I fought hard to belong to the group. I didn't think I was a fit and gradually I learned what it took to belong. There was rich learning, heartfelt connections and boundless opportunities. Without a doubt, I belonged. And that mattered because belonging has always haunted me as if I needed it to survive.
So why then, on a sunny spring morning did I leave? The consequences were swift. Only a couple of people asked about my wellbeing. The rest went silent leaving me to wonder if I had ever really belonged. It made me wonder even more why I had walked away from a collective of like minded, inspiring people who had demonstrated great care and concern for me.
Buried in my journals was the memorable quote I had written from Pema Chodron "Never underestimate the urge to bolt". And it did feel on some levels that what I was doing was bolting. For the next ten years, every time I left a group, individual or situation that no longer felt right to me, I wagged my inner finger and accused myself of bolting. Sometimes, I was right. Sometimes my inner judge was using my decision to diminish my self-esteem.
To underestimate that urge to bolt would be to avoid welcoming the lesson the discomfort is offering. It circumvents the possibility that this might actually be what I need most at this time in my life. And it challenges me to speak my truth, ask for what I want/need and be fully transparent with others. It can be the great catalyst for changing some self-limiting or self-destructive behaviour that gets in the way of real connection. That can feel like really hard work (see my previous blog on Choose Your Hard).
And sometimes, it is clear that this is no longer where I am meant to be to continue to live with integrity. Ten years ago I knew I couldn't handle the volume of communications and expectations and have space for other things in my life. The commitment it required to show up and be engaged was too much given the challenges I was facing at the time. Since then, I have sometimes bolted when I knew something was a bad fit and I'd joined for all the wrong reasons (trying to Rescue, fear of missing out, letting my ego override my sensibilities, etc.)
Now, when that urge to bolt comes up ... and it does ... I use the Power of Pause from my beloved TED* work to ask myself the deeper questions. Usually my instincts are right and I know I'm ready for the next step.
I'm curious ... what does 'bolting' look like in your life? Are you on the run, hiding from what you don't want to face? Are you choosing a loving response to changes in your inner landscape? Are you answering a deeper call to action or simply avoiding a truth.
Ms. Daryl Wood, CPCC is a fearless champion of No-Drama Living and Inner Resilience.