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Outgrowing “The Box” Part III: How to Know When It’s Time to Go

October 10, 2010

A few years ago I dated a guy who met most of the items on my “laundry list”. You know the list. We all have one.

In this case, my guy was: tall, kind, responsible, employed, funny. We had decent chemistry and he treated my dog well. There was really no reason not to date him.

Except… when he showed up at my house unannounced, sometimes I didn’t want to answer the door. And when he went out of town I felt secretly relieved. And when he started talking about moving in together, and marriage, I immediately developed tummy pains and wanted to throw up.

Yet for over a year, I allowed my “logical” mind and that stupid laundry list to override the greater intelligence of my heart and body. And it’s not just me. Sadly, in Western cultures, worship of reason has eclipsed our other gifts of intelligence. We tend to ignore emotions or physical symptoms in the process of decision making, or in the evolution of our lives.

Happily this disparity is gradually righting itself. Increasingly in mental and physical health communities, we are coming to understand that “intelligence” actually lives all through us. We carry emotional enzymes throughout our whole bodies, essentially making our entire organism one great, living mind. We know far beyond the reaches of our limited brains.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” says it this way:

Our bodies are designed to function best when we’re doing [what] feels exactly right to us… Many people have been taught that they can’t have what they want and that a full life of struggle is somehow more honorable than one full of joy… It feels good in our bodies to think about and dwell upon what we want and why. We get excited and are inspired automatically by those thoughts and feelings, which in turn keep us in touch with our inner knowing and spiritual energy. The result is enthusiasm and joy - the feeling of heaven on Earth.

I imagine that as you read the previous quote, you maybe felt excited, skeptical, cheated or sad. The idea that we are supposed to feel good is heart-breakingly radical. But the truth is this: when we live in alignment with our truths, gifts, talents, wants, and needs, our feelings improve and our bodies function optimally.

So what happened when I finally broke up with that guy? Here’s what: I lost 5 points of worry weight. My skin cleared up. I felt a sense of liberation and peace so intense I coasted along in a mood of giddy joy for weeks. And I have never, ever looked back.

Want more proof? Two months ago I moved out of my house in Minnesota and away from full-time employment because my heart and my intuition told me to. I moved into part-time work with no benefits, a radically reduced salary, and a cheap apartment so I could continue not working very much. I moved back to a part of the country I love living in, to be near a wide and deep circle of mentors and friends who support my vision for my life.

Here’s the result: I sleep beautifully at night. I have tons of energy and run or hike nearly every day. My skin has cleared up (again). And I have never been happier in my entire life.

All this in spite of a life decision that made absolutely no sense when viewed through the lens of logic.

So come on over this way, won’t you? What’s your body telling you? What truth do your emotions want you to hear? What completely non-logical urge pulls you out of your comfort zone and into the unknown? And if you’ve got your own story to tell, please do! Share your inspiration with others!

It’s all waiting for you, just on the other side of your hesitation. Take that step. Get yourself out of the box.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 10, 2010 12:42 pm

    So good to hear you are thriving in your new life!

  2. Fern permalink
    October 10, 2010 11:17 pm

    I recently took advantage of an early retirement incentive. This made little sense since I was the primary “breadwinner” for a family of five. And we have twins who are seniors in high school, ready to start college. But, all of my stress related health issues have disappeared and I no longer am in a bad mood every Sunday. It was time to get out of the box and let go.

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