Are You a Contortionist?

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wake-up-call
Dear Sally
Weekly Advice Straight From The Horse’s Mouth.

Dear Sally,

I’m in a tight spot. That’s actually how it feels. Like I’m trapped. I’m in a work role that feels very constraining. There are missing pieces of our workflow and our structure and things fall through the cracks. No one on the team seems to notice the problem yet everyone complains about the chaos and feels stressed all the time. It’s like we don’t have the right people in the right roles. And, it’s Groundhog Day. We do the same thing over and over. I’ve spoken up. Sort of. But I really haven’t felt heard. Meanwhile, the log jam seems to occur so that I end up having to clean up the crisis. Here’s the part that drives me the craziest. They don’t even notice that I’m doing all of the work. Now I’m working super long hours, doing other people’s work, and covering up for my boss so that she can save face. I’m not sure she sees it either. I feel invisible and overstretched. Help!

Dear Contortionist:

I hear there are humans who make a living as entertainers who bend and twist themselves into pretzel shapes. Maybe a carnival act or something you all see in Vegas?

Sweet human, are you a contortionist? 

Probably not. So stop bending yourself into relationships, work roles, and activities that cause you pain. 

As mammals, all of us are adaptable. It’s an amazing trait that allows us to survive and evolve to meet our needs in ever changing environments. But humans seem to have taken this too far, trying to fit into jobs or families or marriages that don’t allow you to be who you are. 

Imagine putting your dog in a crate that was too small for her. Or walking ten miles in your child’s shoes. Are you making yourself small to accommodate others? Are you holding back the true words that need to be spoken to protect others from feeling uncomfortable? Are you bending so others don’t have to grow? 

What I’m hearing most in your story is that you know the problem and you know what you need. You’ve even done a bit of talking about it. But here’s where humans and horses differ. We don’t whisper about the truth. And, we don’t nag. In the horse herd, when something needs to shift, our lives depend on clear communication, commitment to whole herd attention, and radical follow through. We let each other know the reality and we stay with that truth until it has been addressed. In the human world, you all seem to only dabble in communication. To be really frank, if we did this, we simply wouldn’t survive. Threats to our herd’s safety have to be addressed and we have more immediate awareness of that reality. For humans, the stakes are different, the threat less obvious. Just keep in mind that stress does kill. 

What you described about your situation is a wheelbarrow full of suffering. Of course, you are in pain. When you are doing something that goes against your inner wisdom, it creates such a profound misalignment, you can feel physical pain or emotional/mood symptoms. Misalignment of the self. Over time, that can have long term health consequences. Here’s your cure: living in your truth one day at a time, one sentence at a time, one choice at a time until your body and soul begin to straighten out.

Love, Sally

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