The theme of why laziness is a lie is creating a lot of rich discussions so if you have been following along, thanks for being a part of this. If you are new here, welcome! Thanks for joining us.
We’re exploring Pema Chödrön‘s model that observes three states underneath the laziness label – Seeking Comfort, Loss of Heart, and Couldn’t Care Less and I’m breaking down how to address each state individually.
I hope this gives you a better understanding how to address your personal flavor of “laziness” without all the messy guilt and frustration that often comes along with it. If you run into questions as you read through all of these discussions – drop me an email! I love hearing from you.
Onto this week’s topic – Loss of Heart.
Loss of Heart:
Pema Chödrön defines Loss of Heart as the feeling of not measuring up. She observes “We tried just being ourselves and we didn’t measure up. The way we are is not okay… We took time off, went on vacation, learned to meditate, studied spiritual teachings, or spent years dedicated to certain political or philosophical views… We don’t even want to move. We feel we could gladly sleep for a thousand years. Our life feels meaningless. Loss of heart is so painful that we become paralyzed.”
How do you know if you are experiencing Loss of Heart through laziness?
Let’s go gently here. This is a painful spot. A tender spot. A spot you may turn your head from and say, “I’m fine! I just need a better system of getting things done. I just need to suck it up and move through this.”
But there’s a piece of you that knows better. Because sucking it up is a temporary way of coping in a singular moment. Not an ongoing healthy way to live as a human being.
Loss of Heart has come up in session with clients this week. Really fucking successful, brilliant, productive humans in the world. They tripped over internal spots that were sad or lonely or angsty and shoved them down. Their lives ground to a halt. They beat up on themselves. Grit their teeth. Tried to push through. Felt shitty about it.
I’ve experienced Loss of Heart myself this week as I’ve bounced through news headlines and scrolled through Facebook. I’ve had moments where I’ve sat starting at my computer screen paralyzed thinking, “The world is on fire. What’s the point of anything? Nothing I do will make a difference. We’re doomed. I need a nap.”
In all cases, we’ve done the best we can do be good citizens – to live a life that is in integrity, to do all the “right” things, to take all the “right” actions, and yet, we are all still confronted with this particular kind of pain. And that sucks.
Can you relate?
Why Loss of Heart affects us so deeply is an interesting thing to dig into. It makes us feel like there is something wrong with us. “Everyone else seems to be able to deal with their shit, why can’t I?” And we start to feel isolated and rejected.
MRI studies show that the same areas of the brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain. This is why rejection hurts so much (neurologically speaking). In fact our brains respond so similarly to rejection and physical pain that Tylenol literally reduces the emotional pain rejection elicits.
I’m not advocating taking painkillers to deal with Loss of Heart. But I am validating why it shuts us down into something resembling laziness. It hurts!
So what to do when we’re in pain and feeling like a failure and also not getting important shit done in our lives?
It’s time to give that Loss of Heart the attention it’s begging for.
I teach all of my clients a Noticing Practice. This is the objective act of observing your inner and outer reality in a curious and investigative way in order to feel physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually more grounded and sane.
We can use noticing and attention to be with Loss of Heart and perhaps shift our relationship to it.
Ready for an experiment?
Give yourself about 15 minutes. Find a space that you feel like you can relax in. You may read through this and then practice it, or you may choose to record this as audio so you can close your eyes and follow along as well.
Your external environment. Look around you. Where are you? What do you see? Are you in a safe space? You may even like to mentally name things as you see them – blue pillow, fluffy cat, warm sunlight.
Your physical self. Feel your butt on your chair. The weight of your phone in your hand. Your clothing against your skin. Notice where your body ends and the world around you begins. Notice that you are sitting in a room right now (or wherever you have chosen). Safe and comfortable. Notice the feeling of breathing. Notice how your body moves as you breathe.
Your internal world. This is where Loss of Heart lives. You may choose to close your eyes. Go slowly. If you start to feel overwhelmed by that inner world, spend some more time noticing your physical self.
If you feel able to close your eyes and notice your inner world, start to connect to sensations inside of you. Tightness, openness, energy, numbness, any sort of physical sensation you can describe. If you don’t really notice anything, that’s totally normal. Just breathe and notice.
If your inner world and sensations are active is there spot in your inner word that is trying to get your attention? Is your Loss of Heart there? Put your gentle attention on it. Just observe it. Be with it. Does it have a feeling associated with it? As you start to connect with it, it will may change and morph, Shift sizes and sensations. You may feel like it’s communicating something. You may feel like it wants something. It may want to tell you a story. It may just want company. You may just watch it and it may just dissipate. Whatever you notice or don’t notice is normal. Don’t try to analyze it. Just notice it.
Spend time with Loss of Heart until you have the feeling that your time together has come to a close. Thank yourself. Thank the feeling or piece of yourself you connected with and gently bring yourself back to the present. Open your eyes. Wiggle your fingers and toes. Stretch your arms. Take a big breath.
Go drink some water. Give yourself some time. And then move back into the world and see how things feel.
I wish that practices like this were normalized and taught in schools. I believe we’d all have healthier relationships, finances, businesses, careers, and lives if we all knew how to connect with the messages in our bodies and nervous systems instead of treating them like they are a nuisance.
Be gentle with yourself whether you choose to try the exercise or not. Send this email to a friend that you think could use it. This is also the perfect subject to bring to your support systems, like a coach or therapist or pastor or even a close friend if they are open to this kind of thing.
When we know how to support ourselves, and be supported, through hard times, we automatically create the ability to help the people we love, too. Even when it feels like the world is burning. Especially when it feels like the world is burning.
If laziness as Loss of Heart is a concept that you totally understand but still can’t seem to make headway on, that’s normal and it’s part of the work I do with people to help them transform their lives. If you’re ready to take that first brave step, schedule a consult chat with me by clicking here and let’s transform your laziness into relief.