This one practice will help you stay anchored to your goals.
TURTLE FAST OR TURTLE SLOW
I live in Alberta, Canada and according to the Alberta Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy, the Painted Turtle is the only turtle species native to Alberta. They hang out in ponds, marshes, lakes, ditches and slow-moving streams with soft, sandy or muddy bottoms. Personally, I have never seen one but as a highly sensitive person, I often look to turtles as a way to better understand myself.
Western Painted Turtles struggle in Alberta because they lose their habitats when wetlands are drained and roads are constructed. They are also more prone to predators during droughts and we tend to have more of those now. Water pollution and release of exotic turtles into the wild by humans who no longer want to take care of their pets also challenge their population.
I assume that, like us, in ideal conditions they thrive but meeting their needs and creating those ideal conditions is not easy and frankly, not always possible.
As an empath or a highly sensitive person, you face your own set of challenges when you want to achieve a goal. Your nervous system processes information more deeply than most people and that causes you to become overwhelmed more often than most. It is very difficult to stay focused on your goals when you feel overwhelmed.
In my practice, I notice that when empaths and highly sensitive people don’t understand this about themselves, they compare themselves to other people and expect that their journey to achieving their goals should be the same – but it’s not.
When you expect yourself to be able to achieve your goals in the same way, you don’t take your unique needs and challenges into consideration and you beat yourself up when you can’t meet your own expectations. You want to be functional and productive but you lose motivation and energy more easily when you’re not tending to your emotional needs. You think you’re too lazy or you question yourself and wonder whether or not what you want to achieve is even possible for you or you think you should be different and end up being at war with yourself.
It’s how I imagine a turtle might feel if it expected itself to be a rabbit.
The Painted Turtle moves slowly when its on land but in water it can reach speeds up to 20 mph. That’s a significant difference!
What if, as an empath or a highly sensitive person, you’re a little like a turtle and you need to take the spiritual properties of water into consideration when you’re trying to achieve your goals?
Spiritual Properties of Water
In my spiritual practice, I see the element of water as the realm of emotions. Someone who understands how to meet their emotional needs achieves their goals like a Painted Turtle swims in a lake. Someone who doesn’t understand what their emotional needs are or how to meet them achieves their goals like that same turtle waddling in the forest.
One of the most important emotional needs empaths and highly sensitive people have is that they must REGULARLY process, transmute and release the emotions and/or energy they absorb.
I capitalized the word ‘regularly’ for a reason. It’s where I see most empaths and highly sensitive people get stuck. They assume that since they processed a big emotional experience at one time or another they are good. They forget it’s a forever kind of practice. As an empath or a highly sensitive person, processing, transmuting and releasing your emotions or the energy you absorb is a daily practice, like brushing your teeth. Your teeth aren’t going to stay strong and clean just because you brushed them that one time a few months ago. The motivation and energy you need to achieve your goals isn’t going to remain strong and clear just because you saw a therapist once upon a time.
Empaths and highly sensitive people are more easily bogged down by energy and emotional information – and I don’t just mean their own. You can be an emotional empath that absorbs other people’s thoughts and emotions. You can be a physical empath that can feel in your body where another person’s body is sick or not doing well. You can be an empath that picks up all the subtle energy in spaces, nature or the environment. You can be a plant empath that can sense what trees and plants need. You can be an animal empath that is deeply connected to and influenced by how animals feel. You can be an intuitive empath that just starts downloading information about a person’s life and past just by looking at them.
All this information affects your body. Empaths and highly sensitive people have to deal with the normal every day emotional challenges that arise in their own lives like the emotional roller coaster rides that come with being in a relationship and raising children and striving to achieve career goals but they have the added burden of having to feel, sort through and release everything they absorb from the emotional roller coaster rides everyone else in their life are on as well.
So yeah, feeling motivated and ready to tackle the To Do list gets a little more challenging for empaths and highly sensitive people.
We can’t just push through, shut down, check out, self-medicate, avoid, numb out or look for physical solutions to solve emotional problems. It may work in the short term but it never works over time. (And truthfully, it doesn’t even work in the short term because it ends up putting too much stress on the body.)
These are some of the things I do to ensure I’m processing, transmuting or releasing the emotional information I regularly absorb. Whether or not you do these things, find a regular emotional release practice that works for you.
You’ll know your emotional release practice works for you because your body will show you that it works. You’ll feel more focused, clear, certain and you’ll have more energy, be more motivated, have a greater capacity to handle setbacks and disappointments and you’ll have a higher tolerance for the challenging emotions that arise in day to day life.
You’ll know you’ve neglected your emotional release practice or you need to devote more time to processing, transmuting or clearing your energy and emotions when you feel scattered, lost, uncertain, confused, overwhelmed, distracted, overly emotional, unmotivated, lethargic, anxious or when you start to procrastinate, fall into addictive behaviors, spiral into negative thinking or feel stuck and unable to move forward no matter how hard you try.
Make It a Regular Practice
To stay anchored to your goals, find the emotional release practices that work for you and make them a regular practice. Do them even when you don’t feel like you have to. It’s like exercise for the body that way. You do it even when you feel good so that you avoid emotional build up. I know when I feel good, I tend to drop some of my regular emotional release practices and I always pay for it in the end so don’t do that. Try your best to stay on top of your emotional needs by visiting them regularly.
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