Breaking the pattern of struggle
It requires a huge amount of effort and at the end of the day his strength gives way and so the stone rolls down the hill, leaving Sisyphus no choice but to start the process all over again the next day.
And so it goes on, day in and day out.
Little does Sisyphus know how close he was to getting to the top, and to the end of his toil.
Many people relate to this story, and many too also repeat this pattern endlessly throughout their lives. They struggle and struggle and then give up, little knowing how close they were to achieving victory. Like Sisyphus they applied their logical minds to the problem, believing that this is the only way.
If you’re anything like me, however determined and persistent you might be, the effect of living with the struggle gets you into a mind set that just perpetuates the situation and ultimately is deeply de-moralising.
The truth is Sisyphus does not have the physical strength to roll the stone all the way up the hill, and to keep on and on rolling it day in and day out is draining his life energy and his potential to change the situation.
And it’s the same for you.
Are there things in your life that feel a bit like Sisyphus’s stone?
Maybe it’s some of the handicaps of being in your shell?
Working so hard but not being really valued for who you or what you do?
Being taken advantage of or not being paid what you’re worth?
Or it’s your battle with shyness or speaking up in front of groups?
Maybe you feel weighed down with emotions, and fear that if you begin to let them out your life will fall apart?
Maybe it’s the unfulfilling job or the unsatisfactory relationship?
So you keep on going, keep on coping in the belief that one day it will get better because surviving is what you know how to do?
How do you begin to get out of your own way?
But life is funny. Every so often it sends you a life line.
It may come through someone you meet, a leaflet you pick up, through surfing the internet, through losing your job or relationship that causes you to rethink what is really important to you. Maybe it’s visiting this website.
In Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey this is called “The Call to Adventure”.
What happens next is totally up to you.
Either you listen to the Call or you ignore it. Perhaps there are too many Calls and you don’t know which one to listen to?
Perhaps you are like Jonah in the biblical story and you avoid the call because it feels too big or you know its going to challenge you or be uncomfortable. And then you find yourself in the belly of the whale.
Are you in the belly of the whale right now?
How will you know?It’s a big dark space where nothing much is happening, it may even feel quite comfortable and there’s a voice inside that says “if only you had….”
How often do you hear the call to take action about some area of your life and you ignore it.
Once a year? Once a month? Once a week? Every day?
If you are hearing this voice on a regular basis I suggest it is time to take action NOW!
Do you relate to Catherine’s story?
Catherine had a big dream that she saw no way that she could possibly fulfill – given that she lived most of her life in hiding.
This dream was calling her from out of the shadows, however much she ignored it or pretended to herself, she knew she couldn’t continue to sell out on herself. Read about Catherine’s inspiring building confidence story.
The truth is that once you take the first step as Catherine did, something seems to shift. It is never as hard as you think it’s going to be, and/or helpers appear to assist you seemingly from nowhere. In Jonah’s case once he makes the decision to go to Ninevah, the whale ejects him out of his belly onto dry land, and the task of preaching repentance to the people of Ninevah turns out not to be as hard as he believes. The opposite in fact. They repent gladly.
If your life feels like Sisyphus, maybe its time to stop.
Stop rolling the stone, stop toiling and struggling. There is a more successful way of dealing with challenges. Maybe there’s a creative solution you haven’t yet thought of.
And in my experience there always is.
There is a gift lurking somewhere in the interminable struggle. I’m not asking you to commit to anything right now, but I’d like to invite you to take your shoes off and let the foamy surf rush over your toes, before you even begin to think of strolling out into that bluey expanse and take the plunge.
Notice how shallow the water is, and how inviting it is and how far you could walk before it would even come up to your calves.
And it might even be fun! What is the most surprising thing for many people when they come to Making Moves is that they find that can grow and transform and at the same time have enormous fun, and they wonder why they spent all that time struggling.
This is because most methods for change involve digging up the past, churning over unresolved issues and going through the pain.
I have a personal theory that it is actually far more healthy and healing to have fun whilst shifting the stuck places and that the effects as a result last much longer.
And one of the unique things about Making Moves courses is that they enable you to work directly on transforming the unconscious patterns that are keeping you stuck AND have fun at the same time?
How to get started?
If you haven’t already done so I suggest you sign up for my free e-book “The Self Confidence Myth” which could be a powerful first step in emerging from the belly of the whale. This will also subscribe you to my regular newsletter with more articles of interest as well details of upcoming Making Moves events.
Get in contact by email and tell me about what you’re grappling with.
I look forward to hearing from you.