Do I Really Have to Get Sick To Relax?

 In Self Love, Wisdom Blog

My whole life for as long as I can remember I have had a deep and primal internal drive whose job it has been to propel me forward… into the next job, house, or project. This drive was like a motor with the power and throttle of a speed boat, almost always on, sometimes in neutral (not often) and never completely off to just float in the water. It was constantly moving under the surface to do better, be better and have better.

I received a lot from this motor, for years it had been necessary for my survival. It propelled me out of a small-minded suburb… into college, later graduate school, then up the corporate ladder, out to California and eventually it catapulted me into the courage to leave my six-figure job to pursue my passion to teach, write and speak about self-love (a passion I only found on one of those rare occasions I let myself float with the motor off.)

But somewhere in the past three years, I began to see the cost of the continuously running motor, and I began to see the deeply ingrained patterns that ran me ragged…

COST: I had become the gas station slave to my life (and this motor),,, I worked harder and more than I had to because I had to fuel the motor with MY energy. This meant I had to work almost all the time. Sure I could take short breaks but I had to be ready to go back to fueling because eventually the motor would need more fuel, and as the gas attendant I was the only one to do it, in my mind. My internal psyche was hard wired to believe that I had to put the energy into my book, courses, websites, or whatever wouldn’t generate the energy needed to sustain my life and my business. I had tons of faith in the universe to provide me opportunities, to show me the way and to be there when I fell… but I did not trust (or know how to trust) that it would do the majority of the fueling for me.

PATTERN: I have to drive and strive in order to survive. This “Carrot Chasing Pattern”, and all Carrot Chasing Patterns keep us always chasing ‘tomorrow’ for the day ‘when’ XX will be true. Up until my early 30s, I had chased the carrot of happiness, the belief that a new house, job or anything external would make me ‘happy.’ At the age of 33, when I finally gave up that carrot and got that happy had to come from inside of me, I started chasing another carrot… I have enough of XX to finally relax, breathe, let go. For me that looked like beliefs – many subconscious, some not — like “If I got XX book sales, or get on national TV or have XX amount of money then finally I wouldn’t feel this massive pressure to strive, drive and make my life, my dreams and my intentions happen.

But the truth is that just like my happiness, the day that I will finally feel like I can relax, let go, breathe and trust that I am indeed taken care of will never come from an external measure like money, time, or achievements. It has to come from inside of me first. If I believe somewhere inside of me that I have to drive and strive to survive, I will continue to push myself until I fall over in exhaustion (which I have.)

We all have these self-sabotaging patterns, beliefs and habits that drive us, that take us away from what our hearts and souls truly want, the problem is that most of us have no idea that they are the one fueling that motor that never seems to shut off. The way I found this striving/driving carrot chasing pattern – and the way I find most of my patterns is through one of my 40-day self-love practices, this one called the Summer of Self-Love, designed to teach women, including ME, how to release the self-sabotaging pattern and pressure off of having to do, be and have it all… and replace it with the self-loving habit of “Receiving”

Here is how it happened…

On Day 7 of our RECEIVING practice, my power boat hit a brick wall. I awoke with an excruciating pain on my left side. I NEVER get sick, but on this day my body said different. I sat up, ouch! I got out of bed and couldn’t stand straight… I crawled back into bed, totally confused.

I looked over to my partner Noah’s nightstand and his deck of Doreen Virtue’s Angel oracle cards lit up as if to get my attention (oracle cards are decks of cards in which each card contains a message, piece of wisdom or inspiration.) Now, I NEVER use his Angel cards. But then again, I was having a NEVER kind of day, so I reached over (ouch), opened the box, held the Angels in my hand and asked, “Angels, what do I need to “do” to RECEIVE today?” The card I pulled was, no kidding, “CLEAR YOURSELF… ask the angels to absorb any toxic energies you have absorbed.” Hmmm. that made sense! I clearly had some toxins stuck in my kidneys making the left one hurt like heck.

Over the following 2 days, I visited my acupuncturist, drank weird herbs, slept, got angry that I was sick, blamed myself for being sick (yes, I get mad at myself for being sick), and the evening of third day, at the urging of my girlfriend to just let myself be sick, I finally surrendered and gave myself permission to ENJOY being sick, in bed. Within 24 hours, I realized three things:

  1. 1. I had been getting the message to slow down since we started the receiving practice, but I couldn’t find the throttle to turn off the motor. I didn’t know how to slow down to the speed the universe was asking me to, so I smashed myself into a brick wall (aka ouch side pain.)
  2. I have had a pattern for my entire lifetime that I no longer need, and that I am finally ready to release. My pattern, tied to my basic survival, was that if i wasn’t striving or driving then I was not surviving. I released that pattern and in it’s place, I installed the belief that I am a finely tuned instrument in the universe’s orchestra, and I know that as such I am always taken care of. I will play my best, take care of myself so I can play with the most power possible, and that is very different energy than striving.
  3. I love floating. I remember as a kid, that I had a hard time learning how to float, I always sank. I think I had a hard time trusting that I could float on my own. So one of my favorite things to do at our summer cottage became to get on one of those big plastic floats, float in the lake in the sun, knowing that I was held by the float and it by the water. Only then could I relax. I was only 7 – patterns start early!

We all have patterns that keep us from receiving… that keep that striving, driving, surviving, motor running.

I INVITE you to ask yourself these two questions to uncover and transform your patterns so that you too can learn a deeper level of trust and open yourself up to receive.

1. What is/are the underlying motivation, fear, or belief that keeps you driving, pushing, striving, always doing, or trying to make it happen? Think back through your life and look at the circumstances and experiences. You will find you answer there. Pick one pattern and make the choice to shift it. Once you bring it to awareness, the universe will meet you to help you make the shift.

2. Can you float? And do you? Do you spend ample time floating, and do you trust the universe to hold you up when you do? What beliefs and patterns can you shift or embrace to give you more floating time and more access to the universe fueling your tank?

I will leave you with this thought… a wise, happy and wealthy man once told me that the key to success was to spend your energy getting to a stream that was already running and then allow that stream to carry you. People who work way harder than they have to, and put too much pressure on themselves, he said, those are the people who spend all their energy trying to create their own stream.

So this summer, I invite us all to paddle over the stream that is running fully with the energy of the divine feminine and masculine, and let them be the fuel that powers us as we play as finely tuned instruments in their symp
hony of life. I’m here on my float, trusting, paddle on over!

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Showing 21 comments
  • Giulietta Nardone

    Hi Christine,
    Great post! Many folks will relate to this.
    I am a floater, an enjoyer of life, a laughaholic, an exploraholic, a encourageraholic, a karaokesingeraholic and adventuraholic.
    Being a workaholic was one aholic that never appealed to me for whatever reason. My patterns revealed themselves in a different place: I didn’t stand up for myself.
    Oh, I did as a child, but societal institutions punished me for that. Spent a lot of time in school corners for laughing or refusing to follow what I thought were silly rules.
    Fortunately, I noticed my pattern and met it head on and Giulietta the Muse was born!
    Fun, post … Enjoy floating.

  • Christine Arylo

    Giuletta – Thank you for sharing your self sabotaging patterns – we all have them don’t we. I am so happy to hear that Giuletta the Muse has been freed! I have a lot of muse energy myself. Way more fun to be a muse than an ‘aholic’ of anything. And yes, I am enjoying the floating. with heart c.

  • Lisa

    Great message!
    I am at the place where my new job is taking a little longer than I wanted to get busy and dating isn’t working (I am newly divorced after 20 years of marriage)…so right now I think I am being forced to float so that I can concentrate on myself, get stronger and respect myself so that I can change from the person who would do cartwheels trying to impress everyone, including my own children. Thank you for opening my eyes to that.

  • Good and gracious evening

    Hey Christine,
    Thank you so much for these much needed words…they reaffirmed what I am doing right now in my life. I retired from 30 years of social work 6 years ago, went to seminary for 2 years and began a second career working for the church…I have had one illness after the other since last September. Finally in February I listened to my body and heart and began planning to move closer to family out of state and not work for a few months. I have a pension so that made the decision a little easier, but being a driven woman, some days have been a test (I moved over a month ago) as I keep thinking I should be working and that I don’t deserve this luxery of rest, reading, rest, walking, reading…you get the picture.
    Thanks so much for affirming my decision at age 57 to slow down and learn to Be on this journey called my life.
    Peace, love and joy,

  • Carol Faciane

    Hi Christine,
    You made my day, the subject today was exactly what I needed. My prayer for the past two days , was for clarity of mind. the article today made me realize that I don’t have run my motor into the ground to realize that I am enough and the universe supports me.Keep up the good work of enlightening other women who strive so hard to be their best.

  • Stephanie

    I became very sick before I learned to find that swim in the right stream. Unfortunately, I hurt my body to the point that I could no longer work a year ago. I found a holistic doc and now am learning to enjoy life and respect my body. I tried all kinds of meds to help with ADHD, anxiety, and depression. I now take time to eat fresh foods, pray, swim, and relax each day. I am still fighting to restore my health but I am enjoying my days much more. Thanks for such an insightful article.

  • Janis K. Wheeler

    Thank you Christine. I can really relate to your post. I am a big giver, a business owner, and am striving to reinvent myself as an author and teacher of my inspiration. Giving myself permission to stretch my voice out into the world is a huge step. It’s all a lot to handle.
    Remembering that the Universe is generously abundant, and turning to receive feels good. I like the idea of floating and of receiving. We are all taught to “get” rather than to receive with ease and gratitude. It is a big shift I am working on making permanent. Thank you for your post. I enjoyed your wisdom.

  • Liz

    I can see that I have some issues since my strong gut reaction to most of what I just read in this blog about “floating” and finding a stream and letting it carry you rather than making your own, was “how lazy!” and “how passive” and you won’t get anywhere in life if you don’t create your own xyz… I find myself losing respect for the “floaters.” I hear all of this in my mother’s voice. How does one go up against this kind of programming???
    I’m reading this and having this reaction in the midst of a complete burnout overworked phase, where every night I go to bed stressed out, asking my boyfriend why do I do this to myself and how can I stop this but still be happy (I have created lots of great opportunities for myself and been very successful by being this way). Oh yes, and last night, I started to have sharp pain on the right side of my belly. What did I think? Oh good, maybe its appendicitis, and then I’d HAVE to rest for at least a few days. When the pain went away no more than 10 minutes later, a part of me was actually disappointed!
    Very timely blog Christine, thanks so much. I’m interested in your thoughts about my response. Oh yes, also, I enthusiastically did sign up for the summer of love, and guess what? haven’t found time to do a single part of it : (

  • Sassy

    Hi Christine,
    You mean it’s not just me running myself ragged. I don’t even know HOW to relax unless I force myself. That makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it. It’s funny but when I do try and get myself to relax I think about when I was a kid and I would float in the lake on one of those big tractor inner tubes. So, floating is for me too. I lost my job several years ago and have been trying to create some self-employment that I can enjoy and I am always at loose ends it seems. I have ideas running through my head all of the time and I KNOW that if I don’t do something I am going to have some major health problems. Thanks for reminding me with your health issue that I need to settle myself down. I have learned a lot from the summer of self-love and those ‘mean girls’ inside of me. Thanks for the insight and showing all of us ‘the way’.

  • Charity

    Hello Christine,
    So enjoy your pearls of wisdom. Guess what today is? My own self-proclaimed day off! I am a mom of two gorgeous kids; happily married to a wonderful man who works crazy hours; I work part time and we are renovating our entire house on days off in between kids’ and social obligations. Phew! A little tired just saying it.
    Momentarily I will be allowing my kids to watch a movie as I head out to do yoga on our sun drenched deck on this beautiful west coast morning. I was once a free spirited writer and explorer, but now, WOW, am I busy.
    Time to get in touch with the real me, I know she’s in there somewhere. Maybe a little float in the kiddie pool will help. I LOVED floating as a little girl as well.

  • LaKenda

    I loved this post because it really spoke to me. At the beginning of July I had finally let my hair down and took a trip that was supposed to be about just relaxing having fun and celebrating being “me”. Yet, even then I couldn’t just be. I had to fix things, no matter what it was a parking strategy,an itinerary of events, or meal schedules anything to make sure the week of relaxation got off without a hitch. This was all blown to smithereens when a very dull achy hitch in my back and side turned into full blown debilitating pain. I finished that weekend in the hospital emergency room.
    Now, one missing gallbladder later I’m coming to realize that overwhelming myself to be this “go to” person will eventually kill me. That’s where I find myself today reading this blog. But question is, how in the world do I let go?

  • Christine Arylo

    LaKenda, thank YOU so much for sharing that story with me – had i not immediately slowed myself down and gotten into bed for a few days, i would have probably ended up in that ER myself. Here is what I have learned about slowing down these last 40 days… 1. Find the pattern or belief that is driving you to not slow down. What is it that keeps you driving so hard? Ask the universe for guidance. Try a daily recieving practice where you ask every day, What do I need to do to receive?” Do it for 40 days. See what you learn. and 2. Practice surrendering control daily. When you feel overwhelmed, overworked, STOP. Surrender all the stress to the earth and the universe by laying on the ground and taking a Harmony break. Body in the cross position. Breathe. 8 minutes. Sending you lots of breath! Christine

  • Christine Arylo

    I LOVE the image of the floating in the kiddie pool and yoga on the sun drenched porch. So simple to take care of ourselves as kids – maybe we all need to get kiddie pools 🙂 xo Christine

  • Christine Arylo

    Sassy – me, you, your inner mean girl and my inner mean girl floating in the lake on intertubes any day! Although I’d like to request a lounger float 🙂 Sending lots of self love your way! Knowing that creating the flow for your business to sustain you takes time, and that along the way, it’s critical to ask for support from the universe – in the form of money, time, etc – to sustain you in your building process. I just took my first full vacation in four years – too long! Here’s to us all taking space, floating, and being supporting with everything we need to survive and thrive!

  • Christine Arylo

    Liz – LOL! It’s like we were brought up in the same tribe! I have had all those same crazy thoughts myself. And that’s where the answer lies – in understanding what those crazy thoughts are, seeing how crazy they are, and then transforming them into new self loving patterns and behaviors that support our own sustainability. I’ve spent the last four years peeling belief and pattern after belief and pattern – and that is what much of the self work I do comes from. The biggest sources of shift for me – 1. The Enneagram. A must! Read the Wisdom of the Enneagram by Don Riso and 2. The Feminine. Letting go of my super man power way of being in the world, softening and allowing the feminine to come in and show me a new, more powerful and less stressful way. I believe that all of us self empowered women were only given half the equation to success… the way to succeed in a mans world. Truth is that while we can do and be anything we want in today’s world, nothing else has moved off our plates. To do more than survive, we must activate our feminine and bring it into harmony with our masculine. Its the only way. Good news! The Summer of Self Love will be live for another 3 months so you can dive in … say tomorrow??? lol! with heart, Christine

  • Christine Arylo

    Janis – as another woman who has taken that huge step myself, I totally witness you in giving to YOURSELF and receiving ALL the help from the universe you can. When you do something you are passionate about, like teaching inspiration, it can be SO easy to give all the time. I know. I tried it. I hope your journey will be easier and that my wisdom, learned by living it, is helpful! with heart Christine

  • Christine Arylo

    Stephanie -I am meeting so many women like you who have pushed themselves past the brink and now are forced to relax … i think many of us think that we are indestrucable, that it wont be us whose body just stops. but the truth is that our bodies will stop if we don’t care for them – and our spirits will revolt! thank you for sharing and reminding us just how fragile us strong women are 🙂 and that doesnt mean we are weak!

  • Christine Arylo

    Deb – thank you for sharing your journey and for reiterating that crazy voice i think many of us have in our head – i don’t deserve the luxury to relax! I have had that one myself…. not only do we deserve it, relaxing and taking care of ME is our divine right! and it’s about time we all claimed it. thank you for being an example. Christine

  • Christine Arylo

    I think floating is a great choice vs doing cartwheels for others, for sure!
    And if you want to do cartwheels just for yourself, i am all for that!!! 🙂 christine

  • Christine Arylo

    It’s funny to me how I have to remind myself daily that it’s okay to show up for what I need. Yet, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do for others…
    And, then I am reminded that in order for me to take a break – I do either have to be exhausted beyond belief, or sick.
    Hmmm…still something to look at! Thanks for sharing your heart with us Christine!

  • Deborah Morgan

    Thank you Christine!
    That article did indeed come at exactly the right time. Having a rough day of struggle with my direction and what I need to DO to get out of this funk. Seeing from many signs, including your post, that what I need to DO is slow it down and connect to the divine universe. I do take time to float and take care of myself everyday but I know that I don’t always connect to it..I don’t always appreciate and acknowledge my deservedness of those moments. Like many millions of women I battle with the guilt that I should be doing something else with that time. Like you I also teach people to re-charge their own batteries or else pay the consequences, BUT I too need that reminder to hit me in the face sometimes! Just has this head cold has done! 🙂

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