On Trying Too Hard

Welcome to the Living Revolution 🙂

Many of you know I spent the last two weeks in the depths of a personal hell I’ve never experienced before. There was a darkness inside me that I couldn’t explain, and it broke me down in a powerful way.  In an effort to determine the cause of this madness, and to find a way to heal myself, I reached out to family and friends, in hopes of finding a sustainable solution.

My mom said it was probably a lack of healthy bacteria in my gut.

My dad said I play on the internet too much and I need to spend more time with Nature.

My coach said I should have my hormone levels checked, and immediately start supplement use.

My circle of friends suggested I should quit smoking pot. Or smoke more pot. Or meditate. Or exercise more. Or exercise less. Or see a therapist. Or start writing again. Or eat less gluten. Or breathe more deeply. Or bang my head against a wall. Or just ignore what I was feeling and it would go away. Gaaaaaaah!! I researched depression and anxiety. I researched mid-life crisis and hormone imbalance. I researched gluten intolerance and THC overdose. None of these seemed to adequately address what I was feeling or the thoughts that were keeping me up at night. The struggle continued…

While I am grateful for all the advice, assistance and encouragement, most of this info just made me think harder about what was swirling around in my head, and my confusion increased. Most everyone told me it was time for me to “CFO”(chill-the-fuck-out), and quit trying so hard. But “trying hard” is what I do. Confronting problems head-on is my MO. My first solution to most problems is more effort, more energy, more work. If this wasn’t the solution, then what was my next option?

Because I so highly value logic and reason, I began to think about what it would feel like to take everyone’s advice and not take life so seriously. Is it really a big deal if laundry doesn’t get done today? Is it really a big deal if I only train 4 days a week, instead of 6? Is it a big deal if it takes my kids 30 minutes to get ready in the morning instead of 15 minutes? Surprisingly, the answer to all these questions is a resounding “NO”.  It really isn’t a big deal. Huh. What a novel concept.

I started small. I made a list of all the things I wanted to accomplish in one day, then I cut that list in half. I engaged single tasks, putting energy and effort in to the enjoyment of completing that specific task, without considering the next item on my list. I began to practice mindfulness and conscious concentration. I began to prioritize what made me feel good, and I decided to avoid letting my checklist determine my happiness. I reduced my social schedule, and spent more time writing, reading, and sitting in silence. I stopped counting calories. I stopped tracking my workouts. I stopped texting while driving. I took a break from self-medicating to remind me what sobriety feels like.  And you know what? Things began to change, immediately.

The terrible ache in my stomach dissipated. The cloud over my heart and my mind began to lift. Most importantly, the world did not end. I used my words and kept checking in with the important people in my life, and they assured me it really was okay if I wasn’t Superman all the time. It was okay if little things slipped through the cracks. It was okay if I allowed them to help me. It was okay that I asked for that help. It was okay that I needed to step back and take stock, reevaluate, and take some time for myself. It was okay for me to prioritize what I really wanted, and to cut away some of the silly bullshit I was using as an excuse to stay busy ALL THE TIME. I started to feel passionate again about the parts of my life I truly love: my family and my tribe, my writing, my jiu jitsu practice, my work and the people who trust me with their health and fitness. I took my “busy” energy and refocused that effort on the things that truly matter to me. At first, I was worried this kind of mindset would seem selfish and egocentric, but that isn’t true. By taking more time for myself, and making sure all my silly business is organized, and making sure I am on point, and making sure I have my ducks in a row, I am a more fulfilled human being, which, in turn, makes me a better PARTNER, FATHER, LOVER, BROTHER, COACH, FRIEND, SON, ATHLETE, WRITER.

I am only one week in to this new practice, but it feels right and it feels like it is working.  It is all about awareness of addressing little pieces at a time, and allowing the bigger picture to come in to view in small increments, rather than as a shotgun blast to the face. Clarity is easy to maintain when I don’t have a whole bunch of silly bullshit clouding my view.  I am sure this will be a practice I will continue to develop, and I look forward to learning more about myself and the world around me through this new adventure. I know it would be helpful if I left a detailed description of this practice here for others to follow, but I feel like this is an experience that is different for each person.  Have you experienced a shift like this in your own life? What brought you to a positive resolution? Are you currently dealing with the heaviness and darkness I mentioned? Maybe something of what I’ve written here will be helpful to you. Won’t you please leave a comment here, or on the Facebook post and let me know that you are okay? I’d love to hear your stories and experiences and how you come out the other side. Thanks for reading this, and for participating in the Living Revolution! Until next time…

Peace.Tobias.

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2 thoughts on “On Trying Too Hard

  1. Since the necrotizing fasciitis, unplanned grandchildren, divorce experience, five family deaths in 12 months, and going off the deep end myself, I can say I often have bouts of depression/anxiety and have used prescription as well as self-medication. The best treatment was counsel and biofeedback and for 2 1/2 years treating PTSD. This journey was quite unpleasant and not at all what I would have predicted my future to be 10 years ago. I, like you, was a driven individual, setting goals and forging head long towards them. I spent my energy on my career and although you may doubt it my heart was passionate for the well -being of you, your sister, and your father. The disappointments and repeated grief experiences nearly took me out as I often contemplated “ending it all” as that must be a better option than dealing with life here on earth.
    I am thankful for my steadfast friends and family who patiently supported me through these experiences. Some of who talked to me every single day for over a year to keep me somewhat sane. I have had many sleepless nights, like last night, where I vacillate between prayer and cussing for hours trying to get back to sleep as I worry about the welfare of you, your sister, and my grandchildren. (Things which I absolutely have no control over) The disintegration of our family unit can overwhelm me with grief if I do not catch myself giving energy to it. My treatment for all this now is an attitude of thankfulness, not dwelling on what I would have though my senior years to be, rather being grateful daily for each sunrise and every day spent with a partner who values integrity, honesty, and sobriety. On the note of sobriety I say “what is so wrong with your reality that you choose not to face it sober..?” On being busy all the time..again…what makes the day to day reality so uncomfortable you do not want to just be in it? Been there, done that, over and over again. So scary how much you walk in my footsteps whether you are able to envision it or not. Enough said..here is to better health for you and me and those in our inner circles. I love you more than you can imagine and someday we will have to talk about more than what is written here. Momma

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