more wag, less bark
more carrot, less stick
About a month ago, we adopted 5 young hens. Yay! I finally had my chickens and we were going to enjoy our fresh, free ranging, happy chicken eggs!
Then my little stinkin’ 11 pound, 3 legged, mixed mutt decided to rule the roost and become the family’s chicken catching boss.
It seemed no matter what we did, she was compelled to chase them, catch them, and terrorize them back into their coop at any hour.
No big surprise, there’s no shortage of advice in the backyard chicken and dog training worlds.
One woman insisted I needed to in turn terrorize my dog. According to her, I needed to put the fear of death in her. I needed to pick her up by her neck, shake her, yell at her, and make her think I would kill her if she chased those chickens again.
She followed it up with this sympathetic yet judgy comment, “but I can tell from your constitution you probably won’t do that.”
Right…I’m not going to do that.
Why do we always want to out-gun the situation? Why do we think might and threats area the keys to getting what we want?
Medicine didn’t work? Take a stronger one.
Yelled at? Yell back louder.
Dog chasing chickens? Threaten to kill her.
We know these answers don’t work, but they’re the typical default pattern of us humans. They don’t get to the root of any problem though.
Attack mode feels addictive. Attack mode can make you feel powerful, energized, and charged up.
It’s a burst of adrenaline, and adrenaline can feel good. It feels really good until the crash that comes after it. Then you’re just left to clean up the aftermath.
And there’s always an aftermath whether you see it or not. There’s damaged relationships, hurt feelings, and a toll on your own physical and mental health. There may even be damage to property and surroundings.
Attack mode is the path that’s easy to go down, but hard to recover from.
Attack mode is easy, but it’s also weak. It’s weak because it allows the ego to override your true spiritual self and the wisdom that governs it.
Attack mode doesn’t require particularly good communication or reasoning skills. It doesn’t require critical thinking, empathy, or patience.
Those skills take time to hone. They take time, and they take practice.
Autopilot takes us down the road of attack mode, while listening to the inner wisdom of your Spiritual sense is a choice.
We have a choice to use our honed skills as directed by our inner spiritual wisdom, or default to the ego and its driving motivation. Fear.
Afraid of looking weak, afraid of losing, afraid of being embarrassed, afraid of pain, afraid of being wrong, afraid of getting hurt….
If you don’t think you’re worthy, you’ll also be afraid of winning, afraid of accepting love, or afraid of being right…
So when we have the choice of facing our fears or grabbing a big stick, we usually grab that stick. It’s right there by our side, and it’s fast and easy, so it seems the right thing to do.
Could there be a better option? Is there something else always there for you as well?
Yes. The wisdom of Spirit. Your Source. The Divine Intelligence of the Universe.
“Ego interrupts intuition.” -Danielle LaPorte
The ego fears while the Spirit simply knows.
Spirit knows there’s a solution. Spirit has the wisdom it needs to find an answer. Spirit knows it’s protected and supported.
The ego doesn’t have any of that security. It’s terrified all the time, so it grabs a big stick. It puffs itself up, and it fights out of the fear it’ll be annihilated.
And that’s the key right there. The ego’s afraid it will be obliterated, and the Spirit knows it cannot.
The ego is loud. It’s screaming and you can’t not hear it.
The Spirit is quiet. It’s always there for you, but you have to be willing to hear it. You have to be willing to trust it.
You have to be open to knowing and trusting it’s all going to be okay.
The strong, but gentle, solutions are inside you. You may need to get quiet to hear them, but they’re there.
You hear them by not freaking out, not losing your sh*t, not despairing, and not attacking. You hear them when you unclench your fists and put down that big stick.
I get it, we want solutions that feel tangible. The stick is tangible.
We rely on our physical senses. We want to be able to see, touch, and hear our solutions. We want to see our results immediately.
Those preferences are part of the human condition.
But we can cultivate a trust and reliance on our Spiritual source, and this trust gets stronger the more we use it.
Right now, relying on the inner wisdom of your Spiritual sense is probably like counting on a weak muscle for you. That’s why it feels so hard to do it.
Like a weak muscle, the only way to get the connection stronger is to exercise it.
Trusting the small voice of wisdom deep within you can feel like you’re stepping off the edge of a cliff.
“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.”-Luke 16:10
You have to know there’s a safety net under you even though you can’t see it.
Remind yourself over and over there’s a wisdom much more knowing and powerful than your own that can and will handle any situation. It’s omnipotently capable at any and all times.
This wisdom loves you and can only operate for your benefit.
Keep giving thanks for this divine guidance, even before you see any results.
If the results don’t look as you expect, still give thanks and trust the process.
Start with some small things if this all feels too uncertain. What’s some small nagging thing you’d like resolved? A schedule conflict? A minor disagreement? A feisty pup?
I did this last week when I learned an organization I founded 5 years ago was being mishandled by its new president. When I heard the news, I found myself going into full-on attack mode on the inside.
I was calculating how to confront the new president. I had a backup plan of how to oust her from the organization if she didn’t fall into line. (an organization I’m no longer part of mind you…)
After a delicious 48 hours of letting the ego roll this around, I put an end to it.
“Christine, you know harmony will prevail and that divine wisdom will handle this situation if you let it.”
I backed off. I reminded myself that harmony will prevail and that the divine wisdom that connects us all would handle the situation.
Sure enough, the following morning, I got an email. The new board had convened, the mishaps had been resolved, and they had a plan for moving forward in a positive direction.
Attack mode averted.
Take a look around, and the temptation is to say, “no” it’s not ready.
That’s why you have to start now. Start right this instant to do the opposite of what your ego wants you to do.
Drop that stick.
Start now with your own inner conflicts. Then branch out to your inner circle of friends and family. Without saying it aloud, you’ll be influencing them to turn to gentler solutions as well.
Then it spreads to your neighborhood, your community, your country, and your world.
I know it sounds “pie in the sky” but that’s exactly how attack mode spreads One attacking gesture gets met by a bigger one and it influences others to respond with their own attacks.
Why should we doubt Spiritual solutions can spread when we see before us how well attack mode can spread?
If the ripple effect can work for attack mode, it can work for gentle solutions as well.
In the end I’d rather know I played my small role in the forward progress of human consciousness, no matter how long the evolution takes.
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