I have spoken in front of groups on several occasions and asked the same question, which is, “What stands in your way?”
Of course, this question applies differently with different people. In some cases, this question applies to mental health and wellness.
In other crowds, this question applied to living a clean lifestyle, no drugs, no drinking, no crime, and no other means of self-harm.
In some presentations, I have asked this question to those who seek a better life. In some groups, this was directed to inspire those that live under the threat of suicidal ideation
Whether a better life is to be free from depression, free from the toxicity of abuse, of shame, fear, or free from anxiety, freedom from the thought machine, or to be free from all that we wish we could discard from our life, I ask, “When will it be your turn to have the life you want?”
What are the triggers that set you off? What are the things that trap you or keep you stuck in a habitual lifestyle that always brings you back to the same place, doing the same thing, and feeling the same way?
What suppresses you? What are your stressors?
What is your source of inspiration?
Or, where do you find your motivation?
Now, motivation is an interesting thing. Motivation is neither right nor wrong, good or bad. Motivation is simply a drive. This is the prime mover, which pushes us in a particular direction, which means, motivation as a force. Motivation is energy and energy needs a direction of flow. Otherwise, there is no transfer or delivery. Otherwise, the energy become stagnant, coagulated, or thickened and curdled.
Some people say they don’t have the motivation to do anything. Some people say they barely have the motivation to get out of bed.
Some say, I have no motivation at all, which is untrue.
So long as we live and breathe and so long as blood pumps through our veins; so long as our eyes can open and close and so long as our mind is capable of even the simplest thought; this means we are alive.
This means we have energy. Therefore, we have motivation. This means the struggle is internal, which means there is a conflict in a direction of flow that prevents a transfer of energy. This is how we clot and how the heartbeat of our dreams becomes unable to pump through,
There are people who lay awake in bed, unable to move because of a thought process, which holds them down like weighted chains.
There are people who cannot sleep because of depressive thinking.
On the other side, there are people that do nothing else but sleep because of depressive thinking.
There are people who watch their lives fall apart. And they watch this in an almost surreal way; as if they know, but they feel more like a spectator of their own life instead of someone that lives it.
They watch themselves flush away, as if life is a whirlpool, and they spiral out of control, wishing they could correct themselves, but it feels too late, so all they do is nurture the loss instead of nurturing their ability to improve.
I have a theory I call “The Old Car Theory.”
If you have ever had an old car or an old used car, junky, in poor condition, but it did its trick, then you will understand the need for upkeep is very important.
In cases like this, if one thing needs repair, it is best to repair it right away. If one thing goes unaddressed; one thing quickly becomes two things. Two things quickly become three and three becomes four.
Eventually, the owner cares less and less. Eventually, the owner is like, “What the hell? The car is gonna die anyways,” and they drive it into the ground.
Life is this way too. The only difference is cars are absent of emotion. In the case of human response, if one thing happens to us and goes unaddressed, it is easy to have two things happen, then three, then four, and so on. Inevitably, we take on the same mindset as the owner of that old beat up car and say, “What’s the difference?” and we drive ourselves into the ground.
However, unlike the car, we are not absent of emotion. We feel everything. One could argue that we feel too much, which is why we stalled to address the issues at hand.
I go back to that question:
What stands in the way?
The answer is us.
Whether the stressor is anxiety based, whether it is fear based, rejection sensitive, or whether the obstacle is pain, or if the struggle is situational due to inescapable relationships; whether the difficulty is emotional, physical, or if the snag is a lack of faith or a lack of ambition; the question comes to what is it that steals our desire?
I remember hearing about the bondage of self. But what does this mean? Bondage means to be restricted. This means to be enslaved, to be leashed, to be bound, or better yet, to be imprisoned.
Bondage of self means we act as both prisoner and warden to our own little cage. It can go one of two ways; either it is us that set us free or it is us that keep us caged.
comes to a choice.
It’s either one or the other.
Getting back my theory about the old car, why would we let something like this happen? Obviously, there is something which keeps us from moving forward. This is where the direction of energy comes in.
We behave in reaction to how we feel, which is why we stand by and watch things fall. We almost feel unable to do anything. We also lack the belief that we are capable.
If we feel good then we take care of ourselves. If we don’t . . .then we don’t/ And unless we get to the root of what keeps us trapped then how are we ever supposed to feel free?
The thought machine is a crazy place. We are capable of anything; however, countless times, we find ourselves subject to discouragement because nothing discourages like our own thinking.
Overthinking is not a friend. Neither is speculation but how do we stop it. We tie ourselves to outcomes instead of efforts. We define our energy as either success or failure. But what do we do?
Speaking openly, I will define what stands in my way.
The answer is me, plain and simple.
So long as I am alive this means I have energy; however, the direction I chose to nurture my energy is entirely up to me.
If given in to my own internal deceptions, I can easily sink. I can easily remain caged by the stressors which define the bars that hold me back. It is me that can free me. And it is me that can keep me in slavery.
It all comes down to one question.
What am I willing to do to gain my own sense of freedom?
First, I have to define what my freedom is. I have to define what steals my freedom. I have to understand what my stressors are. I need to know what I see as obstacles if I am ever going to turn them into opportunities.
Second, I have to envision what my freedom looks like. I have to see what I want; otherwise, how can I find it if I don’t even know what I’m looking for?
I have to keep on a regiment. Failing my personal regiment leads from one thing going wrong to being two, then three, and so on. Allowing this is the same thing as allowing me to be caught in the spiraling whirlpool of my life going down the drain.
If I need help, I have to ask. Over the years, I have learned that asking for help or seeking help is never as hard as it seems. This part is easy. Accepting the help and doing the work is harder than the above.
In order for me to feel better, I have to accept the responsibility to be better. We are all certainly welcome to remain trapped. A prison refuses no inmates. But I don’t want to be imprisoned.
What stands in the way?
What needs to be done?
What more do we need to lose?
What else has to happen and how much more do we need to endure?
In an effort to regain ourselves, what are we willing to do to achieve freedom?
Some people answer this, “But I just don’t have the energy.” This is not true. The problem is not energy. The problem is faith. This is what they mean by the bondage of self.
So long as we live and breathe our energy is constant, which means motivation is available. We just need to decide the direction we choose to nurture:
Enslavement or freedom?
The choice is yours
Please choose wisely