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Day 10: The Big Squeeze

October 24, 2023

“If we want to communicate and we have a strong inspiration to help others on the level of social action, on the level of our family, of work, in our community, or we just want to be there for people when they need us, then sooner or later, we’re going to experience the big squeeze – where our ideals and the reality of what’s really happening don’t match.”

Pema Chodrun – “Start where you are”

People regularly tell me I’m too hard on myself. I’ve never felt that to be the case and I’ve also never been able to work out why they thought it but this morning, Pema Chodrun’s book, “Start where you are”, dropped another piece of the puzzle into place for me.

For those of us with big goals and dreams, there’s a greater chance of coming face to face with our shortcomings and failings. It’s the distance between the ideals and reality that makes the difference.

I believe I’m capable of achieving the things I imagine. I’m not hard on myself because I’m beating myself up. I’m commenting on the big squeeze – where I know what’s needed in order to live my ideals and I’m aware that my reality doesn’t match.

In many ways, that’s what this blog series is about – because navigating the big squeeze has the capacity to be something enormously fulfilling but it’s also entirely possible to turn it into a self-flagellation session. I’d prefer to go the fulfilling route.

Practical Implications

Noticing that we’re falling short of the ideals we hold is not necessarily a bad thing. What we do with that information is what makes the difference.

In my case, I have to keep learning about how to navigate the gap between my ideals and my reality in such a way that the process of growing into the person I’d like to be is one that brings joy and fulfilment.

At the same time, I realise I’ve sometimes chosen to turn away from the realities that bring me face to face with the parts of me that make the “big squeeze” feel bigger.

I don’t yet have enough experience releasing myself from that stronghold but as I learn, I will share.

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