Florence and the Machine accurately sing: “It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back, so shake him off”
Listen here if you love good music 😉 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbN0nX61rIs
I want you to try and picture the devil literally on your back. Stop reading and try to picture it. Gross, yeah?
In my mind, that devil is a gargoyle shaped little fu*ker. He has scaly skin and weights a disproportionally large amount for his size. He is as dense as a bowling ball and he has claws that can grip through leather. He has excellent balance and loves to laugh a gritty giggle when you fail at the things that you try to accomplish. His face is in a constant maniacal grimace and his shoulders are high and hunched over his painfully crooked spine. He feeds on rotten fish carcasses and vegemite and only wants you to eat his week-old leftovers.
Another thing about this schmuck of a creature is that he loves company. He wants you in his clique and he wants you on his team… but be clear on this:
The devil is always team captain. Always.
Am I talking about heaven and hell and angels and demons? No. I am talking about the little stuff that sets you off track when you have all the potential and all the awesome in the world to make things happen.
I am talking about the devil that is keeping you from dancing.
As potential filled, limitless, amazing minds, we dream all sorts of beautiful things when the devil is off bugging some other poor soul. We are learners, we are lovers, we are excelling at work, we are being kind friends, we are on time, ever-eager, I can do anything types, we wake up in time to make the bed, eat a well balanced breakfast and have a well intentioned good hair day. We are readers and writers, we are organized and energetic, we don’t complain and we treat ourselves really well. We think two levels deeper than we did yesterday and we are out to be our most amazing version of ourselves. We throw the shades open and take in the view, realizing that this life isn’t going to revolve around a moping, pathetic complainer. Problems are analyzed and solved, opportunities are scooped up like sand being gathered for a castle.
Even when we are the aforementioned versions of ourselves, we all know that the devil is always creeping nearby. He will never die and he will never move to Sioux Falls to take a job with the government. He is at home, at work, in your head and at least for now, a little bit in your heart.
See, part of the problem with this Devil is that he has better hearing than a father with a teenaged daughter with a propensity to sneak out of the house at night. He’s got a nose like a coonhound. He hears your laughter, your joy, your eager questions as you learn and grow and he loves to hate that growth. Smelling your enthusiasm, he slithers in when you start to doubt your way.
Doubt is the Devil’s pheromone.
Picture this… it is a great day- you’ve been given a shot you didn’t expect, your relationships are swelling in healthy growth, you have lost 5 pounds, basically, things are going your way and it feels great… BAM… Right in the middle of posting a happy musing on Facebook, it hits you. A nasty (oooooh jealousy) comment from a co-worker, a cancellation on an important deal at work, your spouse says something that just tans your hide… to a rational, outsider’s perspective, these things are like hey, no biggie… deal with it and get on with your day, but to the person on the receiving end of this funk, the damage is done and momentum can be officially thwarted. These little imbalances in your day, your mood, your flow, are cracks.
A crack in the door lets the cold air in, a crack in the door of the fridge wastes energy (thanks mom), a crack in the mirror skews the view and a crack in the bone weakens the whole body…
These cracks are where the Devil dwells and he can squeeze through some impressively small spaces. One crack in your mood can allow the weight, the smell, the small thinking mindset of the Devil to take over… how does he do this? He crawls up on your back and weighs you down. He jumps, he bites your neck and he smells so bad that people start to avoid you.
Everything suddenly takes three times as much effort. Enter procrastination, enter slothy, grumpy, complaining inaction, enter the blahs. Simple tasks like grocery shopping, giving your honey a smooch upon coming home, calling a friend who needs your help, all become as difficult as pushing a tractor tire across a football field. You start the “blah I’ll just do it later” mindset and it is all over from there.
Basically, when the devil shows his face, life sucks.
So what do we do about this devil? He’s not going anywhere and he is a smart little de… yeah.
We repel him by leaning in to what we love, with what electrically charges us, we do more good.
Be as opposite to the lethargic devil as you can be. Be active and encouraging, alert and clear minded. Be light and be excited. Be a learner and be enthusiastic. Have goals and get those goals. Keep on track with what you love.
The cracks that let doubt and fear seep in can be sealed with new effort, a great perspective and seeking the best in everything we do.
Shake him off by sealing him out. When you feel him getting close, when you feel your mood changing, your enthusiasm lacking, those little “I’m not good enough”s seeping in, patch that crack and take pride knowing that you saw it coming and fixed it before you let the devil weigh you down.