What I learned from spring fever

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I don’t know about you, but there is always a week in spring where I just don’t want to do anything, except sit around and enjoy the weather. I want to be out in it to enjoy it, and the rest of the time, I mostly want to sleep. Perhaps read a bit, but mostly just drift in and out of waking consciousness… into meditation… into sleep… back to meditation…. You get the picture.

This is that week. It’s amazing I’m even managing to write this email.

Anyway, today I was lying about in the middle of the afternoon, feeling guilty. Why was I feeling guilty? I mean, there wasn’t anything I had to do that wasn’t getting done. Yes, of course, there’s always more I could do when I’m not with clients, between promotion and bookkeeping, but no one was going to be hurt if I didn’t do it then. So what was that guilt?

I think guilt happens when a part of you accepts someone else’s rules as your own. You know, all those “shoulds”, “oughts” and “musts”. As in, “you should be working”, which is definitely family programming for me. Obviously if all of you bought into the rule, you’d be working, instead of feeling guilty! So part of you is buying in and part of you isn’t. The part of you that isn’t buying in is obviously stronger at that point. And the positive intention of the guilt is to remind you of the rule, or maybe to tie you to the person who gave you the rule. Although in general I agree with the “you should be working” rule, I don’t agree that it has to be in force 24/7, and especially not on a perfect afternoon in May, not when I work for myself. And though the rule is my Dad’s and I do like that it connects me to him, hey, not today!

So the next time you feel guilty, ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I feeling guilty about?
  • What am I doing or not doing that is triggering the guilt?
  • What’s the rule I’m violating? Try to formulate it with a “should”, “must” or “ought”.
  • Whose rule is that, anyway?
  • Do I agree with the rule, or am I just using it to stay connected in some way to that person?
  • Even if I agree with the rule, does the rule apply now?
  • If the answer to either of the last 2 questions is no, then let go of the guilt and enjoy what you’re choosing instead!

Hollis

PS – I went back to sleep for another hour, guilt-free! 🙂