Climbing Back On The Wagon: On How To Overcome Obstacles

(im)possibleThe ego is a mighty opponent. I come to this conclusion every day. That thing that we experience as ‘myself’, that thing that manufactures thoughts and feelings and draws conclusions that seem logical and natural but turns out to be quite conditioned by people and circumstances when we take a closer look; that thing doesn’t even back off when we catch it red-handed.

Have you ever promised yourself to do something that you know is good for you but you don’t? Eat less sugar, drink less coffee or wine, work out more often or meditate daily? And you had bouts were you did and you felt amazing? But then, after some time, you wake up and find yourself one the same couch, watching the same numbing tv shows feeling that all too familiar feeling of being energy drained after another demanding and stressful workday. As if nothing has changed.

There is a new episode of the 100 Day Warrior in progress. Actually they are at Day 30 already. And there are 3 groups instead of just one. Yeah yeah, the Basic Goodness Warrior Project is expanding! I’m quite proud of these developments, I must admit. At the same time I must also admit that for the first time since I started blogging in 2010 I neglected my blog. I fell off the blogging wagon!

Now I can add another notch in my belt as this is a new wagon for me. Earlier I have felt off the work out 3-4 times per week wagon, the meditate daily wagon and the clean eating wagon. Now that I come to think of it, there are wagons that I hardly spent time on. The work disciplined wagon, the plan ahead wagon and the don’t give a fuck about what other people think of me wagon see me seldom, if ever. But I am digressing.

The reason that I so much resonate with the word ‘warrior’ is that it seems to me that we have to conquer all the wagons we have the right to be on. It takes some effort, some courage and some dedication to climb back on the wagon. There is some idea that we have to apologize for having fallen off, there is some embarrassment. Climbing back on the wagon feels kind of naked because you now know you can fall off.

The theme of this week is overcoming obstacles. Participants learn to move toward the obstacles the mind is presenting to them and to feel into them. A meditation practice is an excellent strategy to reveal your obstacles. Just sit on your cushion for a while and you will feel bored, your legs will start hurting and your mind will be all over the place. Just staying on your spot will become increasingly hard. If you stay focused on avoiding that is. But you have a choice. You can choose to dive into whatever your mind-body system presents you. You can merge with the obstacle. And then you will find your obstacle dissolves.

More often than not you will find fear when you honestly look at why you are not performing wholesome habits. ‘What is scary about eating healthy food?’ you might think. That is not scary at all. But taking care of yourself also implies that you like yourself and that you are worthy of care and effort. This in itself is already quite a vulnerable realization. It is easier to give yourself a break from making an effort. And another break. And another break. And then you start feeling guilty and you have to somehow justify your unhealthy behavior. You will create reasons and excuses to keep the pattern alive. Breaking the pattern implies that you admit to yourself you fell of the wagon. Thus you confirm a deeply held belief that you are in fact inadequate. That one is hard to face. That’s why it is scary to climb back on the wagon.

I have been consciously avoiding my blog for weeks. And guess what? Now that I am writing again I feel as if I’m coming home. Turns out to be not scary or difficult at all. In our minds it is difficult to climb back on the wagon. But the wagon doesn’t care. The wagon doesn’t judge. The view is fine on the wagon and being there is just as wholesome as it was before.

It doesn’t really matter which wagon you fell off, and how often you have fallen off before. You are free to climb on the wagon. You know which wagons you want to climb. Just do it. You will notice that you are welcome there.

I would like to share with you the poem I recited for my participant during last warrior meditation class. It is written by Portia Nelson and the title says it all.


Autobiography in Five short Chapters


Chapter I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

Chapter II
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V
I walk down another street.

By Portia Nelson
From her book: There’s a Hole in my Sidewalk – The Romance of Self-Discovery (1993)


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