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Tired of Tension? Apply the Parable of the Puffy Toe!
I have to admit that while article ideas usually flow through me in a rush, I’ve been struggling to decide what to focus on
to feature my next article for a few days. Since nothing really resonated, I took a moment to playfully complain about this fact to my incredible husband over our protein breakfast this morning. With a cute little smirk and a delicious sneer on the way out the door he said, “Oh, just talk about my big ol’ puffy toe.”
I giggled as I reflected on his poor puffy little finger and said, “I could! Your little finger might be just the inspiration I need.” “Of course it is,” he smiled and gave me another goodbye kiss.
Though he teased, here I sit; he thought about his cute puffy finger. I remember how the whole toe problem started. Gene started noticing almost a year ago that his big toe felt like it was “BURNING” (his words). It just seemed to get worse over time, so he finally decided to see a podiatrist. He learned that the tendon in his thumb was slowly contracting, pulling his little finger under the other fingers. So he smashed it under the weight of his body every time he walked on it. Oh! The doctor said they could fix it with a minor surgery where they would cut this tendon to help release the thumb into a more natural position. The only thing is, as with most options, there were pros and cons to be weighed. If they cut the tendon, the finger would be slightly pliable for the rest of its life (with no tendon to hold it in place). The poor pinky would also be pretty swollen for the duration of the healing process. Not to mention that the swelling can take up to a year to go away. Phew – more finger smashing!
In the end, as you probably guessed, Gene decided to cut the tendon; hence the swollen toe. And while the toe feels a little weird and maintains its supposed chubby and slightly flabby demeanor, it feels much more comfortable than it would have if it hadn’t decided to release the tension of the contracting tendon.
The moral of the story is: While there is often a price to release the tension in our lives, the reward is often worth it.
In coaching, we call these uncomfortable tensions “tolerance” and they can take all forms. None of us is exempt from experiencing the tension that our “tolerance” creates. The trick is to recognize as quickly as possible when and what we are tolerating, so that we can make a conscious choice to accept, change, or remove specific tensions from our lives.
So my friend, what do you tolerate? What tension are you creating when you allow these tolerances to remain a part of your life? Consider your home environment: Do you have piles and clutter or half-finished projects that taunt you every time you walk by? Look at your relationships: Are you dealing with family, friends or colleagues who are constantly draining your energy? Finally, look at your life: Are you living and working in alignment with your deepest core values? Are you living authentically and joyfully? Or are you constantly stressed or just “rushing”? Take a moment to think clearly and deeply about each area of your life and make a list of tolerances that you recognize as situations you “put up with”. Once you have your list, take a moment to decide what you can (or want) to do to effectively relieve this tension.
1. Do you want to embrace the things you currently tolerate? For example, that unfinished project might be something you decide not to do anything with right now. But in that acceptance you give yourself permission to walk past it and be glad that it has begun and that it will be there when you are ready to focus your attention on it in the future.
2. Do you want to change the situation you tolerate? You may need to politely decline an invitation to dinner with a person who drains your energy and try to make new friendships with people who build you up.
3. Do you want to completely remove the tolerance? Maybe you just need to dig in and finish that project; find a new job that feeds your soul, or find entirely new and healthier methods of self-care that replace the things that aren’t working for you.
As you can see, every move you make toward eliminating tension in your life will involve both choices and results. Some of the options are simple, while others are more in-depth. However, the results of these elections can and often are life-changing.
As you take powerful steps to eliminate tension in your life, consider my dear’s big ol’ puffy toe. Remember that with every choice, every step you take towards removing unnecessary tolerance (and thus tension) in your life, the more space you create for true peace, abundance of beauty and authentic joy.
I happily bid you farewell with this timely advice:
“Life is too short and too wonderful to waste time doing things you don’t really want to do.” – Bruce Isaacs
I wish you all the joy and abundance you desire and then some!
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