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My Inner Rebel

Have you ever rebelled against the idea of doing something, even something you enjoy and that makes you feel good, for no real reason?

I run into this more than I’d like, in a number of areas. For instance, some days I rebel against meditating in the morning, going for a walk (even if it’s a gorgeous day), eating mindfully, and more. Sometimes l don't want to be mindful, damn it. Sometimes I just want to turn my brain off and eat while watching TV, or get extra sleep rather than meditate, or be a lump on the couch. Why is this? Why is it sometimes such an effort to do these things?

I have to wonder if part of it is the way we romanticize rebels. Consider – in Star Wars, we’re meant to root for the Rebellion, not the Empire. We like characters with an edge to them, who can be "bad,” and we’re derogatory to those who play by the rules. Calling someone a "goody-two-shoes" is not meant as a compliment.

So if we like rebels, why not be one? Why not be bad and take some risks and live a little, right?

Except the real question is, what are we rebelling against? Who are we fighting, and who gets hurt in the process?

Far too often, we’re the ones who get hurt in that battle against some idealized notion of the way things are supposed to be. If l eat the chocolate, it's my stomach that will complain if I've had too much. If I’m not mindful, and don’t give myself breaks, it's me that will feel stressed and over-booked with all my multitasking. And yet the inclination to rebel still crops up.

Maybe instead I need to reframe what I think of as "bad" and what I want to rebel against. Maybe I should rebel against the idea of these perceived behaviors as good and bad. Maybe, in our over-stimulated world, slowing down and being mindful is a revolutionary act. And in that view, l can be a rebel simply by stepping outside to doing nothing but breathing deeply. I like that idea, and if you, too, want to rebel, I invite you to join me.

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