imagesA lot has been happening on the self-discovery, personal growth, soul and spirit front in the last few months.  A roller coaster for sure.  Illuminating, sobering, exciting, and I’m happy to say, deeply transformative!

The most recent chunk of work was around my habitual pattern of agitation — packing too much in, long to-do lists, a sense of drivenness… I’m frequently rushing, get all worked up about which of the many projects — personal, household, environmental, social, literary, self-improvment — to focus on.  Yikes!

In a recent post, Who’s in Charge?, I wrote about the tension between my head and my heart… how the agitation frequently comes when my head (brain, thinking, rational part) tries to run the show exclusively.

Inquiring further, I have discovered that my experience in this area can be seen as a continuum.  At the one end, there is complete relaxation, utter stillness. At the other end, there is driven, manic, frenetic agitation.

Complete stillness, except in meditation (and rarely even then), is not a common experience for me.  That’s OK.  It’s not my bag this round; I’m not living my life in a cave.  Different strokes for different folks 🙂

images-1When I move in a bit from that extreme though, I find a very peaceful place that feels like a gently rolling ocean, it has a silky softness.  There’s a flow, an ease — good for my body, mind, and spirit.  No doubt.

It’s not the primary place I hang out, but still, at least it’s familiar, and I know it’s always there, accessible, and I do spend much more time there than a while ago; it’s much better known to me than it used to be.

At the other end, moving in from the unconscious, frenetic, driven place (which is clearly yucky and unhealthy), I found a place where it felt like Popcorn :-).  By that I mean, I experienced a way of being that is energetic, bubbly, exciting.  Busy and active, yes, but not over the edge.  I feel enthusiastic, engaged, connected, involved.  In short, it’s enjoyable.  I feel like I’m efficient in this mode.  (I’m not sure this is true, but that’s another essay…  I’m often multi-tasking, which is of dubious value, but at least I don’t lose myself completely to the activity.)  I remember to breathe, and can switch gears if needed.  My Popcorn mode seems relatively healthy, and certainly very familiar.

OK.  So here’s what I discovered.  When I slide over on the continuum, “Beyond Popcorn”, so to speak, it’s no longer fun.  Wowser!  That’s a big item for me, as a 7 on the Enneagram!  (The Dalai Lama is supposedly a 7!)  Fun and pleasure are high on the priority list for us 7s.  I found out that when I move Beyond Popcorn, it is actually not only driven and frantic; it is NOT FUN.   That was a giant Ah Ha moment.

I’ve always felt a bit defensive about my energetic mode… my husband doesn’t enjoy it, it’s said not to be spiritual to be so very busy you go unconsious…  Well, yes, maybe.  Those are others’ judgements and values.  But when I found out that it’s not any fun for ME, that was a real pop! 🙂

UnknownI smile as I write this, and can feel the settling, and gratitude for the pleasure and richness of the personal journey, of BECOMING more aware of our habitual patterns… increasing our capacity for simply being in touch with our Ground, our Source.

It’s not that Silk, or the rolling ocean, is now my home base all the time.  Still, I have a real cue and clue when I am moving, or have moved, Beyond Popcorn.  A light has dawned.  It’s a new day 🙂  And it’s also good stroke prevention!

Do you relate to the Silk – Popcorn, Relaxation – Tension, continuum?  Where do you spend your time?  What are your stuck places and where do you tend to go unconscious?  I’d love to hear your comments and observations.

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook :-)

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