Constipated energy causes problems.
I can’t lay claim to that wonderful observation, it came from my dear friend Allison as she tried to reassure me after a not-so-pleasant confrontation with my roommate this past weekend. The analogy couldn’t be more accurate.
I made what I thought was a reasonable request of my roommate: to move some boxes from the living room to a storage room. Sounds simple, right? The problem, however, isn’t so much the request, but the fact that the boxes had been sitting there for months and months, a fact I chose to ignore time and time again.
Each time I entered the living room, I saw the boxes and would get upset with them being there. But each time I purposely ignored the little voice inside my head that said to confront him. That voice was a clear impulse to action, urging me to address the issue before it became a real problem.
I wanted to keep the peace, so each time I turned a deaf ear to the impulse and hoped the situation would resolve itself. I didn’t stop there, however. I talked to my friends and family about it, I thought about it frequently and had a steady stream of daydreams about it. In turn, I was letting my negative reaction to the boxes become a big energy block.
I reached my limit when I discovered the boxes had multiplied in the past several weeks. Instantly, I felt energy draw up into my body, surging its way through my system as if I stuck my finger in a light socket. My face flushed and my heart raced. It was strong enough that I had to close my eyes for a moment before I could even think about my next move.
Thankfully, I was able to regain my senses and contain my anger long enough to finally talk to my roommate directly in a tactful and careful manner. I immediately felt better although I was a bit shaky. Without getting into detail, let’s just say that the situation went downhill from there.
The take away from this story is this: how unnatural and odd it felt to honor myself by taking action. It seemed as if I was taking back my power by standing up for myself, yet I felt worse than I had before the confrontation. Why?
Allison’s reassuring words put me at ease.
“Saying something, I think, is way better than saying nothing. It lets energy out, lets steam out. Constipated energy causes problems, so way to go,” she wrote in an email.
She is right, of course, and while I felt better about honoring myself, I had a new enemy to fight: my ego. For the next several hours, I was embroiled in a full-on battle with my thoughts and imaginations. I remained conscious enough to attempt—many, many times—to direct my thoughts in a more positive direction but each time my ego emerged the victor. Even when I was lucky enough to distract myself for a few moments by taking a walk or doing chores, I caught my imagination replaying the confrontation or dreaming up future arguments, none of which were honoring to my roommate or myself.
The challenge, of course, is that I didn’t act on the original impulse—the one that said, “You should talk to him about this before it gets out of hand.” Instead of taking action, I chose to internalize the problem, which my ego was then only too happy to grab a hold of and not let go. Each time I chose inaction, my ego became further attached and the problem (as well as my ego) got bigger and stronger.
Ignoring impulses leads to a degradation of spirit. Impulses come from deep within the inner self, pointing the way to effective outcomes. So when we choose to ignore the directions from the inner self, we trap constructive energy within the psyche where it leads to problems.
Damming up energy, such as emotions, can only go on for so long. Energy always seeks movement and release, so bottling it up causes pressure to build, stagnate and eventually erupt. As the energy builds, we may not always see it directly or acknowledge it, but it’s there, waiting for us to do something with it.
No prescription needed
As a result of all this, I’m proposing a slightly offbeat solution: an ego laxative. You don’t need a prescription and there are no pesky side effects. In fact, your spirit will actually be strengthened. You will, however, need to follow directions.
When presented with an impulse, honor it as much as possible. Impulses may appear strange, often presenting a confusing or undesirable path of action. But the action only appears undesirable because we’re conditioned to not trust our impulses. Or, we let our ego and intellect interfere and come up with a whole list of reasons why we shouldn’t act on the impulse.
Acting on impulses is honoring to the spirit, even if you don’t act on the first one, or second, or third. Those impulses are your soul’s way of saying “this is a good move for you” and it’s your job to take notice and do something with the information. When my roommate situation came to a head, I had the impulse to finally assert myself and take action. It was loud and clear. It may have taken some time for me to act, but I finally did and in the end was the best solution.
When we get in the habit of honoring our impulses, the ego relaxes. It comes to accept those messages form the inner self and in time begins to understand that they represent trusted, quality information. A soft, flexible ego is the goal and impulses are a way to get there.
Give yourself an ego laxative when you’re presented with an opportunity to act on an impulse even if it feels strange to do so. It takes practice but is very worthwhile in the end.