I, Susan, am writing this post 8 days into a 23-day cleanse. As many of you know, I experience a wild ride when it comes to my body, weight and restrictive eating. I have been known to rant, on occasion, about diets, supposed 10-day “miracle” solutions and other ways to use discipline and willpower to stay thin. They upset me.
I prefer more self-accepting and caring pathways for addressing body image and beliefs about my “correct” weight and size. I abhor our cultural push for women to be thin and, after all my own weight fluctuations, have tried to focus on staying in a more enlightened space of self-love and acceptance for myself at any size or shape.
So why am I on a cleanse?
It all comes down to what I call “Chill and Drive.”
Let me explain.
Chill and Drive
Chill and Drive are choices for dealing with helplessness and vulnerability. As living beings navigating our way through this human experience, we are quite vulnerable and helpless. No one really likes to hear that news nor feel it, but it’s true. So, in response, we develop our own go-to strategy for coping with this reality.
For most of us that means, trying to power our way through life! We deal with our helplessness by focusing on what’s happening outside of us and attempt to get as much control over life as we can. That’s the DRIVE choice. When we are in Drive mode we work hard, do what we should and try to control anything that gets thrown our way. We believe we can will anything to happen if we are disciplined and strive hard enough.
The other path, which involves a bit more inner focus, is Chill. This path involves listening to our inner guidance and wisdom. When we are in Chill mode we focus on “being” more than “doing”. Often with this approach there is more acceptance and compassion about what we are doing even if it isn’t creating the outer outcomes we want or expect.
I can imagine that you might be thinking, that the Chill path is the way to go. It sounds like a closer walk with enlightenment. However, I think both have value and that the key is in recognizing the choice between the two.
Two Masters Thoughts on This
Years ago, two great women in the field of humanistic psychology, Virginia Satir and Elizabeth Kubler-Ross did a joint speaking event about what they believed was the key to transformation and change.
Virginia Satir’s thoughts boiled down to love. For her, the most important driver of transformation was loving yourself and others. As humans beings, our biggest driver is to feel loved and experience our loving. When we find a place of self-love, we are able to become congruent and transformation is possible. This to me speaks to the choice of Chill and is indeed profound wisdom.
Later, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross came on the stage and completely disagreed. For her, it is not love, but discipline that is the key to transformation. She spoke of how discipline is the act of using one’s will to engage in choice and that is what leads to transformation. For me, this is the choice of Drive and is equally profound wisdom.
Having had a chance to meet and work personally with each of these masters, I come away believing both things are true!
Chill and Drive are both important elements for transformation valuable on the path for sustaining change.
My Current Tale of Chilling and Driving
Now back to my diet. Yes, I am owning up to being a “diet,” but I prefer to call said diet a “cleanse,” a “detox” or a “step on my heath-sustaining plan”.
Here’s the deal. I have been talking about other less drastic measures for a long time. Things like limiting my craft beer intake or maybe avoiding carbs and sweet treats that seemed to creeping back into life on a way too regular basis!
For a long time, I was trying to be more thoughtful and kind to myself. I was trying to listen to my inner wisdom and voice about what to eat. When I got away from my desired healthier choices, I would give myself a self-talk like: “It’s okay, you’ll get back on track. Just wait and practice acceptance.”
Basically, I was living on the Chill side of life.
But there was no doing! The truth is, kindness and trusting my inner voice were not getting me going in the direction I wanted.
I know enough about myself to know when I am stuck in a pattern around my health and eating. The Chill path was no longer serving me.
Which meant I needed to make a different choice! So, I decided to step over to Drive. For me, that meant taking charge, controlling what I eat and powering my way through a fairly restrictive eating plan for 23 days.
Now well into the process, I am appreciating my choice to DRIVE. Yes, it requires powering my way through and, sometimes, I have to willfully override the part of me that is asking for a softer approach or some food to numb out a perceived threat.
Here’s the thing – I don’t want to stay in Drive mode constantly. And I don’t need to stay in Chill mode constantly.
My intention now is to Drive and Chill. My intention is to not get stuck believing one is better or worse than the other and to, instead, notice both the wisdom from the inside and the feedback from the outside.
How do you navigate and deal with helplessness and vulnerability? Do you prefer Driving or Chilling? How aware are you of the choices you are making?
CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke
Coaches, Business Consultants, Speakers and Authors of The Beauty of Conflict
CrisMarie and Susan work leaders and teams, couples in business, and professional women.
They help turnaround dysfunctional teams into high performing, cohesive teams who trust each other, deal with differences directly, and have clarity and alignment on their business strategy so they create great results.
Check out their website: www.thriveinc.com. Connect with CrisMarie and Susan on LinkedIn. Watch their TEDx Talk: Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It! Find your copy of The Beauty of Conflict: Harnessing Your Team's Competitive Advantage here.