By Lisa McCrohan
There comes a moment
when you know
that you can no longer keep digging in the past
searching for the magical golden “why”
that you think will finally heal
There comes a defining moment
when you are standing in the rain
outside your front door
with grocery bags in your hands
hungry, tired, soaking wet
and you see how all these years
you’ve just been running
even if it’s to therapy
you have been running
and you know
that no amount of analyzing it
is going to get you any closer
to being happy
and folding into the arms
that want to hold you
when you open that door.
The small, still voice
has been whispering to you
late at night for so long:
“There is another way, Love.”
But it is finally today
that you hear her
clear and certain
as the voice
of your true God.
And you know now
there is no going back.
No talking, judging,
trying to fix it, wishing it away.
You are done
wrapping your whole self-concept
around that wound
done believing that
there even is a wound to heal.
You stand there
opening up to
the spacious grace of emptiness
now swimming in your chest
with no desire to run and quickly fill it.
You know now what you have to do
when you open that door.
And you softly smile.
© 2011 Lisa McCrohan
“I have a tendency to obsess about the ‘why’ of a situation,” one client told me. “Why did he say that to me? Why did that happen? Why did I react that way?”
“Of course,” I said, “That’s a natural reaction.” I went on to say how figuring out “the why” is “in the water” of our culture. It’s also one of your organism’s way of trying to keep you safe that you’ve learned to use. It’s trying to be helpful!
“That’s really helpful to hear,” she told me as I could see her exhaling. Her shoulders relaxed. The muscles around her face softened. “I tend to get mad at myself for always trying to figure things out. I tell myself I shouldn’t be so analytical.”
“There’s a time for the why, there’s a time for analysis,” I continued, “AND there’s a time when we want “other tools in the mindful and compassion toolbox” to choose from!”
We went on to talk about and practice some of those other tools. She left the session with a sense of feeling good about herself, empowered, and hopeful.
Dear Readers, notice how I’m not saying that trying to figure out “the why” is bad or wrong. Your whole organism is just trying to do the best it can to keep you safe.
But a lot of our energy can get caught up in trying to figure out why. We lose sleep over trying to figure it out. We become consumed with finding the why and yet we don’t find ourselves any closer to a sense of healing or peace. We feel like we stuck on that hamster wheel of getting nowhere. And even when we do figure out the why, sometimes nothing changes.
If asking why a lot is your “go to” strategy, it may be a defense strategy to keep you stuck where you are, prevent you from taking risks, and prevent you from “going deeper” to the source of what might be difficult and uncomfortable BUT necessary to explore.
When we pause and ask the question, “Does this serve me to keep figuring out the why?” and the answer is truthfully, “Not really,” then it’s time to bring in other practices.
Often when we are obsessing over “why,” we are up in our heads and have forgotten about the rest our bodies. Here is an opportunity to come back into our bodies and come back to ourselves.
The next time you find yourself obsessing over the why:
2. Get grounded. Bring your awareness into your body. Start at the feet. Feel the strength of your legs. Feel the crown of the head rising up to the sky.
3. Say to yourself, “Of course I’d go up into my head….it’s an old habit to try to keep me safe.”
4. Notice what’s happening in your senses right now as you pause: what you feel, see, taste, hear, see, smell.
5. Just notice and say, “This too.” That’s Thich Nhat Hanh style – you treat all that comes into your present moment awareness with equanimity. This is HUGE in a culture that has a tendency toward getting caught up in the waves of whatever the emotion dejour is of the moment!
6. See what new awareness arises.
7. Then there are options! I LOVE to accompany clients in tailoring “what comes next” based on what they are experiencing, how they are relating to the situation, relationship or challenge that is causing them to get obsessed with the why, and how their nervous system is responding to it all.
We might continue to hone this body-centered awareness to build up that muscle of awareness that will greatly serve them in any triggering situation. We might explore how it is to be empowered with present-moment body awareness and explore the landscape of what this experience is like. We might touch into the challenging situation and begin to heal the tendency toward obsessing over the why. This is the art of healing and the tailored approach to each individual that I love.
So the next time you find that you are getting nowhere with trying to figure out the why, let the mind and body work together and learn this mindful and compassionate “inclusion” approach to healing. When we let go of the ‘why,’ we draw on the wisdom of our body and heart. And we experience what it’s like to be free.
Dear Readers, pick up your signed copy of Gems of Delight from my Shop!