Hi, I'm Linda Frazee and this is part two of three parts of the "Winds of Change".
We're all in a very tumultuous time right now in our United States, in the political system, in with the weather with our climate change, with everything. And so wherever you are, I'm sure your experiences have changed too.
In the first in series which was recorded last week, I talked about how there was a model of change about how things happened and that we either make a decision to go into proactivity or into reactivity. Today, I'm going to carry that theme forward a little bit more and talk about what we do when we're in that reactive place, and what to do about it.
Again, my name is Linda Frazee and I've been teaching these systems for 40 years, helping people figure out how they are in change and how to become more effective and navigate it more effectively.
I'm going to put a model up here about change. It's actually about deprivation and compulsion. And what it shows is the idea of what happens when we get too upset. There's something that happens when we get upset with change. We'll usually go into either compulsion or deprivation. And of course the best response would be to go down and get into balance. And for those of you who are reading instead of seeing this, I'd like you to imagine a "U". And on the left side of the "U" is compulsion. And on the right side is deprivation and down at the very bottom of this "U" is a circle that overlaps, or attaches to the, the "U" model.
This overlap area is balance. So let's talk a little bit about an upset in your life. So usually when people get upset - lets start out with food as an illustration. When people get upset, they usually do one of two things regarding food. You probably know this, and I don't know which type you are, but some people - when they get upset with something, they can't eat anything at all. They can't eat anything no matter what. People are saying to them, you've got to eat! I'm not talking about just during a death, I'm just saying about any kind of upset. They don't want to eat anything at all. And that's not good for them - that's what it is to be in deprivation. It's okay if you do that for a day. But if several days in a row you're not getting nutrition and you can't think straight, that makes you even physically more upset.
Now other people go the opposite direction and they get compulsive and they go into old habits. If it's eating, they're going to eat their old childhood foods. The things that make them feel comfortable and they have a hard time stopping. It could be drinking, they might go into drinking or other compulsive behaviors that don't really work well for them - maybe spending money! Obviously. Both of these are reactions from when you're below the line in that model that I talked about last week - they are in "reactivity" mode. So again, I want to just restate this. What happens is when something happens in your life that you get upset about, two very common choices that people go towards are either depriving themselves or going to compulsive behavior. Sometimes people quit smoking, they haven't smoked in years. They get into a very upset situation and compulsively they start smoking.
I'm sure many of you've had that experience before. Now again, at the bottom of this "U" that compulsion is on the left and deprivation is on the right. The very bottom is balance. So the best thing that could happen for us as if we could just go down when we get upset and get into balance. So that would be the times that we could go in and meditate. We could go back and do a healthy physical practice or maybe go hiking or something like read poetry, read, read any kind of things that bring you to a complete stop inside and bring you to balance and just find some glory in life again.
However, that's not always easy. So what do you do if you find yourself in compulsion? Well, I'm going to go back to eating because that's such a common thing in this world today.
So let's say you find yourself just compulsively eating and you can't seem to stop and it's been going on for a week. The change happened a week ago, but a week later you're still eating. And so when it comes to compulsion, you're at the very top of that. You at the end of the "U" at the highest point of compulsion. So then what people often do is say, well, I've got to go on a diet. This is terrible. So they let go and they swing right around through the balance. And with all of that same momentum from the top of the compulsion, they go into the top of deprivation. I am not eating any sugar for the next 10 years, they say. And so there they are in deprivations! Not allowing themselves to have anything that could be too many calories and they're on this extreme diet!
Maybe they're just eating bananas - or the orange juice diet - or the grapefruit diet or whatever. And so there they are until they're not! Because we can only stay in deprivation for so long. And then they let go and swoop! They go through the "U" again and they come out on the other end - the heightened end of compulsion.
So the answer to that is to take a step down on either side. So let's say you've been compulsively eating, and instead of saying, I will never eat anything again and go on compulsive diet, you take steps away from the highest point of your compulsion. Let's say you're eating chocolate bars every day. So you say, well, I'll just stop that. The best thing to do if you are eating four of them, start eating only two! The next week only two and then the next week only one. And that way you're you're 'stepping down' - if you can imagine coming down the stair step of compulsion and that way, even if you do let go and you swing over to deprivation, you won't go to the highest point of deprivation.
So then maybe for a day you go on a fast and you don't eat much of anything. For one day, okay. And then you let yourself go again - and you go back over on the other side of the compulsion, but you're, it's not as high. Now I'm talking here about food - because food is such a common element when it comes to change and feeding ourselves and making ourselves feel okay. But you could use this with any number of things.
Time is another big one. So if you've been compulsively busy, busy, busy, and just going from one thing to the other all the time and you have no time for yourself. And then you finally let go. The way we normally let go when we've been too busy with time, we get sick! And so then we go into deprivation on the other side where we can't even get out of bed. Time is just endless - and we can't go back and do our work. That's a way of of swinging over to deprivation. So if you catch yourself in spending your time compulsively and filling every second and not having any downtime at all, the thing to do is start stepping down in the same way that I mentioned with food with time.
For today, since this is only the second of three lessons, the next choice would be to go down into balance. And you see - you can't get down into balance and stay there until you get out of either compulsion or deprivation. Certain types of the Enneagram tend to go more into compulsion or deprivation. And that will be another section of this three part series. But for today I want you to think about:
"Do you do compulsion?"
"Do you do deprivation?"
"What is balance for you?"
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