Breaking Free of Quicksand

quicksandAnytime I want to break a long-held pattern in my life, it can feel like trying to extricate myself from quicksand. Energetically, it feels like the pattern sucks me under deeper even as I am struggling on the surface to be free of it.

I found some advice for getting out of actual quicksand, and thought I would see if it applies to the mental quicksand I’m talking about.

If you find yourself in quicksand:

  1. Drop everything you’re carrying to lighten your load.
    The times I have wanted to change a pattern, I have had to focus solely on that pattern, and drop my expectations for improvement in other areas of my life. For example, when I wanted to reduce the amount of alcohol I was drinking, I had to meet the need for relaxation and “reward” in other ways. I chose bubble baths and chocolate…chocolate did not help my goal of being trim for the short term, but it was a necessary compromise to let go of that goal while I worked on the alcohol pattern. Transforming deep patterns requires a lot of determination and energy…be realistic about the portion of your resources this task will require.
  2. Relax and allow your body’s buoyancy to cause you to float.
    When we relax about how we are going to transform, while maintaining the intent for transformation, we will have much greater success because we allow all the aspects of Self to contribute towards a solution. Relax and work with yourself to make this change. Listen to your inner voice, listen to your unmet needs that are driving the pattern you want to change, and work with yourself to find a more amenable solution…a win-win. In the case of my alcohol infatuation, I realized that what I was craving was a really excellent 90+pt wine. When I spent the money and got a good bottle, I found I was satisfied by one glass. Buying a more expensive bottle of wine did not help my goal of being fiscally conservative, but it did reduce my inner-fighting over alcohol consumption.
  3. Breathe deeply.
    Staying relaxed and in tune with yourself during transformation is vital. Breathing deeply loosens the grip of the mind (which wants to tell us all the reasons why we should give up) and returns us to the body and spirit (which support our transformation).
  4. Take your time.
    Changing deeply held patterns takes time. Consider weight loss: if it took you four years to put on the weight, why should it take any less time to take it off? Do not be discouraged by setbacks: two steps forward, one step back is still making progress. When you experience moments of clarity–a clear view of life without the pattern–relish your success and record the memory of the milestone in your body and mind; these moments can inspire you when you’re on a down swing. Believe you are worth the effort to make the change, even if parts of you are not on board yet.
  5. Take frequent breaks.
    When I was transforming my pattern with alcohol, I would sometimes relapse and end up with a headache the next morning. Those moments were part of my journey towards a different relationship with alcohol–they were reminders of why I was seeking the change I was making in my life.

Most of all, be kind to yourself when transforming patterns. Remember that you are doing your best every day. When changing long-held patterns, envisioning yourself climbing up a pyramid can be helpful. Set a goal for yourself, a number of days to observe your intent to transform–the number of days equals the number of steps to the top of the pyramid. Each step up the pyramid is an opportunity to observe your reaction to changing this pattern. The top of the pyramid is likely not where you can shout to the world you’re done with that old pattern forever; the top of the pyramid is the end of this phase of shining a light on this particular pattern, and understanding how you relate to it a little bit better.

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