Inside an ocean wave

More and more clients are coming to me with the same problems. Stressed out and exhausted. Why are the expectations on us so high? And why was it a surprise when my naturopath said I was the first person to come to her with stress levels at 0 out of 100?

Seeing these patterns in my clients has made me search deeper. There are plenty of ‘experts’ on the subject, but are they really getting to the bottom of this problem? Or are they just expecting more of people who are already at their limit? Do yoga, they say. Meditate, they say. Exercise and eat well, they insist. That’s all good and well if you have the time, energy and motivation, but what if you don’t?

There’s a technique I use with my clients called a ‘downward spiral’. Morbidly, the official title is called the ‘death cycle’ but I don’t tend to call it that – I don’t like to make a habit out of scaring clients! I like to explain the technique by having you picture your life in a toilet bowl (gross, yes, but not morbid :P). I like to use toilet analogies because, well, haven’t you noticed that a dinner party conversation ALWAYS touches on the toilet? But I digress, back to your life as a toilet… There’s lots of crap in that toilet (work with me here) and no matter what you do, you just want to flush it all down and keep flushing until all the crap is gone. So you do. You keep flushing it because that’s all you know how to do. That’s all you’ve ever known what to do. You just keep trying to make it cleaner, make it better, so you’ll finally be happy enough with the toilet.

But what if you’re stuck flushing and the crap doesn’t go away? Eventually you start to realise that something has got to give. The crap will cling on and all the water will be passing by the crap. Rather than doing more flushing, maybe we should try stopping. Maybe we should just take a breather and let the water sit. If we stop the swirling water, we will find calm and maybe the slow, quiet calmness will stoping giving the crap any power to hold on. Until we stop, we can’t find the way out of a downward spiral. We must stop and reflect. Throwing more ‘stuff’ at a problem doesn’t always work and can often be counter productive.

How do you just stop, did you say? Easy – just stop. Stop cleaning, stop flushing, stop worrying, stop thinking so much. But more importantly, stop expecting so much. I often ask clients ‘What is the worst thing that could happen if you don’t clean your house this week?’. They usually laugh because they realise nothing terrible will happen. Nothing. And nothingness is grand πŸ™‚

So if you are busy flushing the crap out of some toilet, try simply stopping. It doesn’t have to be forever, but until you stop that downward spiral, you’re just making it harder for yourself to get to where you want to be.

water-spiral-large

The downward spiral

Phillipa Huynh

Phillipa, a kinesiologist working in Park Orchards and Thornbury, Victoria, teaches you how to make your life β€˜fit’ again. A big believer in positive change, Phillipa teaches you how to understand your past so you can map your future.