I remember my parents using the term “back-breaking work” when I was growing up. It referred to work that required a heaping ton of manual labor. For instance, the work I did yesterday. I’m in the process of moving into a neglected property (an acreage) in another part of Colorado. We have been having a lot of rain here and no one had been mowing the lawn (or more accurately, thistles and dandelions.) So I purchased the cheapest push mower with an engine that I could find and decided to go mow.
When I arrived to the property, the weeds were literally halfway up my shins. I fired up my new, shiny, red Toro and began to hack away. Those 90 minutes of mowing required the strength of my entire body. There were times when I was certain that I wouldn’t make it, wiping sweat off my face, barely able to catch my breath, but I made it!
By the time I arrived back home, pain and stiffness were starting to set in. I thought it would be a good idea to still go to my hot yoga class. Where I found the strength to get through, who knows! Overnight, ice packs and ibuprofen were my besties. As I lay flat on my ice pack in the quiet stillness of the night, it got me thinking. We will put forth tons of physical effort to see the fruits of our labor. But, will we put forth the effort it takes mentally to make the changes in our lives to be emotionally strong?
It comes down to having a vision. What kept me going with the mowing yesterday was my vision. I had a vision of how that yard was going to look freshly mowed. I could smell the freshly cut grass, and noticed how there was more grass under the shade of the trees where there was more moisture. I envisioned that with some TLC this summer, more beautiful grass, flowers planted in the flower beds, some container gardens, etc, and it got me through that mowing hell!
So, it’s easy for us to do the back-breaking work necessary for, let’s stick with my example, of a beautiful yard. Will we be willing to put forth that same amount of work for our emotional health? Do we have a vision for ourselves? Can you envision a life of happiness and joy? If not, it’s time to get out the mower, dandelion digger, and shovel, chop down and dig up the thistles and dandelions that are keeping your beautiful, lush, green grass from flourishing and growing. Will there be some pain involved? Yes. It’s a given, but I promise you, it gets better and you will heal. Little by little as you remove the choking weeds that keep you stagnant, the clouds of uncertainty and fear will begin to dissipate. In its place, you will notice the rays of sunshine peeking through the clouds. Soon, you will be that strong flower that aims its face into the full sun smiling, even as you take a few knocks from the rains that are necessary for your growth.
I encourage all of you, as you feel the physical pains from over-extending yourself, to let it be a reminder. Have I done this amount of work to stretch my emotional wellness lately? If the answer is “no” well then, you know where to find me.
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions.