Learning to Let Go

in philosophy •  6 days ago 

My back and shoulders have been tight the last week or so. Normally I'd just chalk this up as getting old or a result of my college pole vaulting days (and the many injuries I collected). Instead, I've started to think a little deeper about my body and what it might be trying to tell me. Along the lines of "know thyself" I want to understand how my mind impacts my body and how my conscious thoughts and feelings don't always represent what my mind is processing. I started to wonder, could these tight muscles be related to stress?

When I think through my life, it's not one I'd describe as stressful. That's just my view of it. I'm sure others could see opportunity for stress, such as when I broke my arm in half in high school, lost our house and had to live on a boat, had to live off the charity of others for 6 years working in ministry, bootstrapping a company with responsibilities including securing hundreds of thousands of credit cards and over a billion dollars in transfers, etc, etc. In my mind, it doesn't register as stress. I can think of one time during a failed infrastructure migration where I felt like I was going to throw up (I literally got a bowl next to me). That was clearly stress and my body was clearly responding. When I think back on that moment, what stands out most to me was the feeling of no control. The migration had failed and it looked like we weren't going to be able to migrate our data back to the old system. Thousands of stores were broken, and I didn't see a way out.

Thankfully, my business partner at the time found gigs of logs to clear out, and we survived and thrived. The lesson is still there: stress comes from feeling like you have no control, but you have an expectation that you should have control and that it's all relying on you (but you feel powerless).

As I think about my journey of self-discovery, I realize my body is always communicating to me. Even though the responsibilities I've been signing up for with the EOS Foundation and the Foundation for Interwallet Operability (FIO) seem to me like exciting challenges, I also have to recognize there are plenty of things out of my control. I also have existing responsibilities to eosDAC, Steem, and other projects I support. To feel no stress would be a bit strange, especially with regards to signing long, complicated legal documents (something I already know causes me stress). So it's no wonder muscles in my body are tight. The wonder is, I don't recognize and categorize stress for what it is. Even if I don't "feel" stressed when describing my current state of mind, it's more than possible my brain, sub-consciously, is recognizing the responsibilities and the lack of control over outcomes and deciding that's something to send an alarm signal over. If that signal isn't appreciated for what it is, I imagine my sub-conscious trucks along doing what it does until eventually it sends signals to the body to brace for impact, so to speak.

So instead of focusing on all the work I want to get done, I decided to take a rest, and enjoy Thanksgiving and Friday (traditionally a day many in the U.S. take off from work). I'm going to do my best to listen to my body and understand what it is feeling and what signals it is sending. I'm going to think clearly about the responsibilities before me and my own sense of ego in relationship to what success (and failure) mean within those responsibilities.

I tend to push myself rather hard and expect a lot. In my ego, I'm beginning to realize, there's a part that believes I'm better than average. Not only that, I might even believe I'm better than most. Maybe that's rooted in a competitive nature that came from college athletics and being accepted in an Ivy League school. Maybe that's because I believe the voices that tell me I'm great. Maybe it's something else. Either way, I realize, it's not necessarily a healthy thing to think you are better than others. You may get some sense of security for a time, but ultimately you are left with constantly expanding expectations where failure is not an option. How can you convince yourself you are the best if you fail?

I think it's better to acknowledge the truth that you not only will fail, but failure is part of the process of showing you your true self, not your ego-inflated version of yourself. It's also a way to slow down and clarify what you can influence and what is outside of your sphere of influence. Stress, I think, comes on mostly from taking responsibility for things you can't control.

So, if I'm right, my back will feel better as I go deeper into my own sub-conscious thoughts and worries which manifest themselves in my very muscles. If I go deeper and let go of my expectations of outcome, I have a hunch my muscles will let go also. The driving force of responsibility that causes us to work harder and longer and more effectively than those we see around us can also be a cruel task master. The answer, as with so many things, is to let go.

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It's funny that you posted this now because i've been trying to figure out how to deal with stress from running Splinterlands. Like your story about feeling like you were going to throw up, I get physical symptoms immediately when there are issues with the game and i have hundreds of people angry at me. We're doing one of our biggest releases ever tomorrow and I expect I will feel ill during the whole process.

I really need to figure out how to handle these things or else it's going to be a problem for my health but i'm not sure what to do. Let me know if you have any advice!

Hang in there, Matt. You’ve created something awesome people passionately care about. That’s huge! It’s also just a game. If it goes away tomorrow and people’s gold legendary cards they are so proud of no longer function, you know what will change in terms of real life? Not much. Life will go on.

When our failed infrastructure migration brought me right to the point of throwing up because it looked like going back was going to be impossible, I was so concerned about the thousands of stores that put their trust in us. I was worried about their customers. I was worried about being a failure.

What I learned from that lesson is there is always another way. We truncated some log tables saving us gigs of data which enabled us to migrate back. When you feel helpless and hopeless and all is lost, there is always another way and a different approach.

Those people who are angry are expressing deep emotion because they care. You and aggroed built something that matters to them. That’s a beautiful thing! The next step is leveling up your consciousness to handle everything with ease. It’s to face your fears (all of them!) head on and through focused intention, start reprogramming your cells to respond differently than fight or flight. I recommend meditation, but ultimately it’s about finding what works for you personally. Something will work (hikes, swimming, breathing exercises, etc). The important part is listening and beginning the journey of discovery to better know yourself and what you uniquely need to flow like water through any situation.

Good luck!

Yaba, I see you doing A LOT for splinterlands... while that is a bit obvious and kinda goes without saying I just wanted to say THANKS for all the effort you, Aggy and the team put in. I know you've helped me out in the discord for example and I just wanted to say thanks and that your hard work doesn't go unnoticed! 👍

When I still had my IT business at some point I took on doctor's offices as clients. It was a great step up for me but they all wanted contracts with a 24h support build in.

I never felt so miserable even though the money was good. The constant worry of a potential phone call would be enough for me to not go and do things.

What helped was getting a good backup partner. Someone reliable. The feeling of responsibility was always there but it made the worry go away.

Good luck with the release today!

I remember getting text messages would cause me stress. Our infrastructure had so many issues that it would often be a server notification so I’d have to drop everything and rush to a computer. Not fun at all, but having my business partner there to help me was huge. I agree completely with the “don’t go it alone” approach.

Thank you for sharing this with everyone. I feel for you and recently experienced something similar a few weeks ago, except it went beyond muscle stiffness. I almost had a mental breakdown. Between medications, I was taking at the time, and my emotional state from not dealing with my stress appropriately, I just kept working, and working, and working more. Working at home, after normal hours, until after midnight, only to get up at 4:30 am and start all over.

Eventually, my mind and body just said enough and short-circuited for a couple of days. Since I have worked hard at finding a balance and still looking for ways to fill my non-work time with something besides work.

Not sure how things will end up, but definitely looking to add some reading and walking into my day.

So hats off to you sir!

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Not sure how things will end up, but definitely looking to add some reading and walking into my day.

May I recommend this book?

It’s all words. :)

Yep! exactly. Just 'words', like everything that is always fluttering within our minds. ;)

Those are some big words, if they are even real, for my neanderthal mind to wrap itself around :-)

Here’s to balance and listening to your body! I hope it works out beautifully well for you.

I have identified 3-4 triggers in my own body that are indicating I need to slow down.

When they happened the first few times I didn't recognize them and I thought something was wrong with me. I went to the doctor's and all but they could never find anything wrong.

This one time I didn't listen at all and just kept going. I paid a heavy price and it costs me months to recover.

But it's all stress-related I know now. And if I don't listen to it, I just get sicker and feel like shit.

Crypto is a 24/7 affair. You can be busy with it the whole day, it never stops. It's up to us to step away from it from time to time. It's what I do now, and it helps a lot.

Huge. It’s so very important to listen to our bodies and honor them. They are speaking all the time and knowing ourselves is part of our consciousness evolution. Congrats on identifying those triggers for yourself.

My body gave me signs I ignored and I had to pay the consequence I even disjointed my jaw, now I have learned to listen to it more carefully. I take days off computers and go hug trees, literally

Disjointed your jaw?!? That sounds like a story to tell.

I’ve always loved trees but even more so lately. They have taken on new meaning for me. Some cultures thought of them like gods. I haven’t gone around hugging them, just admiring them. Maybe I’ll try a hug or two now and again. :)

Careful listening sounds like a really good idea.

Aw, I guess, all this year is a "looong" story. I post so slow that everybody welcomes me back when I do hahah XD when I've no really gone (yet, haha) just at my pace :)

I wrote an article a while back about the science behind hugging trees, it's an oldie but it explains why (scientifically) it can make you feel better. It has to do with hormones ;-) no need to vote for it, but as I always say, articles exist and have purpose after that period too :) https://steemit.com/nature/@yidneth/the-evergreen-oak-encounter-and-why-you-should-hug-a-tree

Believe me, listen to it, because at the end just trying to "hurry" too much you end up having to stall or even stop. I wish I had followed my advice, but re-training :) Get some proper rest :)

Good advice I need to try the same 👌 ️


For you, for me, for your commentators and for everyone else. };)

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