Destruction, Desire and ‘Hostile Takeovers’

{image credit :: threadless}

{image credit :: threadless}

A few weeks ago Danielle LePorte posed the question: How do you feel about destroying what must be destroyed in your life? And to be perfectly honest, at first I was feeling resistant.

Extremely. Resistant.

Sure, the desire to change is strong. And it’s easy to identify habitual patterns and ways of being that served a purpose at one time, but no longer serve to benefit me in the slightest.

So often I tell myself things like “Today’s the day! You’re going to gently loosen your grip on that old habit and start anew.” And then over and over and over again I observe myself falling right back into that old well-worn groove for another trip down repeat lane. Perhaps you can relate?

But why? 

Actions speak louder than words, and even though I’m talking the talk, in some areas of my life, I haven’t yet been able to walk the walk (emotional eating, I’m looking at you). In other words, I haven’t managed to destroy what must be destroyed in order to move on to the next phase. 

I know that I’m not the only one in this boat. But why do so many of us experience strong resistance to letting go of patterns that we know no longer serve us? What’s so dang hard about destroying something that you KNOW must be destroyed?

Our habits define us. 

Who I am is what I do,” says my ego. And “if I don’t do XY&Z, then who am I…?” it wonders. Oscar Wilde says the following in The Picture of Dorian Gray:

But then one regrets the loss even of one’s worst habits. Perhaps one regrets them the most. They are such an essential part of one’s personality.

It’s almost as though our habits turn into integral parts of our being — “oh what, that there? that’s just my ice-cream-instead-of-feelings-jacket! i always wear it when things get cold. pay it no mind, it’s got things completely under control.

Fear takes the wheel. 

Even when it starts to become apparent that our old habits no longer serve us, no longer have to define us, and literally MUST be destroyed … fear often swoops in and talks some ‘sense’ into us. Fear says stuff like “ignore your desire for change and leave things as they are — it’s better/easier/less scary this way.” Marianne Williamson even says:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’

So what’s a girl to do when wanting, wishing, hoping for, and desiring destruction is not enough?

Two words: Hostile. Takeover. 

You guys, I don’t know about you, but I’ve just become sick and tired of defining myself by old habits that no longer serve me. I want to live life awake, present, and acting in response to what is actually happening right now, not based on what did/did not happen years ago. “STAY AWAKE, don’t allow yourself to go back to sleep,” someone I love told me recently and she’s right — living in the present moment is our antidote to old habits.

When I consider what destruction looks like in nature — fiery, hot, and from the ruins something new can emerge  — it is apparent that destruction is not a gentle process. If we’re going to destroy what needs to be destroyed, it’s going to take take some radical changes, akin to confronting things head on with a stamp of the foot and an “enough is enough!” attitude.

So what does destruction in the form of a hostile takeover look like for me right now?

+ A week-long Television Fast. No Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, etc. No binge-watching entire seasons of Scandal in 48-hours. The first two days I was fidgety, anxious, and not sure what to do with myself. Then a funny thing happened, suddenly I started doing all of those things I had been saying that I wanted to do, but “didn’t have time” to get done. I cleaned my entire apartment. I practiced yoga at home. I wrote in my journal. I meditated. It was great, like a reset button.

+ A No Stopping for Takeout Rule. I don’t care how tired, how stressed out, how lazy I feel, stopping for takeout on my way home is really never a good option. It’s pricy, it’s generally not healthy, and I bring it home and mindlessly eat it in front of the TV. No bueno and no thank you.

+ A Go to Bed On Time Rule. I need sleep. When I don’t get enough sleep, it kicks off a whole cycle of crazy that I have no use for. So I’m doing my best to get home and in bed at a reasonable time. Even on weekends. Even when it means being the lame person who goes home after dinner and skips out on post-dinner drinks. Even when it means I can’t finish this blog post before bedtime.

In the words of Mary Oliver:

To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.

Sure, I’ll get tripped up and fall back into old grooves — that’s how these things go — but consider this blog post notice of my intent to engage in a ‘hostile takeover’ and destroy some old old habits that must be destroyed. And I feel great about it.

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What’s your take? How do you feel about destroying what must be destroyed in your life? What needs to be destroyed in your life? Vulnerable sharing by way of the comments section always welcomed and appreciated. ♥

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5 comments

  1. Awesome post! I was just recently saying to myself, “self, if you didn’t have this image of the girl who goes out and takes tequila shots until she’s silly with all of her friends, you really could control your weekend eating habits better. Why do you do that?”

    Answer- because it’s “who I am” to those people.

    Methinks it’s time to destroy that part of this girl. She’s not doing me any favors.

  2. Really loved this post – exactly what I needed today!

  3. Katezoc · · Reply

    That getting enough sleep thing…totally relate (are you surprised??). Every darned morning I shake my fist at myself but at night that habit jumps up on my shoulder and whispers in my ear-just read this thing you’ve been wanting to read/just watch that show you recorded/just brush the dog/just do about anything. Thank you for the wake up call to control my habits vs my habits controlling me. Xox

  4. Ugh, I hear you. Sometimes I feel my fear of changing myself and not knowing who I am anymore drives out my ambition to improve and be healthier. When I have my own “hostile takeovers” as you call it I can never keep it up for long. But I will have one or two good habits that stick. Just enough for me to know that I’m different now than I was before. I like to think of it as building my life pyramid a brick at a time. And you know what? I’m still okay with who I am.

  5. Yes on the TV thing! When my son was young, I stopped TV, computers, screens during his waking hours (and most of the time in general), and I tell you…the stuff I got done! I painted rooms, I wrote over a hundred songs, I made new friends and I played in the park with my son. You are making me think that I might need to do this again on a more regular basis!

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