The First Antidote for Shadow Comforts & Time Monsters or How To Choose More


Illustration: Kristin Noelle

When you choose shadow comforts or a time monster, you choose less.

Less aliveness.
Less desire.
Less connection.
Less creativity.
Less of your true life.

That’s not true when you choose healthy comfort. Healthy comfort regenerates you, so you feel more alive and more yourself.

Yesterday was a stressful day in our house, and when I chose to clean my desk, it was a great way to soothe my jittery self. If I choose to clean my desk right now when I need to write this post, it would be a time monster. It’s not what you do, it’s why you are choosing it and how it makes you feel that defines a shadow comfort and time monster.

In Thursday’s sampler class I said,

“A first antidote for shadow comforts and time monsters? Choice. Choose whatever you are doing mindfully, fully, and without guilt. Sit down and eat the rice crackers with butter and taste them, savor them. Savor playing BeDazzled or gossiping with your best friend. Keep choosing as you do whatever it is you are doing. Keep noticing how it makes you feel. Savor it fully.”

When you choose completely, you stop rebelling against yourself. You stop living in a shame-tinged “I’m bad” story. Or as Rachel Cole said last night,

“When there is nothing to rebel against, we stop rebelling. For me it’s about setting up my whole life so there is literally nothing to rebel against.”

When you stop rebelling, you open the space to experience more – more aliveness, more feeling, more connection, more creativity, more reality, more of your true life – and to believe that more is possible for you. That more is accessible right now.

That’s pretty difficult to do when you are rebelling against shoulds or subtle “I’m bad for doing this” inner talk. Being in rebellion keeps you trapped in the story that more is only possible after you stop the behavior. That then keeps you trapped in when/then as in, “When I stop eating a bar of sea salt and almond dark chocolate in 10 minutes (big bar), then I can have more of what I really want – but since I can’t stop today, I can’t have more.”

Loopy logic that keeps you stuck.

Instead, drop the rebellion, choose more now by choosing fully whatever it is you are doing.

It’s a radical act of self-trust for sure, and one that is only possible when we stop judging ourselves and we stop numbing out during the Scandal marathon to how we are feeling.

Keep dropping the guilt and keep dropping the numbness.

Awareness liberates.
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P.S. If you missed the live class, you can sign up to receive an excerpt here and we will be building on what we explored in the class over the entire course. The full class awaits you, with a transcript, inside the course. Can’t wait!

Healthy comfort regenerates you, so you feel more alive and more yourself.
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When you stop rebelling, you open the space to experience more.
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Patty Bechtold - January 12, 2014

So glad I listened to the recording on Friday, Jen. I do have to admit I paused a bit before cueing it up because this kind of thing can actually be a time monster/shadow comfort for me. I decided to do something truly comforting while I was listening–process art–and that made it perfect. And then you mentioned all the comments coming in from women saying they wished they could make time for art. That was kind of surreal. I wanted to reach through the phone lines and give them a hug and tell them they could.

What’s really stayed with me after the call is how you normalized time monsters/shadow comforts. During the past 3 years I’ve been on a professional quest that’s intensified in the last 6 months, where I’ve had to do some serious studying to pass 3 really hard tests in pursuit of a license. And the monsters/comforts have been with me all the way. But now that I’m near the end of it, and after hearing you talk, I can see that they’ve served a purpose. Like maybe I actually *needed* them as allies to help get me through. I’m feeling a lot more loving toward them now.

I also adored the love letter you wrote to facebook, twitter and email in your last post. “I am always connected.” You stopped me in my tracks with that one. I was touched and it resonated deeply. Too often I can be like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, always looking over the rainbow for connection when it’s right here in my own backyard.

Thanks for your wisdom and insight, Jen.

    jenniferlouden - January 13, 2014

    so happy it was of use Patty!!

Jodi Krahn - January 13, 2014

Hi! I loved the class, thank you so much. I was wondering where I can leave my 3 quiz answers?

    jenniferlouden - January 13, 2014

    great!! !!

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