We like to get accolades and we love to receive encouragement and that is all good. But if everything you do in order to rise above the effects of your burnout is tied to some type of social reward or to convince yourself that you are doing something even when you aren’t making changes, then you are aggravating the issue. I call this accessorizing. People do it all the time. We add things here and there that look good from the outside but we don’t create lasting change. The reality is that when we do this we’re not interested in investing real energy, time and effort to our wellbeing, at least not yet. But we do it because we want to feel good about ourselves for a while. No harm there, right? The trouble arises when this becomes a habit. You do these things, try to cover your unwillingness to change and keep on suffering . We have all done it, it is a form of pretending, but if our goal is to heal we have to stop accessorizing and start taking care of the important stuff.
This is how it looks like:
For type A people, the “got getters” and career oriented folks this bypassing tends to be consuming information. Taking another class, another workshop, listening to another speaker, going to a seminar, reading another book even getting an accreditation. All good on paper, but at the core, nothing get’s implemented. You either end up overwhelmed with all the new information or you now have a new very intellectual arsenal of responses (called excuses) to avoid guidance. You get good at talking about the solution to others without acting on this knowledge (basically blah, blah, blah). The danger here is that since you “know more”, the ego says “Good” we did our job. That isn’t recovery.
For the empaths and care givers: The one’s that put themselves last and can’t say No. This group loves the metaphysical and “pseudo spiritual” accessories. The crystals and the oils, the classes on chakras, sound healing, mystical divinations and all the kumbaya circles. It is also common to use the stars, planets and other ideas not to take full responsibility for our lives (Mercury retrograde, full moon, etc). This, of course, has nothing to do with spiritual work. It is entertaining, soothing and fun. These practices are “add ons” to one’s serious work, alone they don’t create change. This isn’t recovery either.
I think that most people stay in the shallow waters because they don’t want to own their role in the situation. This hurts, of course. It is you who is making the choices that are making you suffer. You know it deep down and you are afraid of looking in. So, a way to feel good is to participate in public displays of pseudo – self – help. We get validated and pretend something of lasting value is going to happen. We invest our money in something we like and get a good feeling. But as we do this we stay in the comfort zone, stuck in the same habits of thinking and behaving. Nothing is really happening. The sad part is that this hurts too and it hurts more because it stays in your psyche as a failure or betrayal. You know deep down that you’re playing tricks.
I am not here to tell you not to use these modalities. Learning is good and soothing therapies are of great value. But I’m here to tell you that that is not where burnout recovery is. The recovery is in the day to day, where no one sees you. To me, the ability to keep your deepest work quiet, sacred and special is important. We each get to choose what that is, and the choosing doesn’t involve comfort, it involves a willingness to get out of the comfort zone. Whatever it is, when we get real down to the business of repairing burnout, we’re mature enough to do it consistently bringing respect and devotion to it.
The truth is that this is easier said than done, I admit it. I have gone through this and I have worked with countless people that say they want to change but resist the commitment. They want a prescriptive solution from me. But I’d be lying if I did that. Only the truly coachable comes out of burnout. That’s my experience. I remember wanting to heal on “my terms”. It had to be the way I liked it, it had to go with my preferences. Well, that isn’t the case for most things in the recovery world. I ended up lopsided and still burned out. I was the type A researcher, taking class after class and devouring books. I resisted taking uncomfortable action until the symptoms got very real. “This isn’t working!!” down on my knees I went. I could have blame myself (I’m lazy , silly, my body is broken, the usual) or I could let go of my predilections and work. This work was different though, it felt uncomfortable but also liberating. I had to believe in something outside of my preferences and my intellect. I had to believe that I would be supported by life in my saying YES to myself – it wasn’t lonely work, it was sacred. In this work my clinging was dismantled along with my labels (struggling immigrant, busy student, busy professional, empath, care giver…). I had to be willing to face the music because I was done pretending that “I could figure it out”
Devote yourself to a practice that heals you. Don’t fall in the trap of “accessorizing” your life with more knowledge, magic remedies or mystical rituals. Be about it. Embody the process. This isn’t all that pretty, but it is Ok, you don’t need to brag about it. Privacy is for you to be with YOU. Of course it’s still good to surround yourself with others that are also doing the serious work of becoming, but don’t count on them for keeping a score or carrying you. I also recommend getting guidance, that’s what I offer, but again, when it comes down to the work it happens in your day to day. This is your work. It is between you and God (universe, Spirit…) No one is keeping a score and no one can do it for you.
This becoming is the work of a lifetime. And what are you becoming you may ask? A better human and a clear manifestation of the Love that made you. No longer a frazzled, tired & irritated being that forgot who he is. That’s where the work is at. That’s what the systems, technologies & practices I encourage do for my clients. Their main work with me is coachability. Because if you aren’t coachable you are resisting life’s cues, you are missing the daily lessons. If you aren’t coachable the Universe cannot help you. Ask your self now: How coachable are you? Have you been accessorizing instead of healing? If so, How is that working out? (my advice is to interview your loved ones on the last question, they will tell you the truth )
Examples of things you are protecting (clinging to) to stay in your comfort zone (keeping Spirit out)
- You cannot sleep well but you still watch TV and look at your devices at night
- You feel anxious often but you still drink caffeinated drinks
- You have hormonal imbalances (thyroid, sex, adrenal) but you continue to eat sugar, gluten and processed foods
- You are overwhelmed but you don’t ask for help (super hero syndrome)
- You wake up tired but don’t have a strong bedtime curfew or scheduled time to rest
- You are exhausted but still do a hard core workout OR you have discipline/ weight/ mobility issues but still only do ying yoga ( or are sedentary).
People that are successful in life are coachable and have a beginners mind. How can you be more coachable? To start, be honest with yourself, notice how often you avoid discomfort and listen closely to your excuses not to change. Notice them, own your role, seat with the discomfort and be willing to re-direct yourself. This is yoga in the real world and I’m here to help you. Are you willing to do your part? The rest, all the lectures and the metaphysics, is pink paint plastered over your suffering and that for me is a painful lie. Close the door darling and let’s do the work of your lifetime!
Coach Maria Marcano