The Answers Show Up When You Stop Thinking

When I realized it was becoming time for me to leave Cerado, I gave them three months notice. I spent the first month second-guessing that decision and trying to figure out how I could rearrange my contract and stay. When I finally confirmed the choice, I promised myself that I’d spend the second month freely exploring what matters to me and what I might be looking for next, without biasing that thinking with actual “real world” opportunities and limitations. And then I’d get practical in the third month.

Yesterday was the last day of the Month Two, and I wasn’t feeling very confident that I had unlocked enough answers. I was getting stuck on the tension between “How can I be happy?” and “How can I be productive?”, and mostly just tried to pass the time by sleeping a lot.

Magically, though, sometime around 1am last night, I gave up on sleeping and started writing. And a month’s worth of half-answered questions and quickly-scribbled post-it notes of wisdom finally clicked into place.

The answer is that I already have all the answers. I know exactly what’s right for me and what’s not, what I should be doing next and what I shouldn’t, what matters to me and what doesn’t. I just can’t hear those answer while I’m thinking, while I’m distracted, or while I’m trying to numb myself. And it just so happens that I spend most of my day thinking, distracted, or numb — habitually. Intentionally, in a way, to avoid those answers. Because accessing them is actually scary as hell.

I can thank Hugh MacLeod, Kate Bornstein, John T Unger, and a few other key smart folks for giving me enough post-it notes of wisdom to finally piece together why it’s so scary: I’m still very dependent on receiving approval from the people I care about. Or rather, I’m terrified of their negative judgments.

Sort of.

This narrative’s admittedly a little old for me — I’ve had to smash through the “who I’m supposed to be” walls a number of times already for the sake of my own survival, and miraculously I didn’t lose anyone I cared about in the process. Some relationships did end up shifting, but it was usually to a place of greater respect. And yet somehow, the fear of becoming an embarrassment, a burden, or someone unworthy of love and respect as the result of doing what feels most right for me still creeps in and changes my behavior — enough to give me plenty of excuses to avoid-like-hell the activities that clear my head and let me see what’s next for me. I’m talking about little acts like having my coffee before I check my email, more intentional things like meditation or exercise, and gestures as basic as letting myself fall asleep without aid or a movie in front of me.

I don’t need to think my way through this transitional period. I need to stop thinking, clear my head, and hold onto the wisdom that doing what feels right is worthwhile, even when it takes me further away from what’s safe.

(Easy…. right? *snort*)

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6 Responses to “The Answers Show Up When You Stop Thinking”

  1. Nakedjen Says:

    Dearest Sarah,

    I needed that. Thank you, very very very much.
    Also, please listen to you. Because you really know best for you.

    xoxox

  2. markresch Says:

    breathe!

  3. Gaby Says:

    I completely completely agree with you. Who we are is who we are and we don't need to think about that.

    Awesome blog :)
    best wishes

  4. Avery Says:

    Hi there,

    I've been going through four months of transition and seem to finally be coming out the other side more or less right-side-up with at least one foot on the ground. In the transition I finally was able to give my gender and sense of self the time of day they have been asking for for years. I came to some pretty real and pretty scary conclusions. I was all gung-ho to go for it and present as androgynous as often as possible but now joining my new community and living arrangements I feel that conviction slipping. Thank you for reminding me to hold and follow for what I know is right for me.

    I wish you best of luck and peaceful discernment with your last month!

    ~Avery

  5. Dopp Juice » Blog Archive » Feed the Freak Says:

    […] me blogging recently about noticing that the answers show up when I stop thinking — that when I relax my thoughts and let go of distractions, I gain access to the clear mind […]

  6. Gangster95 Says:

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