Transcending Survival Mode

January 7, 2013

dream-wideMy daughter has been on winter break and home from school for the last two weeks. As a single mom with no family around, these sorts of child-rearing marathons can be very taxing. It’s like, I love you and all, honey, but pleeeeasssse stop talking.

Also, I wasn’t feeling well for most of the last week. Maybe it was the mild stomach virus I had, maybe it was a detox from how clean I’ve been eating, I don’t know. But what I do know is that I’ve felt this week like life was more about surviving than thriving. The goal was to get through the day, and if I did, success! What more could a person ask for?

There was no room or space for goal-setting, dreaming, or strategizing the step-by-step path for my ultimate happiness, much less taking any action toward those goals.

I was in survival mode. Which is why I haven’t even been capable of blogging this week. It’s just been about getting by. I haven’t been unhappy. I’ve been okay. But I’ve just been getting by.

In the last couple weeks, I’ve done coaching sessions with a large number of people living with multiple sclerosis. And one commonality among almost everyone I spoke to is that they are living in survival mode.

And who can blame them? When our bodies aren’t functioning properly, when we need to exert significant effort and attention to complete the daily tasks that most others take for granted, when we must depend on others to help us get through the day, of course we find ourselves in survival mode.

But the problem with this is that survival mode is generally devoid of dreaming, of reaching. And what we most need is to dream.

It All Starts With a Dream

Great things all starts with a dream. Healing all starts with a dream. It all starts with the belief that anything is possible.

I’ve been a professional photographer for the last 13 years, so I like to think of it as zooming out. Seeing the big picture. Reminding ourselves that there is a big picture, and that we are moving toward something, so we might as well design with intention what it is that we’re moving toward. Otherwise, we may find ourselves steering straight for a dumpster.

So if you’re reading this and you feel that you’ve been living in survival mode, I want you to take today to dream. Think about what it is that you want. If anything were possible. If you could wave a magic wand and have the life you wanted. What would be true? And how would you feel if you had those things in just the way you wanted them?

Let yourself feel into that imagined future today. Let yourself have the experience of having what it is you want. Give yourself the permission to even consider what it is you want. And notice the space that opens up when you do. Notice how you might feel expansive, more free, maybe more inspired or excited.

Today, let’s ditch survival mode and trade it in for anything-is-possible mode! How does it feel?

If you are interested in a free 45-minute coaching session with me, please send an email to karen (at) theselfhealingcoach . com.

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One Response to Transcending Survival Mode

  1. Allison on January 7, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Karen, this is a great blog! I’ve said to my husband countless times that I’ve forgotten how to dream, how to let go, and how to have fun. There is such a great effort in accomplishing my diminished responsibilities each day, that all I’m left with is exhaustion so many times! I am taking you up on your challenge to dream of the life I would want if I had a magic wand! Just reading what you’ve written immediately made me feel more relaxed and expansive! With the sunshine streaming through the window this morning I already feel like I’m in a better place! Hope you continue to feel better!

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    • Karen Gordon is an author, blogger, and health coach at The Self-Healing Coach.
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