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Shifting Values II — Moving Beyond Addiction

From my own experience with addictive behaviour such as smoking, over-achieving, and pursuing money, I recognize how obsessive dependency on any thing or person enslaved me and distracted me from a healthy whole life.  In coming to understand my addictions, I discovered these limiting habits are a visible ‘wake-up call’ from my consciousness or, if you prefer, my authentic self.  Each time I lit up a cigarette or moved a mountain to achieve a goal or chased after a higher ROI (return on investment), I was attempting to serve a need within me.  These overt symptoms of addiction were a signal of my inner neediness.

In order to counter my dependency, I also knew attacking these external symptoms (smoking, over-achieving, pursuing money) would only make room for other symptomatic behaviours to appear in their place.  What I needed to discover was the source of my neediness, which is an inside job.  Thus, I posed this question to myself “What do I so desperately need that I would sacrifice my well-being for it?”   The answer I received was ‘self-nurturance’.   And thus began a journey of discovery in which my primary means for self-nurturing involves peace, love and joy.

What is true for me is true for everyone.      Anonymous

As a society, we are slowly relinquishing our enslavement to smoking.  Even though many people continue the habit, they understand it is to the detriment of their and others’ health.  Fortunately, this awareness is beginning to generalize into other aspects of living.  For instance, we know behaving to the detriment of one’s well-being by constant over-achieving or ‘chasing the almighty buck’ fatigues the mind and body until disease becomes our primary experience — anxiety, fibromyalgia, obesity, depression, bipolarity, etc. — as well as that of the planet — pollution, climate change, species extinction.

The ever-increasing incidence of stress leave in today’s workplaces is one indicator of the neediness for and dissatisfaction with over-achievement or pursuit of wealth when they are to the detriment of overall well-being.  Indeed, many people have already opted out of the rat race and opted in for a gentler, kinder lifestyle.  A measure of a return on this investment is obvious in this story of ecologic and economic sustainability in which Sweden runs out of garbage —

In order to continue fueling the waste-to-energy factories that provide electricity to a
quarter of a million homes and 20 percent of the entire 
country’s district heating, Sweden
is now importing trash from the 
landfills of other European countries. [… Furthermore,]
countries are 
paying [Sweden] to get rid of a source of fuel they themselves produced so
that Sweden can continue to have the energy output they need.  You 
don’t have to be an
economist to know that’s one highly enviable 
energy model.

Here is a clear indication of our globally shifting values.  Granted, some people and some nations are moving much more steadily away from competition and manipulation toward collaboration and adaptation.  However, in order for all of us to thrive in the ever-shifting uncertainty of living, each of us must come to terms with our neediness.

You cannot get sick enough to help sick people get better.  You cannot
get poor enough to help poor people thrive.   It is only in your thriving
that you have anything to offer anyone.       Esther Abraham-Hicks

You can start your own discovery journey by completing this free copy of my value clarification tool, which is taken from my book, From Now to WOW:  An Invitation to Transformation.

Or, you can begin by asking yourself the following question —

“What do I so desperately need that triggers me to choose addiction and thereby sacrifice my well-being?”

Author: Helen Maupin

Author: Helen Maupin

Helen is passionate about transforming fear into love — from her, for her, for all. She expresses her commitment to transformation through writing poetry, self-awareness and yoga books, co-designing organizations into adaptive enterprises and deepening her daily meditation and yoga practices.

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