In this life, the only thing for which you have complete responsibility and over which you have complete control is your chosen perspective and response. All other forms of control are illusions, at best.
Yet, despite our best efforts, any of us can become anxious and irritated when overwhelmed by stress and ancient self-destructive scripts. Reinforced by “gremlins”—those sabotaging voices in our heads repeating nasty messages of limitation and lack—our discouraging thoughts and feeling quickly edge out any memory of how to operate from love and light.
In chapter 6 of my book, Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!, I talk at some length about how gremlins show up in relation to your “personal board of directors.” Your three-member board—sage, guardian, and muse—is a useful construct for sorting your vast array of gifts, passions, options, fears, and coping mechanisms into three distinct though interrelated subsets to reduce the complexity of understanding what you’re experiencing in each moment and the specific path to finding greater equanimity.
When fueled by love, you can trust your board’s discernment—reasoning and intuition—to help you foster equanimity and access your deepest wisdom to reveal and advance the highest good for all, in all, through all. They do this by creating a moment-by-moment custom blend of competencies that varies based on the optimal mix for the opportunities in each life situation.
In contrast, when they switch to fear as their fuel instead of love, your board members’ gremlin personas take over and block your forward progress by focusing their energies on infighting, backbiting, and one-upmanship on a grand scale.
When they first give birth to their gremlin personas, their mission is simple: to protect us from ever again experiencing painful or embarrassing situations. As we get older and our lives become more complex, our sages, guardians, and muses see that many situations, while different in details, offer the same opportunity for pain. As their fears continue to grow, so do the possibilities for gremlin interference by board members who expand their job definition to include any situation or person who could ever lead to discomfort. Talk about limiting our world. The great irony is that when in the grip of fear, gremlins will do whatever it takes—including some very underhanded tactics—in order to protect us from the potential danger “out there.” They become the enemy within.
In this context, the term gremlin is used as a metaphor for a part of you that is neither inherently evil nor intentionally harmful but a deeply rooted pattern of behavior triggered by your oldest most painful scenarios and a deep need to protect yourself by any means necessary. In short, they keep you small because they believe that is what safe looks like.
Remember that their gremlin activity is actually good news. It means you are on the verge of a big breakthrough in personal growth. Your sage, guardian, or muse “go gremlin” because they are afraid they won’t be able to keep you safe when you get that big. Remember the steps to soothing their fears:
- Seek to understand what old concerns have been brought out of hiding.
- Help them differentiate the remnants of past pain from today’s reality.
- Remind them that small does not necessarily equal safe for an adult.
- Clarify that following your authentic path with love and without fear is what safe looks like now.
- Harness their loyalty.
- Leverage their core gifts of discernment, discipline, and imagination to keep moving yourself forward into a life you love.
To help yourself remain mindful of this healthier new habit, try incorporating relevant affirmations that anchor you in equanimity. Here are three of my personal favorites:
- I dwell in equanimity, free from craving, aversion and indifference.
- Whatever my circumstances, I know who I am and Whose I am. I am a unique cocreative expression of the Divine.
- Universal love is always unfolding the highest good. I relax into all that was, is and will be.
A real-time Equanimity Scan can help you identify specifically where your personal board members have become derailed by fear and how love might help them get back on track.
Below you will find a snapshot of the worksheet used for the scan. In my book, Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!, I provide a variety of scans to help you recognize when you are out of alignment and get yourself back on track, including the Equanimity Scan. Click here to download a FREE full-size, color version of my Equanimity Scan, along with full-size, color versions of all of the other illustrations and scans included in my book.
The Equanimity Scan consists of a five-step process, with each step grounded in caring enough about yourself to do the following:
- Pay attention so that you notice quickly whenever fear creeps into your board’s energetic mix.
- Invest your energy in assessing the root cause of the fear. Using the fears and synonyms listed on the left side of the form, identify which member or members may have become dysfunctional based on which fears align most closely with the way that member is wired. Realize that in any given difficult situation, one, two, or all three members may have fallen into the grips of their own particular fears. Understanding what’s gotten each of them riled up is the best way to begin determining what can restore each of them to love and wholeness.
- Once you have identified the root fears at work, the love alternatives, and the board members involved, determine what baby steps will strengthen the presence of love in your board’s energetic mix based on the scan’s indicator of how to restore love. Especially in the case of the guardian, make sure any “plan” is a baby step and not an eighty-seven-point fifteen-year plan in fifteen-minute increments. Such a detailed plan might thrill the guardian, but it will introduce a new challenge as it sends the sage and muse screaming into the night. Likewise, overdoing it with the sage or muse is likely to throw one or both of the other two members into a tizzy. The optimal realignment approach will take into account the entire board as individuals and a team. The plan will be infused with understanding, balance, and harmony.
- Hold yourself accountable for following through on your commitment to take action.
- Assess your result and continuously refine and expand your action plan to maximize the presence of love and minimize the presence of fear in your board members’ execution of their daily responsibilities.
Respecting your feelings enough to notice them and then demonstrating curiosity and compassion about them, rather than continuing to tell yourself to suck it up and stop being a wimp, will result in far greater emotional equilibrium and resilience in the face of life’s ups and downs. You’re worth the effort!