The other night, I was watching a movie with my husband after shoveling out from the snow storm. We were both exhausted from our physical labor and wanted something light to watch.
We settled on the movie, The Replacements with Gene Hackman as the coach chosen to lead a team of strike-breaking football players, and Keanu Reeves as the Quarterback. I assure you, your need to know about American Football will be limited and I will get to the point quickly, but it’s really amazing how insights can be triggered by the most unlikely things.
The coach asks this band of misfit players what they fear, and after some comedic asides Reeves mentions quicksand. The coach asks him to explain what he means, and what the quarterback explains really struck me as something many are experiencing right now.
Quicksand occurs when everything seems to be going well and then one difficult thing happens, and then another, and pretty soon you are sucked under and paralyzed with the feeling of fear and the belief that you can’t do anything.
His explanation and the knowing nods of his team mates made me think of my own life and how many times I have felt this way. Most people probably have as well. At this time of intense change, increasing energy and crumbling paradigms, any additional challenge can push us easily into overwhelm mode.
Sometimes we do not even realize we are at that point until we feel the intense stress and tension within our bodies. We then wonder how we unconsciously got into this deep hole, and how the heck are we going to get out of it. We see what appears to be an overwhelming challenge, and we wonder if we are up to the task.
Part of the issue, for me, used to reside in a lack of confidence in my own abilities. We seem to remember, as big as a skyscraper, the times we have failed; but if we piled up all the times we have succeeded, the pile would reach to the moon and back.
Somewhere along the line, we were led to believe that a mistake or a failure should be weighted more heavily than a success in the balance of our self-worth. Certainly, this type of confidence handicapping helped keep us in our institutional place.
When confronted with challenges, how little we sometimes feel! This has everything to do with the instillation, from infancy, of the belief that we are too small to do this or that. Too young to take this or that on.
Our inner child knows we are divine, our soul knows we are capable, but the very ones who were charged with parenting us or guiding our growth were the ones to indoctrinate us into the belief that we were simply not good enough.
Truth be told, they didn’t know any better, as these roles were passed on from generations before to insure societal conformity. Once recognized, we get to choose if we wish to perpetuate this habitual role, or change it to something new.
The truth for me is that one of my daughters, at the young age of 18, literally changed the way I looked at the progression of challenges in my life. We have always had open discussions about life, and listening to what my kids share has been a skill I developed early on. As a parent, it is sometimes difficult to truly listen, instead of habitually trying to find the pause space where you can add in your beliefs about how they should live their lives.
As a family, we had experienced a number of struggles during my daughters’ teen years, related to employment and finances. These struggles certainly impacted every member of our family. There were times when we did feel like we were in quicksand. There were times when we felt sorry that our kids’ carefree lives had been affected.
Most of the time, though, we came together as a team, and we shared openly and honestly with our girls about what was going on for us. Luckily, things began to shift, and step by step we moved up the hill of this enormous challenge.
It was in a conversation with the girls, reflecting back on our family experience, that my oldest daughter thanked us. She said that we taught her how to depend on herself and how she now viewed challenges as something to overcome.
She relished a challenge because she knew she was capable; she knew she would surmount it and become stronger in the process. To her, challenges were not something to shrink from or fear, but something that made her soul shout, “bring it on!”
From that moment on, I have applied her wisdom whenever a challenge comes up for me. I also shared with her how profoundly her words shifted my outlook.
I believe it’s really important for kids to feel heard, and even more important for them to feel that what they say has worth. After all, they are our future and they came in with upgraded operating systems, so it stands to reason that they have plenty of new perspectives to share with us all!
Sometimes, I still feel anxious because I have a lot of work to do, or a project must be put aside in order to shovel snow or put a bucket under a roof leak. I remind myself in those moments that I am capable. I recount all the times that I have been overloaded and how I have always come through.
I remind myself in those moments that I love myself and that I am loved by many beings, both celestial and terrestrial, and that they are all rooting me on. I remind my inner child that everything is going to be alright. I remind myself that I live in a supportive universe, and at this very moment I have everything I need within myself to address this challenge. I have confidence in my human self and my divine self combined.
As I go through this process, I can feel my body relax and my mind become clear. Then, my heart sings, “Bring it On!”