Embracing the Unwanted & Unexpected

Embracing the Unwanted & Unexpected

Breakthroughs and breakdowns are different sides of the same coin.

Whenever and wherever, there is a breakdown, there is always the seed of equal or greater breakthrough waiting to sprout.

Breakdowns precede breakthroughs. And breakthroughs come after breakdowns.

We often put ourselves in situations where breakdowns can’t jump out of nowhere to harm us. We actively protect ourselves. Or, more accurately, we attempt to protect ourselves.

The universe surely has a sense of humor. Because you will encounter breakdowns, no matter the time, energy, or resources invested in their prevention. They will occur, seemingly at the least opportune moments.

And when breakdowns do arise, we usually seek comfort in addictions, be it complaining, alcohol, drugs, gambling, or anything else that might take our minds off the breakdown, even for a fleeting moment.

And the only thing to do is to be with it and remember that there is a breakthrough waiting on the other side. No need to find comfort in that thought. That’s just escapism all over. Simply be with your breakdown and don’t resist it.

And in time, no matter the extent of the breakdown, you will come to embrace it, because the size of the breakdown is foretelling the size of the breakthrough you will experience.

Weekly Digest: March 6, 2021

Weekly Digest: March 6, 2021

David Andrew Wiebe, March 2021Increasingly, I find myself reflecting on what works.

To some extent, this will always be individual. Because you may be good at things I’m not, and I may be good at things you’re not. But your best work will always stem from your genius zone.

In a broader sense, though, the clues of success are all around us. It’s just a matter of whether we’re paying attention.

I am beginning to see those clues more clearly each day.

Still, seeking council and advice has been a strong focus for me this year. I don’t think I’m looking for anything earth shattering. I’m just looking for the little tweaks, the little pivots that are going to create results.

Otherwise, you die on the altar of the starving artist, and you were not destined for martyrdom.

When something doesn’t work, you iterate and try again.

Unless you’re starting from scratch, the clues of greatness are also reflected in your own journey. You’ve done things that have worked, and those that haven’t. And inevitably, 20% of what you’ve done to this point has generated 80% of the results.

The constant grind rarely provides a reprieve. It doesn’t give you time enough to think and reflect on what has worked. So, you keep hustling and grinding, without giving any thought to what it might look like to focus and double down on the effective work you do.

Which is why we need time to think and reflect. Though we’ve all been gifted with intuition, and we may even know what we need to do next, this doesn’t mean we will instantly abandon the familiar for the uncomfortable.

There’s more to it than just knowing. It’s about clarity of vision – the willingness to endure the pain of cocooning up, at least temporarily, in preparation of the moment you emerge as the fire-breathing, polymathic pterodactyl you are.

With that, here’s what I made for you this week:

David Andrew Wiebe

I publish daily to inspire creatives and creators just like you. And I’m always open to content suggestions.

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Community Spotlight

There’s been a lot of great interaction on Twitter, and it’s hard to choose just one person, but this week I’d like to tag @boldfur. Thanks for engaging!

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Random Things I Dig

Rudy Ayoub cracks me up.

Featured Product

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Final Thoughts

Thank you for your creativity and generosity. I’m rooting for you.

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How to Handle Addiction

How to Handle Addiction

Addiction is something all creatives and creators can relate to, to lesser or greater degrees.

I have recently had some questions regarding addiction and felt it an important topic to address.

I have not mastered my addictions, and perhaps I never will. But I have learned some valuable things about what it means to be human and that has helped me greatly on this journey. That’s what I’d like to share with you here.

Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist, and what follows should not be taken as advice. Seek professional help if you are struggling with severe addiction.

What is Addiction?

Some of the most prevalent forms of addictions are smartphones, social media, shopping, video games, alcohol, drugs, porn, relationships, co-dependency, and so on.

Most people will try to put these on a sliding scale from bad to terrible, but the reality is most things are not inherently evil, and even have their place. It is human, however, to try to categorize and rank everything.

“I feel worse when I do abc versus xyz” is a subjective, emotional statement, not a universal sentiment, let alone fact.

Shopping is not an addiction until it becomes an uncontrollable, compulsive behavior that leads to your financial ruin. In like manner, most addictions are just temporary escapes until they begin ruining different aspects of your life – relational, physical, financial, or otherwise.

Most addictions are just temporary escapes until they begin ruining different aspects of your life. Click To Tweet

Note: Anything outside of what is morally and culturally accepted is in a category all its own, and not something I will specifically address here. That said, the mental models I share may still be of some value.

1. Reduce Importance

I believe the first and most important step to handling addiction is to reduce its importance.

There is some part of us that wants to believe that if we just do a better job of beating ourselves up, that next time, we won’t make the same mistake. So, we become professional bullies.

I know of a man who was caught watching porn by his wife, and he snapped his laptop in half out of anger.

However symbolic the action, however sincere the sentiment, in that moment, the importance of addiction increased in his life. I don’t know what happened next, but I would venture to guess that was not the last time he watched porn, because snapping his laptop did nothing to reduce its importance.

You cannot reduce the importance of addiction by giving it more emotionally-charged attention, becoming a professional bully, making yourself wrong, hurting yourself, hating yourself, or any of the “normal” behavior that seems to accompany self-loathing addicts.

You come to hate yourself because you hate bullies, plain and simple.

God or the universe does not seem to treat addiction with the level of urgency that we do. So, why do we?

I am not saying there is no consequence for addiction. There always is. But I do not know of anyone who went on a social media binge that instantly got struck down by lightning.

Beating up on yourself is what does the greatest psychological harm. It does more harm than the action or behavior you’re trying to stop in the first place. You beat yourself up and then try to convince yourself that it is God’s wrath raining down on you.

People try to shed their addictions by giving it more attention, and it ends up doing the complete opposite.

People try to shed their addictions by giving it more attention, and it ends up doing the complete opposite. Click To Tweet

It has often been said that the best way to manage anxiety is to let go. Addiction is much the same. You can reduce its importance by letting go instead of trying to control and micromanage it.

2. Change Context

We all go through a traumatic moment in early childhood. Even if we don’t remember, even if we say it’s not a big deal, it has shaped us for the rest of our lives. And we have trouble accepting that.

The context we got in that moment was “something’s wrong here.”

Up until that moment in life, everything was fine. It wasn’t paradise, but there also wasn’t anything notably wrong.

Everything changed in that moment of trauma. And for the first time in our lives, we got that “something’s wrong here.”

Why is this important? Because you’ve been carrying that context with you from that day on. And if you haven’t been present to this, it’s also been running your life!

When you succumb to addiction, instead of simply acknowledging the action or behavior, you immediately turn to “there’s something wrong here.”

And that perpetuates a guilty conscience. Then we are back to the same cycle of doing things we don’t want to do, beating ourselves up for it, giving more attention to our addictions, rinse, repeat.

What if there was nothing wrong?

See, I can feel you protesting already. Because you won’t even allow yourself to go there. You must keep beating yourself up or you’re a bad person. Otherwise, God himself will deal with you. Am I right?

But in the generous present moment, there is nothing wrong. I doubt that you are getting chased by a dinosaur as you’re reading this. And you are missing that generous present moment by focusing on what’s wrong. You’re not cherishing the present you were given.

You’re too busy projecting into the future, thinking about the consequences of that debt, or that conversation you’re loathing to have, or the project you dropped the ball on.

The future hasn’t happened yet. Can you be present?

What if good and bad was just a meaning we assigned to everything? What if the universe itself doesn’t discriminate between events? What if, to the universe, all events were just events?

“Something’s wrong here” is a meaning we assign to everything if we are not present to it. But now that you are present, you can change the context.

3. Be with Your Emotions

Addiction can often manifest as an escape from some emotion we once did not feel able to deal with. So, it got bottled up.

As you can imagine, there can be a lot of internal buildup if you repeat the same patterns. The moment an intense emotional moment arises, you seek escape, so you turn to addictive behavior. Over time, a molehill can turn into a mountain.

Those with lingering addictions, often, are sensitive and empathetic. They feel deeply and are saddled with emotions whose origins are a little iffy, and can feel overwhelming.

Just for a moment, imagine that there are two of you – your adult self and your child self.

Consider that the emotions screaming out at you are coming from your child self and not your adult self.

And when you see it that way, it’s easy to let go of judgment. If your child were in pain, you would help them. It’s instinct.

What else would you do? Would you try to solve the problem? Perhaps.

But solving may not lead to the results you’re looking for. We spend most of our lives trying to survive and fix situations, and it’s apparent in our communication and how we live our lives.

What a loving parent would do is listen to their child. Acknowledge their pain. Let them know that they love them no matter what.

Is that the way you deal with yourself? If you’ve been beating yourself up for your addictions, then the answer is certainly “no.”

Simply sitting with your emotions and not trying to survive or fix them, not trying to do anything with them except love them, often leads to their dissolving.

It sounds like magic, but it isn’t. It’s just that you have never sat with those emotions long enough or given them the space they needed to find expression.

Next time you feel an intense emotion, close your eyes, and just sit with yourself. Meditate if you like. Listen to the frightened child screaming out, calling for your attention. Listen. Acknowledge the pain. Let it know that you love it no matter what.

Final Thoughts

The better you understand what it means to be human, the less power addiction holds over you.

Maybe your actions and behaviors don’t change overnight. But because you give addictions less attention, their significance diminishes in your life. And that has a way of shifting your actions and behaviors too.

Behavioral modification is treating the symptoms at best, and never gets to the root cause. Beating yourself up will only aggravate your conditions.

You need to listen, acknowledge, forgive, and love as you would a helpless child. That’s all you were ever tasked to do. Leave the rest in the capable hands of God or the universe.

Pay what you want for the first issue of my digital magazine, The Renegade Musician.

The Renegade Musician

Addicted to Drama

Addicted to Drama

Some never graduate from high school.

They will constantly cry over spilled milk and draw as many of their friends as they possibly can into their drama-fueled vortex.

So often, we are blind to the challenges that others face. Comparison is unhelpful, but while you’re crying about a scratch on your Beemer, someone else is getting the news from their doctor that they have cancer.

The question is whether to remain in the drama. And the answer may not be forthcoming until we understand the consequences of a life consumed by “who said what” and “who did that.”

Drama is largely self-inflicted. We all feel emotions, but we also have the choice of what to do with those emotions.

Drama is largely self-inflicted. We all feel emotions, but we also have the choice of what to do with those emotions. Click To Tweet

In this video, I share about the dangers of being addicted to drama.

Transcription:

Drama is one of those addictions that holds you back.

You are free to go and enjoy drama if that’s what you want to do. It’s just not going to lead to a stable life, conducive to lasting relationships and personal achievement.

People so often say:

  • I want to write a book, or
  • I want to start a business, or
  • I want to become an athlete, or
  • I want to become a model

But because they focus so much on the drama, and because they’re so addicted to it, they get into horrible relationships, and then they have friends who also like drama, and before long, they form a drama addicts anonymous group that ends up feeding the monster…

So, you end up in a constant roller-coaster ride that doesn’t support you achieving any of your ambitions.

The test of stability is not whether your life is stable. There will always be things you can’t control.

The test of stability is whether you can maintain emotional evenness even as the world is storming around you.

The test of stability is whether you can maintain emotional evenness even as the world is storming around you. Click To Tweet

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