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i’m right on the edge of illness. yesterday i felt tired and had a headache. eventually i took an Advil and a 20-minute power nap before going to yoga (i know, i can’t help myself).
it is cloudy in LA right now, as it was yesterday. and Angelinos get extremely thrown off when our daily allotment of sunshine is tampered with, so it could just be sinus-y pressure.
i usually feel fantastic, so this downgrade is startling. but don’t feel bad for me! thanks to a theory i learned last week, i’m curious about this experience and i'm viewing it as never before.
on Friday i finished “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks, a self-help author. his main idea is people tend to self-sabotage when they’re reaching new highs in life because they’re uncomfortable with the elevated level of success. he calls it the “Upper Limit Problem,” and describes it as a “too-low thermostat setting on our ability to achieve and enjoy our ultimate success.”
we upper limit ourselves through worrying, squabbling, criticizing and blaming, and, unexpectedly, through accidents and illness.
now hold on, skeptics. yes, sometimes you simply fall off your pogo stick or drop a 5-gallon jug of wine on the top step of your four-story Italian apartment building (a true, visually-stunning story). but sometimes not.
Hendricks breaks the pain-as-upper-limit indicators into the three P’s: punishment, prevention, and protection.
his punishment example is getting migraines after each meeting with your lover, with whom you are having an affair. (despite my headache, this is not my issue)
but the other two categories might apply. prevention and protection are unconscious ways we keep ourselves from doing something we don’t want to do or feeling something we don’t want to feel.
“the illness or accident is your unconscious mind’s way clunky way of doing you a favor…the solutions it comes up with are often inelegant and primitive, but they are direct and effective,” Hendricks explains.
the solution is when we’re ill or in pain, we’re supposed to expand rather than contract. the message is “open up and embrace a new high-water mark of positive energy that’s trying to establish itself in you.”
as a result, in additional to diluted trader joe’s rio red grapefruit juice and boiron homeopathics (i.e. “magic pellets”), i’m adding awareness of the Upper Limit Problem to my illness-fighting arsenal. i wonder what will happen next…