November 12, 2007

I Want Out!

Have you ever had the thought, "I want out!"—out of your job, your relationship, your neighborhood, your country, parenthood, your commitments, prison, the hospital, the laundromat, your family reunion, this life in the body, any place or situation where you feel trapped, obligated, dead-ended?

Do you really want to know the truth? Ready to take a trip? Let's do The Work! You may want to say your answers to the questions below out loud, or write them down if it helps you to hold your realizations (I've answered the first two the way I would if I believed my thought, and you might say "no" instead).

If having a facilitator helps you to answer the questions honestly, you can pretend I am in front of you or on the telephone with you, asking them.

"I want out!"

Is it true?
Hell, yeah!

Can you absolutely know that it's true?

How do you react when you believe this thought, what happens?

Some questions you may wish to answer:

Can you know what's best for your path in the long run?
Can you know more than God/Reality?
Where do you feel it in your body when you hold this belief?
What pictures come to mind?
How do you treat people when you think the thought, "I want out"?
How do you treat yourself, how do you live your life? What's the self-talk? Do you turn to addictions: comfort foods, the gym, drugs, oversleeping, alcohol, video games, TV, the telephone, shopping, trashy novels, self-mutilation?
Who and what are you avoiding when you believe the thought, "I want out"?
Who are you attacking mentally, and how do you do that?
Where do you feel it in your body when you think and believe the thought, "I want out"?
When did the thought first occur to you; go back to that time and place, and re-experience it.
Whose business are you in, mentally, when you believe this thought...yours, theirs, God's/Reality's business?
Where does your mind travel when you hold this belief; what thoughts of the past and future arise?
What terrible thing do you fear would happen if you no longer believed you wanted out?
Why do you hold this belief, what does it bring you, how does it serve? Is it a motivator? Is it protecting you? Does it give you a sense of control? How's that working for you?

Who would you be without this thought? (Please don't answer blithely, "I would be love, I would be peace, I would be freedom." Ugh! Instead, feel it; get a picture of yourself, in the same situation, or with the same people, and notice how you would live life—how you may already have lived life—without this thought. How would you feel, physically and mentally? What would you do differently?)

Turn the thought around. (To the opposite, and to "my thinking" if it works for you.) Is the turnaround as true or truer? Give three specific, genuine examples from your life for each turnaround.

Go deeper. If the universe is friendly, why is it a good thing that you are not "out" but "in?"

©2007 by Carol L. Skolnick; all rights reserved.


Tim said...

Dear Carol,

How timely your posting!

This morning, Number One Son was due for an Outpatient hospital appointment but was too ill to attend!! Number Two Son bounced off the sofa and sprained his knee.

Number One Wife called me "a Mad irresponsible father" for not offering to take Number Two Son (via 2 buses in the rain) to A&E when he was running round the room with no major signs of injury. ("You care more about yourself than the kids!")

I wanted out all day - and then some. :)

Then I read your Blog and started to feel peaceful as soon as I read the first item on your list:

"Can you know what's best for your path in the long run?"

What, even this? Yes - and maybe *especially* this, seeing as how it's happening despite my permission anyway ;-)

Thank you so much for your wisdom and "output".


Carol L. Skolnick said...

Okay, I'm feeling ready to quit my job today.

"I want out!"

Is it true? I'm having doubts about my abilities today, and no, I don't want to quit.

How do you react when you believe this thought, what happens?

I'm feeling shaky and queasy. I think I am doing it all wrong. I'm in others' business...people I already work with (they should only know what I'm really like), people who don't like working with me, the "oversight committee." I want to call someone and whine. I'm not hungry but I'm thinking about what I can eat to push down the uneasiness. I'm not looking forward to teaching my class tonight. I'm sure everyone can see right through me, they already know I'm full of it and wishing they had spent their money elsewhere.

I'm avoiding looking at where there is room for improvement; I'd rather run instead. I feel hopeless. I attack my clients and mentors—past, present and future—in my mind. I blame Katie, she should have told me there'd be days like this! Of course she says she never has days like this, so that just feeds my story that I shouldn't be here doing this.

The thought first occurred to me at school, with other kids, during times I felt exposed and ashamed; one time that comes to mind was when I got stuck in the "rings" in gym class in junior high. I couldn't get out, and even after the gym teacher (who laughed at me along with everyone else) got me out, there was no way out; the picture has stayed with me for 35 years.

I'm afraid if I didn't believe this thought I would be delusional, falsely believing that everything is okay and that I'm safe when in fact I am not! (Good one.)

The thought appears to serve me by protecting me from further pain, but I'm in pain. It's not working.

Without this thought, I would be gentle with myself; I would slow down, hold me, breathe. I'd go over the things that have happened in the past few days/weeks/months/years and just see them as what they are/were, without the drama and judgments. I'd keep doing what I know to do. I'd be okay in this moment, intact, healthy, breathing. I am now thinking of the people waiting for me at the bookstore and loving the faces I imagine, loving the questions they could ask me, meeting them where they are, out of their business.

I could think of the person I spoke to today who got so upset as doing her best, and me too.

Turnaround to the opposite: "I don't want out." As true. When I am clear, I know that my work excites me, feeds me, that I'm good at it, that into this life a little rain must fall sometimes, and that even the rain is perfect, nourishing, takes me deeper. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing. I'm in love with it most of the time, and I love who shows up for it (including myself).

"I want in." Oh yes; this skating on the surface of things doesn't do it for me. I want to plunge, to feel everything, to die to the thoughts about my life, my work, that do not serve. Only then can I live fully, work with and give of my whole self.

"I want out of my thinking." Yes, and believing this has thrown me into depression, addictions, hiding. I don't have to do that anymore.

If the universe is friendly, why is it a good thing that I am not "out" but "in?" Because it shows me where I am still insecure and frightened; because even when I fuck up, it seems to help people, when I am upfront about it; because it shows me where I kick myself out of heaven and keep myself out, which hurts because I'm not really excluded or alone.