Will Power

Gabrielle confused

Oh boy... the last few days have been tough. A continuing cycle of exhaustion and agitation, constant tearfulness, discouragement, desolation - in short, everything bi-polarism has to offer in one concentrated package! 

In that sort of circumstance, what does Will Power have to offer? A lot AND very little. A friend of mine once told me  "will power is like water: an indispensable ally and a highly dangerous enemy:"  Anyone who has tried to survive in the desert or who has endured the ravages of a flood will know exactly what my friend was on about. In a circumstance such as mine, it's like that too.

Will Power is indispensable because it:

  • Enables me to keep going, over and beyond the barrier that is my immediate suffering.
  • Pushes me to think up coping strategies and apply them
  • Gives me a sense of achievement, just by 'surviving' the ordeal
  • Touches the only thing I have left  inside to compete with the sense of utter disintegration I always feel in those moments: bloody-mindedness and the urge to win.
  • Keeps me looking beyond the awful present.

 Will Power is dangerous because it:

  • Encourages me to put up with far too much suffering before I break down and admit 'defeat', hence delaying receiving whatever help is available.
  • Stiffens me up against what I am experiencing which makes it impossible for me to flow with it, hence increasing resistance.
  • Wastes energy I don't have on battling against my own internal flood instead of conserving the little energy I have resting and letting the water recede.
  • Pushes me towards my identifying myself with the battle and turning my own suffering into a Pissing Contest.
  • Deludes me into thinking that I have any power at all over this dammed thing, hence pushing my sense of individual responsibility too far!

The real trick in my situation - or I believe in any situation for that matter - is to do enough without doing too much, to show enough 'spunk' without getting yourself stuck in it, if that's not too revolting a metaphor!!

I have yet to master the art of being both:

  1. Will Powered enough so that I can row my boat through the storm, with grit and courage
  2. Humble enough so that I know not to take on the powerful ocean and expect myself to win.

Perhaps that's it: a bit of humility may well be the perfect antidote to too much will power. The coach in me wants to 'reframe' that and put it this way:

Will Power and Humility may well be Perfect Partners :0)

Strong Will

I have just read this sentence from Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore (a superb book) and it struck me as relevant to my subject-matter: "Care of the soul observes the paradox whereby a muscled, strong-willed pursuit of change can actually stand in the way of substantive transformation". Indeed....

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