Every day, life presents us with opportunities to be free.
A lot of the time, though, we use these opportunities to lock ourselves up tighter.
We all experience signals from our bodies. We know the pain in our stomachs that tell us we need to eat. When we need to drink water, our mouths feel dry and maybe we get a headache. If we’ve stayed awake too long, our body tells us we need to sleep by slowing down, and maybe with nausea and eye twitches.
These signals are not pleasant. Our body gets our attention with discomfort and pain so that we will do what is good for us, what will ensure we maintain our health and carry on living.
But what about other signals?
What about when you feel a tight knot in the pit of your stomach when someone says something that triggers a painful memory?
What about when you feel a grip on your heart when you’re anticipating a difficult conversation with a loved one?
What about the lump in your throat when you have something to say?
What about the wall in your mind that won’t let you accept the validity of someone else’s opinion?
Like hunger, thirst, and exhaustion, these feelings signal a need. Yet we are often unwilling to fulfill these needs.
Instead, we label these feeling our issues or our baggage, and we shut down. To protect ourselves, we crawl inside ourselves and try to hide from the pain.
It never works though. Sooner or later, something triggers our issues and we get that signal again.
Life is constantly giving us opportunities to be free of our suffering. That’s what those signals really are.
We are meant to be healthy and carry on with our lives. When we say “No no no no no” to the lessons our body’s signals have to offer us, we put ourselves in a cage; we get stuck and we will continue spinning our wheels until we fulfill our need and move on.
The real issue isn’t our issues. We all know that everyone has their baggage. There’s only a problem when we believe that we aren’t meant to have our baggage.
Everything we have is ours for a reason. Our relationships and families, our faiths and cultures, our strengths and weaknesses, and even our issues and baggage.
It’s all part of our stories, our unique experiences of being a human. All of it is meant to push us on our individual paths. None of it is meant to shut us down. We do that of our own accord.
If we shut down when we experience that tightness in our gut, heart, throat, or mind, it is because we fear what will happen if we do what we need to do. We fear we will be rejected or abandoned. We fear we will fail. We fear we cannot handle what comes next.
We can’t control life. We can’t control other people’s responses. That’s not the point.
The point is, in life, we can either shut down or we can open up.
We can spin our wheels in a cage of our own making, or we can participate fully in life.
With every moment, life goes on. And we are meant to move on along with it.