Embrace your constraints

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Mmmm, a reframe. Constraints are Activating!

On the back of the circle session where we dove into pain and the limits it can bring, this felt like a refreshening.

I do have constraints. Financial. Time and energy. Focus-ability. Especially with weird sleep with a 6-month-old, I’m needing for sure to activate more creativity and have.

For me the combination is clarity about what matters so I can return to that over and over again as needed (daily). Whether it is a morning mile and all the reasons it matters (I’m on day 159) to the core work of community cultivation… the constraints I’m under mean a lot of things fall away.

Constraints can do that. They can help us let what doesn’t REALLY matter fall away, and put the limited life force and focus we have where the thriving is.


This reminded me of Will Ferrell in Blades of Glory. I like the reframe. Applied to unwanted anxiety I experience, for example, it does make me more compassionate about other people and their challenges, and keeps me on my toes. Hmmm.


This morning my constraint is how much sleep I’ve had. I can tell just climbing the stairs that my muscles need recovery (I climbed a lot on the morning mile I did yesterday).

I’ve often been guided that when I could describe myself as really tired, another truth is that I’m softer. My presence is softer. My energy is softer and less initiating.

**What if that’s okay? Even a creative way of being when the energy level is lower? **

Resistance: aren’t I ‘supposed’ to be all vibrant and vital all the time?

Hahaha. I’m not, and the constraint (with this reminder) allows me to softly smile rather than chortle. :slightly_smiling_face:


I find it extremely difficult to accept the constraints of my physical/sensory body, which struggles with neurological issues. Not only can the issues cause a lot of pain, but they also inhibit my ability to do activities that bring me joy. It’s a constant practice to remind myself to surrender to what is now rather than constantly fighting it because of beliefs that I “shouldn’t” feel this way or I “should” force myself to push through the discomfort and be productive.

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I am curious how you would define “accept” – and also what you imagine might happen if you did accept?


This is a really great question – thanks for asking!

To me, “accept” means that I would have more equanimity and that the struggle would be almost non-existent. In other words, something would arise, but I wouldn’t get into a mental argument with myself about it, and I wouldn’t be angry at myself/my body.

I imagine that, in this state, I would tend to the situation in whatever way it needed (self-soothing or taking some kind of action, etc.) without angst.

To be honest, as I try to visualize that scenario, I can see that I’m imagining myself as some kind of zen/buddhist guru who is unmoved by any physical distress :person_in_lotus_position: :roll_eyes: :unamused: :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: Not very realistic lol


struggle would be almost non-existent

I agree. I think the “struggle” is a reaction based on a frame that there is something wrong, some challenge, that needs to be overcome. But if it is ME then that isn’t useful. Accept would mean being with what is in a proactive engagement, not wrestling / fighting / warring with.

My sense is that there is a “outsiders” view of people who are non-reactive about physical pains and what most “struggle” against. For me I know what I am resisting and not accepting, the same situation is amplified 10x or 100x or 1000000x! Accept and be with what is and I’m not in over-reaction. I’m… calm and confident.

Yeah, sometimes in a lot of pain.
Yeah, sometimes with almost no emotional resource left.
And… it is possible (because I’ve changed so much) to be in those places and not flail around like a Raving Ricky! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


You’ve been reading my mail Rach!! :rofl:

I’ve been dragging that particular tattered old burden around since childhood. The house I grew up in was in emotional disarray…alcoholic mother and largely absent father. I was absolutely enthralled with a TV show at that time, early 70’s, called Kung Fu, with David Carradine as ‘Kwai Chang Cain’, a heroic Kung Fu master. I lay on the floor in front of the television and the whole world around me disappeared. I was in a deep hypnotic trance watching every episode. I recall the day very clearly that I was watching Kwai Chang beat the living crap out of a bunch of bad guys (as usual) when I realized his demeanor never changed. Whether he was in a tender scene of friendship or surrounded by a bunch of murderous thugs he always appeared to have the same calm, detached, unaffected energy. At least that was my interpretation because I had this ‘Ah ha!’ moment and remember clearly (from 50 years ago!) thinking to myself “That’s how you do it!. You don’t let anything affect you…no emotions…that’s how you get through life succesfully!” And I embodied that notion as best as I could and still deal with it to this day. It was, I see now, my way of ‘freezing’ to survive the situation I was in that I otherwise had no control over.


@Glenn your comment triggered a powerful insight for me! I realized that there are times in my life where I am being still — and thinking that I’m being present / calm / mindful — when in fact I’m actually frozen calm and, at a deep internal level, hoping that I’m invisible to potential threats and predators around me.

I was able to touch into the physical difference between these two states (mindful calm vs frozen calm), so now I’m better able to notice when this is happening. :hugs:


Yes, I understand you completely Rach. ‘Frozen calm’ is not truly calm, in my experience, but it can have the outward resemblance of calm which is, no doubt, part of it’s intelligence. Better that than absolute emotional mayhem in most circumstances I would think!! Calm is more than simply being ‘still’ or ‘not moving’. The physiological differences between those two states is dramatic when we allow ourselves to turn inward and notice. Frozen feels tight, tense and rigid…real calm never feels like that. What an important thing to practice noticing! Thank you!