Dr. Shelly’s SOULreflections
(Reflections that emerged from my SOULquote meditation)
Its not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.
I’ve been a bit down this week. Coming back from my recent week-long silent retreat brought me back into ongoing contact with email, deadlines, commitments, and exposure to my triggers. It was truly liberating to not have my cell phone and be largely in silence, not talking for a week! Since I’ve been back there are moments where I have felt overwhelmed and “burdened” by the loads in my life. I’ve been working through these reactions, reconnecting with the insights and wisdom from the retreat, reminding myself of things I “know” (but sometimes forget in the day-to-day of life), and freeing myself to be in the love and the peace and the joy that is always available.
Here’s what I know. I have the capacity to pause and tune-in to awareness of what is going on in myself and my situations. I have choices of what I do with the awareness that emerges. When I am aware, I can then see more clearly how I am carrying my loads– how I am carrying them in my body, my mind, my heart, and my soul. Once I see what is happening, I can make some choices on what I carry and how I carry it. And each moment gives the opportunity to make a choice, sometime a small choice and sometimes a big choice.
I can shift the load through reassessing and rearranging priorities. I can give myself a rest, take a break from the carrying. I can put some of the load down and come back to get it later; I don’t have to carry everything simultaneously. I can reduce the accumulation of more stuff in my load through the empowered and wise use of “no”. I can soothe the pain of a heavy load by engaging in things that bring me joy and peace. I can share the load by asking for help or expressing my experiences, thoughts, and feelings. I can refrain from holding the load so tightly and loosen my grasp on it. I can release the fear of dropping the load. I can stop carrying loads that are not my own or that have been placed upon me without my consent. And much more.
We all have loads. Some externally imposed and some loads that we carry internally. Some loads have been with us for a very long time. We may not always be able to change certain circumstances in our lives immediately. And we certainly cannot control or change other people. Some loads we choose to carry because of how they may align with our values, goals, and convictions, or because they provide larger benefits or fulfillment. But we can work on carrying any load in a different way. We can carry the load differently in our mind, heart, body and soul. And when we carry it differently, we often are freed up to actually change the contents of the load in incredible ways.
You are more than your burdens, more than what you are carrying from your past. You are more than the stress and situations of your life. You are more than other people’s definitions and projections. You can reclaim the life-enhancing parts of yourself and your capacity to experience life beyond the loads you carry. This actually creates more space and clarity to manage stress more wisely and effectively. So, before the load breaks you down, stop to become more conscious of how you are carrying it, and recognize that you CAN carry it differently.
(For Contemplation and Conversation)
How are you carrying your load? How are you carrying it in your body? in your mind? in your heart? in your soul?
“I will choose how I carry my load.”
(Close your eyes and repeat slowly and silently now.
Let the words penetrate your SOUL. Repeat this affirmation throughout the week.)
In Peace, Love, and Soulfulness,
Dr. Shelly Harrell