I recently took on a new project, as well an exciting opportunity for “personal growth.” Not from the thrill of doing something creative with a favorite friend and business partner, but from a ridiculously ouchy ailment that came with it…sciatica. It sounds like the name of a sci-fi film, it’s actually a super painful nerve irritation that shoots down from the hip to the foot.
Most of us, when we develop pain, think about the physical activity that brought it on. And no doubt, I’d just run up a big mountain and put some torque on my body. But we rarely look at the emotional activity that’s connected. In my case it was all about stability, support…and fear!
Right after I loaded up my Chinette plate (me), with too many potatoes, (to do’s, obligations, commitments), it began to get moist, and weak, and finally ripped (I could barely stand on my right leg), leaving me crying in the middle of the night, and a greater awareness of what was really going on. After acupuncture from Dan, body work from Jen and Kate, even some intuitive healing I got from my friend Peggy, identifying the culprit of over-commitment, and not feeling I was doing ‘enough,’ my body felt better. But the sciatica came and went like an unwanted guest who you’re trying to love, because you know there’s a gift in there somewhere.
Facing the Tiger
Finally, I decided to compost what was on the plate…too much work. So I told my partner on the new project, Allison, that I just couldn’t do as much as I was doing. It was ‘game over,’ and I needed to take a big step back. “I don’t know why you’re worried, everything is going just fine,” she said. Yet I detected just a twinge of guilt from myself, and a twinge of overwhelm from her, which was the reason I didn’t want to tell her in the first place. I also had to look at how I tend to over-create on projects. I have so many ideas, but geez, how much can one person do?
I realized delegation and empowering others was part of the key to finding support. But it certainly wasn’t Allison. She already had a huge project on her own Chinette, plus a four year old daughter, and we both had underestimated the enormity of this new project…trying to stop the oil and gas industry from drilling holes all over our state.
The next day I got an email from Allison. “I ended up in the ER yesterday with my neck. Something slipped and I couldn’t even move…have to take it a bit easy today but we’ll get this done. Crazy.” That’s exactly what I was afraid of! And I can tell you the peels of laughter, and the cries of pain were intermingled as we talked about being ‘conscious leaders,’ and the toll that our desire to attain a self-image of perfection and to go big, big, big, takes on our health.
So the next time you’re contemplating your own projects and commitments, take your own step back and ask the deeper question. First, take ten deep breaths, relax, and clear your mind. Then look at the project or commitment. Ask: “Am I supposed to do this? What’s my role? How much time should I commit? And what is my idea of the outcome? In accessing the answers you’ll gain clarity on how you can show up. And if your body goes out of alignment, you’ll surely be aware that it’s about being true to yourself and others right up front, about your part and path in creating from your heart. And next time you’ll ask the right questions so your body doesn’t do the talking for you.