're capable of.
Some common ones include: crappy television, social situations that don’t really nourish us, too much time on social, becoming the resident martyr, partying, "shoulding" all over ourselves, a steady diet of bad news or -most ubiquitously- obsessive imaginings. These are those "tasks" or meanderings that seem associated with our dream but are actually a distraction from moving forward. They may be needed but are not the true needle-movers.
Visualization is active, hope-based dreaming. Escapism is passive, fear-based dreaming.
I hope you will be so compassionate about your fears, and so vigilant about your dreams, no matter what they are. The ways you tend to escape are, in and of themselves, clues into how you're doing inside.
Soothing ourselves, loving ourselves, and finding time to unwind and daydream is incredibly human and important. Only we can decide if an activity is escapist. Truly- it can be a thin line between escapism and active dreaming (see my post on this).
Below are 5 questions to ask regularly to help strike that balance between the dream, its realization and the need to be like water… and escape!
Weekly Anti-Escapist Courage Salve:
Write out your core dream(s) in detail. What do you want to happen?
What is currently scaring you about this dream? What do you not know how to do? (Often, we go into escapism when we simply don’t know how to proceed/are lacking a skill. Name it).
What support or education would help evaporate this fear or skill-gap?
What 1-2 hour block of time this week will you dedicate to seeking out this support or skill?
What will be your guilt-free, intentional, pleasurable escape or self-care indulgence this week?
Filling the Well: An Anti-Escapist Reading List:
The Wisdom of No Escape
Clear Water: Nourishing the Creative Life
(Chapter 10, Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola-Estes)
The Auto/biographies of people you admire.
Have something to add to this list? Hop on down to the comments below and please share your wisdom & recommendations with us!
Is this your year? Are you ready to fully embody your dreams and make -not a little- but BIG movement on the next chapter of your life & work?
My name is Amanda Young. I’m a Transformative Business & Mindset Coach. Take an hour and RiseUp with me. I can’t wait to hear your story & offer you deep, professional insights from my 15+ years as a conscious entrepreneur, spiritual teacher & feminist changemaker. There’s no obligation. Just a desire to actualize your dreams, and soon.
I look forward to talking with you.