Can You Love the Dirt You’re In?

There’s a wonderful saying that, when a seed sprouts, the first thing to come up is not the plant, but the dirt it has to push out of the way.

Just like for that seed, when you choose to grow, to live a bigger expression of you, there will be dirt that has to be moved first.  In this case, the dirt is the old beliefs that aren’t compatible with this larger version of you.  Beliefs like:

  • It’s not safe to be seen.

  • It’s better to play small.
  • I don’t deserve a thriving business and an amazing life.
  • If I get a lot of money, people will take it from me.
  • I’m not big enough for this.

The thing that it’s important to remember with the seed is that the dirt protected it until the seed was ready to grow bigger. The dirt was never intended to keep the seed from growing.

In this same way, at earlier stages in your life, all these thoughts and beliefs were beneficial to you from a certain point of view.  Playing smaller served you in some way. 

Maybe it kept you safe in a certain situation until you were old enough and ready to make a change.

Maybe you had an underlying belief that life is dangerous, so the thought, “I don’t deserve a thriving business and an amazing life” kept you safe by keeping you from being noticed, which would have put you in danger.

What happens a lot of the time, though, is that these thoughts and beliefs are seen as wrong, even demonized.  You might have thoughts about them like:

  • I can’t believe I’m still stuck like this!
  • This stupid fear keeps blocking me.
  • If I didn’t keep getting in my own way, I could really get stuff done!  I’m the problem!

Often these thoughts take the form of shoulds and shouldn’ts, like:

  • I should be over this by now.
  • I should be able to get past this on my own.
  • I shouldn’t still be stuck here.

Thoughts like these set up an internal struggle as you fight against your fears.  And this very struggle actually keeps the fear and blocks in place.

It’s like piling dirt on top of dirt, making it even harder for you to get through it.

And there’s no way to make real progress when that’s how you’re investing your time and energy.

So we tell ourselves things like, “I just have to work harder.”  And we try to force ourselves to push through and we put in even more energy and effort.

And that can be exhausting.  And discouraging.

If you’ve ever been driving and gotten your car truly stuck in the mud, you know that pushing harder on the accelerator doesn’t get you out.  It just uses up your fuel and makes a bigger mess.  (If you haven’t done this, then just take my word for it, because I have!)

When you’re feeling stuck, it can be important to get help so that you aren’t just spinning your wheels.

The first thing to do, though, is to take your foot off the gas.

I’m not saying to roll over and give up.  Not by a long shot.  There’s a third way that doesn’t involve fighting or giving up.  It’s the way of acceptance.

Doing just these two simple things will help you start down this other path.

  • Rest.

Though it may not always seem like it, resting is doing something, something important.  You’re giving yourself a chance to relax and refuel.  To catch your breath.  When you’re exhausted and spent, you don’t have the energy to get out of your rut or try anything new.  So take an intentional rest.

  • Be kind to yourself.

Stop fighting and judging yourself.  Let go of the shoulds and shouldn’ts.  If one pops up in your thoughts, just acknowledge it and let it drift away, like letting go of the string on a helium balloon. This means NOT telling yourself things like, “I can’t believe I just did that again!”  Instead, just notice the thought, take a deep breath and smile at it and yourself.  Just let go of the string.

Accepting the dirt you’re in is key.  It’s the path to accomplishing and creating what you want.

Remember that the dirt isn’t who you are, it’s just the medium you’re growing in.

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