I was at a party a few months ago. It was an eclectic mix of young and old, environmentalists and writers; health practitioners and organic farmers. Waiting to pour myself some refreshments, I started up a conversation with a young woman with large brown eyes. The talk came around, as it does, to what fuels our life and I told her I wrote a weekly blog on codependence. Her eyes grew yet larger. “Every week?” she asked incredulously. I looked at her and paused, not knowing quite how to answer. A part of me felt defensive to be sure, but most of me just found it funny. Finally, I responded with a laugh, “Yeah, every week, pretty boring, huh?”
Although I truly thought it amusing, I think I set myself up for the following week because once named, boredom decided to stick around. Every word I wrote, action initiated, and thought completed was boring. I was at an utter loss of what to do as restlessness wrestled with all I did: when I wrote, I wanted to read; if I stood, I wanted to sit; when I talked, I bemoaned its futility. All was useless, all was boring.
Boredom is the sealed carton of fermented milk on a hot day. I needed to express — experience some release, like the milk — but boredom kept a cap on it, denying any satisfaction. In this state, I flitted and fluttered from one thing to another, never happy; never content. I was trying to write up an outline for a new workshop and I was being stymied at every point. I needed to be still so to allow my creativity to come forth but restlessness overrode this option. I felt overwhelmed, unhappy and dissatisfied with life. The truth of the situation, however, was that boredom had hired out as the henchman for my codependent parts.
Codependent parts do not like to be still. To be still invites inner reflection and these parts fear that the sight will not be pretty. To them, there is nothing worthy to be found within and so they urge an outward gaze to find life fulfillment. My codependent parts deny my creativity. Moreover, they fear that if I try to express it (despite continuous proof otherwise), I will be criticized and found wanting.
I have fought against these beliefs before (and won) but this time their tactics had changed. I was unprepared for boredom to be the manifesting adversary and it wasn’t until I was forced into stillness on a long bus ride that I could finally identify what was happening — my codependent parts were doing everything possible to keep me from expressing my inner power. In their selective memory of times past, they were scared that if my creativity came out, it wouldn’t be enough or I would be shut down by some external force. They were, in a dysfunctional way, trying to protect me from being hurt. When I saw that, I was able to voluntarily sit in stillness and reassure these parts that it was okay. That I wouldn’t be shut down and, if I was, I could handle it. I sat with my parts just like a parent would for a small child and listened to their stories. And, just like a child with a chance to express and someone there to listen, the restless parts calmed down. In the space that was created, my truth came forth: as in all human beings, I am infinitely creative and that creativity not only brings ideas to fruition but adapts and learns from potential disappointments and external criticism.
I am reminded as I write this of Marianne Williamson’s quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…”. Our codependent parts fear that power because it has been denied and/or crushed in the past. It is up to us, that is, our core Self, to remind these parts that things have changed and that we are no longer powerless children; that we are capable adults who not only can withstand external oppression but creatively respond to life despite the fears of our codependent parts.
Jo-Ann Svensson teaches “creative codependence” and is a Bodywork Therapist.