A good retreat is better than a bad stand ~ Irish saying
I’ve always been the gal who charged ahead into the battle, no matter what. I stand my ground and push through whatever is in my way, whether it be pain, fear, big roadblocks or the Universe clearly saying “Don’t do it.” I don’t walk away, from anything.
For decades I was proud of my “take the hill” approach to life. Somehow I thought that by pushing through the pain and blockades, I was proving my value to the world. When I was stood up at the altar by my first love at the ripe old age of 21 - I stood on the steps to tell people there wouldn’t be a wedding. I faced it and stepped up, burying the heartbreak to prove my power. I remember my therapist strongly suggesting to me that sometimes a retreat is the best option for our mental and physical health. At the time I thought he was a wimp.
This week, I learned the power of a strategic retreat.
I’ve been nursing a concussion for the past 3 weeks. I whacked my head really hard and woke up on the floor. Didn’t have any right brain function for a week - but I was good and stayed on the couch. For the first week. But then - I had to get going! My doctor said not to do anything that might cause another injury to my head - so I decided that meant I could show my cow horse Pearli in a show yesterday - as long as I didn’t go on cows.
So Thursday I drove to Paso Robles to practice for the show. I got on Pearli, walked a bit and it felt so good. Then we jogged -ouch went my poor brain. Too bouncy. So we loped, that’s a gentle gait… um, not really. My brain sloshed around more slowly- and with more force. Tried a spin - well, that was a dizzying event. But I rode Pearli for 2 hours - slowly and without any big jolts. I had to prep for the show! At the end of the ride, my head was pounding.
I went to bed and woke up Friday with a headache. Well, I just won’t do reining or cows - I’ll do trail classes - not our focus but what the heck, it’s good practice! So we worked on a couple of trail obstacles that Pearli doesn’t like. OUCH said my head, again.
That’s when I realized that I am nuts for pushing myself to show a cowhorse while I have a concussion. This isn’t just about a single show - this is about my brain for life. Why would I risk damaging my brain for a silly show? The answer is I wouldn’t - except for this voice inside me screaming at me, “You have to do this, you can’t be a quitter! Push through, show the world you can do it!” Wow.
I don’t think I’d ever heard my fearful voice more clearly. I was shocked when I truly listened to what my self was telling me to do. Sure, I was programmed to be perfect or risk death. That’s obvious to me now. But how can that 50 year old voice push for such crappy decisions about my life and my health?
Such is the Power of Programming
I walked away from the show. Packed up, drove home and put myself back on the couch. Here on the couch I’ve had some time to think back about all the crazy, stupid and just plain dumb things that same voice has gotten me to do all through my life. The list is so long I’m embarrassed to finish it - and I only got to the age of thirty something. Thank heavens I’m on the other side of those voices - before I killed myself.
I am yet again amazed at the power my programming has had over my life. I’m grateful for the opportunity to once again step beyond my programming and into the reality of my life. A reality where I know that taking care of me is much more important than proving I can do it all. Where I am worthy just as I am - with nothing to prove, to myself or the world.
And I’m looking forward to the chance to practice my strategic retreats… There’s a new voice inside me today, telling me that I just extended my life span:)
How about you? Do you have programming that pushes you to go too far sometimes? Are there situations in your life where you need to walk away? Care to share your stories with me? I’m just learning to walk away, so I’d love to hear more examples oif your empowerment!