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"A close friend I've known since we were both youngsters called me to announce that he and his long-time, live-in partner were going to call it quits and go their separate ways. "We just cause each other pain and sorrow. We are not good for each other and I have no love for her in my heart whatsoever," he declared. I remained silent and listened to his story regarding the latest dispute that triggered his decision—this time. After about three minutes, I reminded him that this was the exact same story I had heard many times in the past ten years so I was already intimately familiar with all the details. He chuckled, stopped talking, and took a deep breath and I knew he understood immediately that I was not trying to be intentionally cruel or unsupportive. I was simply calling him on his ongoing habit: an addiction to a toxic relationship.
In the past ten years, he and his partner had created a relationship where, as unfulfilling and painful as it had become, it was easier to stay in it, developing a tolerance and numbness to the toxic emotions each felt toward the other (and themselves) than to break the habit they had become to each other. This got me thinking about how we all are subject to developing habits that can become toxic and addictive if we are not conscious and aware of what we are creating. Staying stuck in a habit or addiction is the ultimate form of immediate gratification because the behavior creates a diversion which redirects the flow of creative life force away from our true feelings where we would be forced to deal with them and into mindless activities that often result in unproductive lifestyles, unhealthy bodies, and relationships filled with sadness, pain, and suffering. It does not have to be that way.
A part of us dies when any negative habit becomes a mindless activity, especially when we continue to do it because it's easier (or less painful) than leaning into the discomfort of change. In the process, we unconsciously become a little more numb to life. It's as if we are sending a very subtle message to the universe that we are not really interested in being fully engaged in being alive. Any negative habit is simply the creative energy of life seeking fullness of expression, albeit in a misguided manner. We lack the awareness that negative thoughts repeated over and over again, day after day, year after year become ingrained in our unconscious mind where they lay below our field of awareness taking on a life of their own. This is the fertile soil in which habits grow into addictions. It dose not necessarily have to be in the area of human relationships either: It could be with habits we have formed in our relationships with work, food, sex, or any other substance or behavior. Regardless of where it shows up in our lives, the energy that drives most negative habits and addictions is the need to avoid dealing with how we really feel about ourselves and life in the present moment. As an example: While some people may feel as dead in their job as my friend does in his relationship, in a strange way, it is safe and comfortable living in the security of conditions that don't demand change, growth, or risk in the present moment. Again, fertile soil for habit energy to establish itself in its many subtle ways.
Habits tend to suck us into unconscious living patterns and that is not how we were meant to live. You were not given life to be an unconscious helpless victim of your habits, nor were you meant to suffer and simply endure an unrewarding life. Each of us has the responsibility to be a fully conscious, continually evolving being, and to have dominion over our egoic mind rather than be enslaved by it. To be a fully conscious being means one has to make conscious choices. In other words, if you believe you are stuck in the energy of an undesirable habit, in order to set yourself free you first have to own the fact that you have actually given your power to the undesirable habit. At some point in time that was a choice you made. Perhaps now is the time to choose another way. You can choose to take your power back.
Where do you start? Waking up from the dream of powerlessness and remembering to remember the sacred being you really are is the first step. You are no less than pure potential having a variety of experiences in the human condition. Habit energy doesn't stand a chance when you think and act from the awareness of your connectedness to Life, Infinite Intelligence, the Universe, your Higher Power, God or whatever else you might choose to call it. Aligning with your true source of power will help dissolve the negative habit energy you may have developed over the years and set you free. How can this be so? Practicing the presence of Spirit in the present moment always sets you free from the past in much the same manner that the higher vibration of love sets you free from the lower vibration of fear, or the manner in which the radiance of light will set you free from the apparent bondage of darkness........."
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