Often I catch myself in the momentum of a thought stream I am sharing via social media and I am reminded that the ideas I am most adamant about hold truths for me. When I catch it, I slow down to wonder about why I am so focused on the particular lesson, concept, or idea. Why does it have my attention, what is it that I need to understand and apply to my own life experience?
I’m glad that I can catch it, because I know I am the only one I have any control over. If my objective is to change others it doesn’t work. The energy gets weird. If I am curious and desire to share from an inspired space, it’s all good. There’s no attachment to any particular outcome, it’s just a fun hobby that I am pulled toward.
Systems are interesting. Systems hold a lot of momentum. Systems are easy to push against because it can feel impersonal. Fictional. Inanimate.
It was maybe four years ago in the middle of a school year that I caught the momentum of a message I was focused on. And by ‘focused on’, I might mean ‘obsessed with’.
I wondered why I was so passionate about this idea of ‘pushing against’. I saw it so clearly in leadership. It’s so easy to be in a space of judgment of the person who is in front of you all the time – the one leading the meetings, making the decisions, having the ‘power’ presumably.
Because I caught myself in the momentum of this idea when we ‘push against’ something we create more of it, I was able to turn it toward me. Leading up to this realization, I assumed I was innocent. It was those in charge responsible for the stuck and powerless energy I was experiencing.
And then the light came on. By judging those in power over me, and the power over that power, and so on, I was pushing against an elusive, top-down system. The school system.
The school system was responsible for school violence. The school system was responsible for problematic behavior in the buildings. The school system was boring and outdated and created the problems. The school system was responsible for student death by suicide.
Because I was pushing against the system and holding it responsible for the problems I faced in my job, guess what I kept proving? Let’s just say that the evidence I needed to prove my stance never failed to present itself.
I felt so justified in fighting the system. This way I didn’t have to name a living, breathing human as responsible, or as a problem. And I didn’t get to be the problem either. I was a good person who saw the good in others, no one was at fault, no one was to blame. It was the system.
When one ‘pushes against’ anything it will never let you down. You will forever be right that it exists.
The opposite of ‘pushing against’ is being ‘pulled toward’. When we notice the energy and momentum of ‘pushing against’ we can be curious. The energy of ‘pushing against’ will undoubtedly include an element of judgement, comparison, or criticism.
Knowing what it is we are pushing against allows us an opportunity to be curious about what we desire more of, what it is we are pulled toward.
If I am angry at a school system because I feel it is not relevant, what is it I desire? I desire to be ‘up to speed’. To be part of something that gets desirable results. To be part of sustainable growth outcomes that build on themselves.
If I don’t like to feel powerless and the energy in my body feeling stuck, and/or spinning out of control, then my desire is to feel empowered. I like to focus on things that allow my energy to flow. I like to feel in control of my thoughts and feelings.
Catching ourselves pushing against, gives us an opportunity to be curious about what we are pulled toward.
One energy is moving upstream (fighting the current), and the other is downstream (flowing with the current). One keeps you stuck or spinning in more of the same, the other allows a sense of possibility and positive change.
When we care about how we feel we orient ourselves toward the flow of energy that feels good. It feels good because it is good.