The 100% affliction

Are you someone who likes to go at 100% for 100% of the time? How's that working out for you? I'm guessing life feels a lot like hard work. Chances are, if you mentally agreed "yes that's me"...then it's pretty likely you are feeling on the edge of burn out, maybe even completely burnt out.

Perhaps it's less obvious for you than full-on burnout but the signs are there your body is trying to tell you things are not quite right. It might bubble up as that underlying feeling of anxiety, or in other physical manifestations, relationship imbalances, including the one with your body. 

When we go at 100% we leave no room to breath, for growth, for recovery and for s p a c e. Often the internal driving force that is telling us to go 100% to the max is coming from a place of ego. Our ego makes us feel less than adequate, and never good enough, or complete, or whole. It tricks us into thinking we need to do and achieve

in order to be whole. When we constantly feel the need to do more, be more, push more, and fill in the spaces with activity that proves our worth to others, but mostly to ourselves. We can be our own worst critic and harshest enemy. 

Energetically when we go at 100% we leave very little or no room for the emergence of flow, creativity, to let new positive energy in. We are bound so tightly. This 100% approach is usually hand-in-hand with our need for control. When we think we can control everything it often comes from a deep-seated fear (I'll leave the "control" thing for another post). If we feel the need to push and drive the ship 100% from our own steam we can rob ourselves of the energy and force (chi if you like) that can help support our intentions - because there is no space for other forces to contribute. When it comes from our will, the magic of the universal support is lost. We run the risk of using up what traditional Chinese medicine practitioners refer to as jing energy, our well of life energy of which we have only a finite amount. 

I often see the 100% affliction in new yoga students. They come to class with the context of a society that drives us to push, to be, do, control, and they bring this same approach to their yoga. They bring their will to bear on their body, pushing it to the limits of what it can do, and more often than not the result is either injury or imbalance - yes I've been there (in the form of a broken rib!) A more experienced and aware yogi and enlightened individual knows when to pull back, and when to tune into the truth of their true state of energy and openness. That, to my mind, is the true essence of yoga. But it can be a lesson hard learned and one that can take many years to integrate. 

I have experienced the power of release in yin yoga where the body is approached with softness, there is zero effort in pushing the muscles, instead an intention to release and let go with the supporting energy of the breath – the body simply melts opens. The same can happen when we take the foot off the accelerator in life, and just allow things to flow, emerge and surprise.

How do I speak of this with such certainty? Because I am a recovering 100% individual (aka A-type personality, perfectionist, high achiever, addictive personality)  I've learned (the hard way) to soften, to go easy on myself. How does one do that? Through awareness and a willingness to change, intention, and of course... softness. Personally, I've found support in the modality of kinesiology, and learnt through life lessons and my role as a mother to bring awareness to my 100% effort ways.

What if you gave yourself permission to soften? To let your self-imposed push to shift softly back a little to say 90%; perhaps that would leave some space for the contribution of the extra 10% to come from the forces of nature. I am not saying stop striving, or to lower your standards, just to open to the possibility of energy coming from forces surrounding and of us.

What if we accept that we do not need to do or be anything other than the light of our true essence? We liberate ourselves and our actions, and motivation comes from a place of love and purpose, not fear and self-loathing. Sounds harsh, but I'm guessing some of you will relate to this language. So how 'bout the the possibility of steering the ship to calmer waters?