“You have Within you more love than you could ever understand.” ~Rumi
By Leo Babauta
Every day, I work with people trying to shift their habitual patterns: procrastination, avoidance, escape, reaching for comfort foods or other comforts like video games or watching videos, distraction, complaining, lashing out at others, ignoring problems, and more.
These habitual patterns show themselves whenever weâ€™re in uncertainty â€” which turns out to be most of the time. So weâ€™re in the uncertainty of our meaningful work, letâ€™s say â€¦ and hereâ€™s our old habitual pattern.
The usual way of dealing with the pattern is harshness: I donâ€™t like that I procrastinate, I need to do better, this is a failing of mine, itâ€™s such a harmful pattern, Iâ€™m screwing everything up so badly.
In other words, we use the pattern in the same way we use everything else â€” another way to beat ourselves up. Yet more evidence that something is wrong with us. That in itself is a habitual pattern, by the way.
I have a different way of dealing with habitual patterns, and I find it to be magical: treat it as if itâ€™s a friendly protective guardian.
Let me explain â€¦ letâ€™s imagine that our habitual pattern is a small, cute, but fierce protective guardian deity. It might look like one of these guardians:
This habitual pattern is a guardian you created to protect yourself, probably sometime when you were young. Maybe you needed the protection at the time â€” it was necessary and powerful. It saved you from something scary, harmful. It was a loving creation and it did its job well.
Of course, over the years, youâ€™ve still been reaching for this guardian, over and over, and itâ€™s not serving you anymore. In fact, itâ€™s getting in your way. Itâ€™s still fierce and protective, but you donâ€™t need it.
Let me repeat that: you donâ€™t need its protection anymore. You are much stronger, more capable, more resilient. You can deal with any perceived threat â€” failure, falling on your face, screwing up, not knowing how to do something, rejection. You are resilient and strong.
So with that knowledge, hereâ€™s how you might deal with your little lovable protective guardian deity:
Recognize your guardian deity as something that has served you with ferocity and love over the years. Thank your deity for its service.
Tell it that you donâ€™t need it anymore. That you are more powerful now, and can handle this. â€œI got this.â€
Set it aside, to be called upon if you ever do need it again.
Now take on the world, armed with your own power. Donâ€™t run, avoid, escape, complain, lash out or seek distraction or comfort â€¦ but instead take on the thing you fear. Powerfully. Armed with your magical heart. Driven by your love for those who you serve.
If youâ€™d like to train in this kind of fearlessness and purpose, check out my latest creation: