Living Turnaround Exercise
I love this quote from Loving What Is page 310 (SC):
So, to put The Work into action, begin with the voice inside you that’s telling us what to do. Realize that it’s telling you what to do. When it says, “He should pick up the socks,” listen to the turnaround I should pick up the socks,” and just do it. Stay in the flow that’s effortless and unending. Pick them up until you love it, because it’s your truth. And know that the only important house to clean is your mind.
Not to pick up the socks can be deadly. It’s how you stay in the war zone. What a bonus: You were waiting for everyone else to do it, and there you were, right under your own nose.
Some of you may not have heard of “Living Turnarounds” before. When you work on concepts from a Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheet, you can select one concept from your “Wants”, “Shoulds” and “Needs” and live with the turnarounds to the self and to others. What I mean by “living with the turnarounds” is that you live with the concept mindfully for either a day, a week or as long as you want.
Here’s an example: Recently, I was working on a Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheet about my mom. My statement was “I need my mom to give my dad want he wants.” In this case, my turnaround to the self was “I need me to give me what I want.” And the turnaround to others was “I need me to give others (it doesn’t matter who) what they want”. I have been living this concept for a few weeks now– this is how you learn to take an inquiry into your daily life and practice it. I love this exercise so much so that I pretty much do this every single day.
When I live with my turnarounds, I first list simple steps I can accomplish at any moment. For instance, if I want to give myself what I want, first I need to know what I want in any given moment. So, a simple step for me in this case is to sit down, close my eyes and feel if I sense any body sensations. (If I notice any body sensations then I am believing some stressful thoughts). I then literally ask myself what it is that I want.
This is how I practice the simple steps for me:
By sitting in a chair
By closing my eyes
By sensing any body sensations
By asking myself what I want
By agreeing with myself
By accepting what I want/what I need
Here are some things which I have noticed since I began living with the turnaround of “I need my mom to give my dad what he wants.”
Last weekend I really didn’t want to work, so I probably sat in front of the computer less than an hour all weekend. I had no appointments. I wanted to see the sunset. I wanted to see the trees in the quiet morning. So I did. I did all of that. I felt I was heard by myself. I felt I was cared for. I also wanted to run for a while, so I did. I spent extra time at the gym and ran for a while. As it happens, I also found that I suddenly craved pancakes…not sure why. But instead of telling myself I shouldn’t have them (which I normally would do) I went to a pancake joint nearby and had really good old-fashioned pancakes.
It had been a very long time since I listened to myself like this. I don’t even remember the last time I agreed to everything I told myself. When I listen to myself closely and carefully it calms me. I don’t need “a fix” to numb any uncomfortable feelings I may be having. I usually have a few cups of decaffeinated coffee a day and some kind of sweet treat when I feel I need ‘a fix’. But in this case I really didn’t need to have those to numb my feelings. I was full. I was heard. I was satisfied.
Here is another example:
A couple of days ago, I was feeling down. I think this may have been because of hormone changes in my body. I felt like my depression came back. I had zero energy and all I wanted to do was to stay in bed. I heard a lot of loud noise in myself which screamed “Get up! What are you doing?” “You are not depressed. You are just believing some negative thoughts right now. Do The Work and feel better!” “You need to go to gym. If you don’t, you will feel even worse about yourself…”
This self-attack voice kept shouting at me. I was in pain. Then I remembered the “I need me to give myself what I want” concept, and I decided to practice. First, I listened to me very carefully to find out what I really wanted to do in the moment. I surrendered myself to my thoughts. Those thoughts were telling me to stay in bed, so I did. I wanted to cry. I felt really bad about myself for not being motivated to do anything and for not feeling okay about myself.
At that moment, I felt bad about myself and I knew that there was nothing that I could have done about it other than just holding the space for the emotions to pass. So I watched and waited for those emotions to pass by. It was very painful process for a few moments, but I was not in that space for a very long time.
I realized that had I fought against my emotions, for example if I forced myself to go to gym or to do The Work then, I would have felt a lot worse and my depressed feelings would have stayed much longer.
As I was living through the depressed hours, there was no way I could have given others what they wanted. My husband wanted me to do something with him. He was worried about me and wanted to cheer me up. It was too much for me to deal with and I asked him to leave me alone for a while. It was much kinder for me to tell him what I needed in the moment rather than force myself to acquiesce or agree with him. I need to agree with me first, and only then could I genuinely agree with others. It is important to take care of oneself first.
The greatest thing about giving myself what I want is that I feel every moment is special. I don’t have to wait for something amazing to happen to feel special. I don’t have to wait for others to tell me something awesome or pay me a compliment to make me feel special. The most important thing is to listen to me. How great is that? Just listening to myself closely makes me feel so full and calm.
Sometimes we forget to listen to ourselves because we tend to want to hear what others say about us. We put so much weight on what others say about us that it can throw off our internal balance. But in reality, how we feel about ourselves is so important. The Living Turnaround Exercise is a way for us to learn how to communicate with our inner voice and learn to love ourselves. I love that…