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Why Is It So Hard to Spend One Whole Day Carefree?
It should Be Easy
I am actually in quite a friendly mood, so don't take me literally as I say how I am not about to save any punches, or duck from them myself for the same matter, while asserting that this challenge is a sort of degrading to us humans.
I hope you recognize those punches as I am proceeding, however, for a little hint, it's quite some wonder that we should find it challenging to spend one single day allowing ourselves a complete peace of mind from anything that appears to be a stressor in our life.
Please note that I said "allow ourselves", for, as we are about to see, those apparent stressors by themselves are totally powerless to do a number on our mood - it's all of our own make. Nothing short of a physical violence - from those unfriendly microbes, chemicals, bad foods, or someone kicking our ass - should be able to affect us in a negative way.
Our Bodies Know How - so why Don't We?
Let us see what mechanism in our nervous system would be involved in such an "outlandish" task. Do we really need some gradual conditioning with help of a special technique suggested by all those "relaxation gurus" on the market - or we could recognize that ability as already functional in our daily, or better - nightly routine.
Namely, every night we repeat the same routine of falling asleep to give ourselves some hours of uninterrupted sleep. Even we old-timers with less than perfect plumbing manage to sleepwalk from toilet back to that cozy, warm, and enchanting bed to drift back into oblivion, as if nothing happened. We may even continue with the same dream.
Now, have any of you folks ever asked yourself how that scenario of a total surrender compares to our daily being pissed off at life in all of its variations? I mean really. From the moment we wake up, many of us instantly dig out all those reasons from the day before - or years before - to spoil that relaxed feeling. As if now we have to mobilize all our defenses and summon all our generals to work out a strategy plan how to survive yet another day.
At those very moments after waking up our challenge should start with the realization how all the night through the same "problems" existed, and we nonchalantly pushed them aside to enjoy our whole eight hours of resting.
Who is really preventing us from continuing to relax our minds - while merely going through the motions of those activities which are mostly repetitions of something that we know how to do by heart?
Wound Up for Stress Response
What kind of sacrifice would it take on our part to accept this challenge of squeezing enough self-compassion from our stingy hearts to leave ourselves alone for one single day? As if out of some dark passion, we keep tormenting ourselves with appearances and behaviors around us, even borrowing those from another part of the world.
That also goes on those "better" days when nothing in particular gives us such a dark inspiration, like during holidays or parties - we just have to notice something "wrong", if for no other reason but to stay loyal to ourselves and our played-in ways.
I am not going to use the word more than this once, but "theoretically" speaking - if we could succeed to stay that one day completely oblivious to all stressors of our life without slipping back, the big chances are that our nervous system would be successfully re-trained for a carefree inner reality.
But even though such an achievement could only be possible in that word which I promised not to repeat, in practice we could still enormously benefit from that experience. We would have created a new pattern of being which would be easy to repeat in the days and years after.
You see, it's hard to start something in our minds for which we don't have a reference in our memory bank. For, in all likelihood most of us forgot from our childhoods what it felt like being carefree. We can merely recall it intellectually, but not bring it back as an experience. Too many layers of stressed out adulthood are pushing down the emergence of that blessed state of being.
Even only moments after making love, which in itself should be a total unloading of the life's burden, we quickly pick up all pieces of life's drama to continue where we left it off.
A Much Smarter Zebra
At least some of you may be wondering by now for how much longer I am going to mock the human race without offering some solution to it all. O.K., thank you for patience, there really is a simple and easy way to go on with accepting the challenge.
It is not a special "technique", but more of something very familiar that we can all relate to. However, let me give it a name as if it was a technique - I call it "dropping". Remember the time when you misplaced your car keys and you were already running late?
After so much cursing yourself for negligence and a frantic search, you finally found them - and that sensation of a sudden relief I call "dropping". Your nervous system just dropped the whole emotional charge allowing you to move on with your daily activities as if nothing had happened.
In a much milder form "dropping" is happening naturally in the dynamics of our experiencing, as we shift from one daily situation to another. We don't have to do it intentionally at all, it comes natural not to bring the same frame of mind of, let's say, driving your car into getting out of it and greeting a co-worker at the company parking lot.
My favorite illustration of dropping is involving a zebra, which, after winning a race for its life with a lion continues to peacefully graze as if nothing has happened - even not very far from the lying down and heavily panting beast that gave it up. Why can't we be cool like zebras, we wouldn't even have any lions to outrun.
Dropping Is Not Suppressing
Well, that's how easy the challenge may turn out to be - from the moment you wake up you can keep dropping the emotional load while saving only what is feeling good. Now, let's be a little more specific about what it qualitatively feels like to "drop". It's nothing like "suppressing". Remember my example with lost keys? You certainly didn't have to "suppress" anything after finding them. It was a sense of a relief, and dropping is to be of the same kind.
As your day of the challenge is progressing, you will have noticed something incredibly useful : everything is droppable, and very often it doesn't take more than a shift in attention. Someone said it right: "Whatever we give attention to - it grows stronger in us". Just by shifting it to something else we cut the energy supply to the unwanted emotion. It's all really that simple. Of, course, we could make it much more complicated than that - but why?