Addiction to Intensity

Here is what I’m noticing lately: people are spinning out. One more CNN news flash of death and destruction, one more loss of another wise being we admire and adore, one more piece of evidence that things are falling apart, might just push us over the edge. Not to mention personal challenges, family dynamics and the concern about every morsel we put in our mouths being contaminated with some horrible toxic substance.

The amount of stress and pressure we are under can sometimes seem unbearable. But I do know this: taking one day at a time, sometimes one hour or one minute at a time, helps me stay centered and grounded enough to get through the day. Holding love in my heart, sharing what gifts I bring to the planet with those in need and sometimes just sitting quietly in nature can be powerful healing balm for the soul.

But there’s also this thing I’m working on letting go of -- my Addiction to Intensity. I first heard this term while studying with Angeles Arrien, a mentor of mine who sadly passed away earlier this year. And it rang true. I love telling people how crazy my life is – how busy I am – how much I’m doing – what trip I just got back from, as I breathlessly describe the next three months of my packed schedule.

It’s this addiction to intensity that’s got to stop. This idea that life is not really exciting or adventurous enough unless the calendar is packed. It reminds me of when I was lamenting dating this crazy motorcycle riding French guy years back who drove me nuts, but man was he exciting. A friend asked me “Laura, what do you want in a relationship?” And I replied, “Marriage, kids, you know.”  And she said, “Well by the looks of who you’re dating, it doesn’t appear that way.” 

My friend helped me realize that what I thought I wanted (a husband, a family) was not what I appeared to be going after. Which in turn made me realize that I actually thought settling down would be... kind of... boring. So I was going for the excitement and then hoping that person would suddenly transform into wanting to marry me and become the ideal husband and father of my children. So wrong.

That one realization changed everything. I ended the relationship (and another flirtation that involved a lot of plane travel) and soon after met my husband. And let me tell you, the last 12 years have been anything but boring! But instead of adrenaline, drama and intensity, my marriage has become my safe harbor, my sanctuary.

The point is, this addiction to intensity leads to- well, more intensity! And when we’re caught in the intensity we can’t bring our best selves forward.

So notice for yourself, where are you addicted to intensity? Where do you let people know how busy you are, how full your life is, how much is happening? Let’s stop feeding this global intensity addiction and take time out to slow down, hear our own inner stirrings and tend to the garden.

And if you need a deeper level of support to unplug, unwind and listen to the whisper of your soul, I am once again leading a group of women in my soul retreat this fall (October 2-5) in Northern California. More on that here.