S2 EP107 – Mucking Your Life

Episode Summary

Mucking your life is like mucking a horse stall of pooh. It about learning to clear out the pooh – the fears and false beliefs of your wounded self that are limiting you. It’s about moving beyond resistance and procrastination regarding learning to love yourself enough to create a life of love and freedom, rather than a life filled with the muck that comes from self-abandonment.  Are you ready to learn to clear out the muck in your life?


Hi everyone! This is Dr. Margaret Paul with the Inner Bonding podcast. And today I want to talk about getting the yuck out of your life. Many of you know that Dr. Erika Chopich, the co-creator of Inner Bonding, and I, now in our later years, share a home and a ranch as Golden Girls, which is a really great way for older women to live. And one of the responsibilities we often share is taking care of our beloved horses. While I can’t help groom and muck stalls during the week when I’m working, I do this work with the horses on weekends. I also get time with them early in the morning at 6 AM when I go out to feed them, and often in the evenings to bring them in for their evening feeding.

Horses were my passion as a child and my dream was always to live on a ranch with horses. It took a long time to get here but I feel so blessed to realize my dream in my elder years! And this would not have happened were it not for the fact that Erika was born on a farm and was training her horse and riding a tractor by the time she was eight years old. There is no doubt that Erika is one of the very best natural horse trainers ever. She is a horse whisperer, tuning in to exactly what a horse feels and needs. I’ve seen her take abused and neglected horses and bring them into a loving and affectionate partnership.

Having come from a very abusive childhood, it was the animals on the farm that taught her about love and likely saved her life, and now she is devoted to their care. The vets call our horse property, Horsey Hilton! No one takes care of animals like Erika.

One Sunday I was mucking out the pee and poop from the shavings in one of the stalls, with another person who was new to helping us, and she said, “This is tedious.” I looked at her surprised because for me it wasn’t at all tedious. I said to her, “Try getting very present with the joy of creating a clean stall for the horses and using the mucking as a meditation.”  When I later told Erika about this, she said that this would be a good topic for a podcast – finding the joy in clearing out the muck from your life. “Great!” I said, and again picked her brain for her brilliant ideas about this.   

“My life with my horses teaches me so much,” she said. “Connecting with them is always about teaching and healing and loving. Loving them always brings me new learning.” 

She went on to say that “No matter how soft the shavings are in the stall that holds your life, it’s also mixed with a lot of poop, and every now and then you need to muck that stall. Like many tasks or chores, the mucking can be boring, dull, annoying, and feeling like it’s robbing you of your time. If this is how it feels, it means that you are in your wounded self with an intention to control, or resist, or avoid, and you might feel resentful of having to do the task. In fact, you might just continue to avoid it with procrastination. But if your intention is to be loving to yourself, then the task becomes meditative and spiritually connected, and clearing out the muck in your life can be freeing and wondrous and open. So let’s get out the mucking fork and get to work, lovingly clearing the muck out of your life!

Erika went on to say that “Horses thrive in health when they live in a clean barn. The health of the horse begins with the cleanliness of the barn and so it is with us. When we allow our lives to be cluttered and soiled, we can no longer rely on our vitality and our spiritual connection to carry us through the difficult times.

“The poop on the stable floor or the poop in your life that is put there by your wounded self, gets cleared by your connection to your higher self. It’s your spiritual guidance that helps you to remove it, and a task done in love enhances us more than a job done in drudgery. The loving adult is the fork, the part of us that takes loving action, guided by our guidance who knows what needs to be kept and what needs to be discarded.

“Now the question is, what do we do with the muck that we clear from our lives? This brings us to intention.

“The pieces of pooh are your bad habits, your controlling behaviors, your wounded self being out of control, and it litters your life just like it litters a stall, making it impossible to have a clean relationship and impossible to have health and wellbeing. So, what do you do as you work through these issues created by your wounded self? What do you do with them? Where do they go?

“The word is transformation. What we’re talking about is the transformation can occur when we take the pooh from the stall and spread it on the pasture and use it to regenerate the pasture. Clearing the muck out of your life brings about transformation because the muck itself is transformed. We can look at the muck in our lives as energy coming from an intention to control. When we shift our intention, the energy used to control is transformed into love, and that’s regenerative.

“The tool we use to do this, the fork, is our connection to God, to spirit, to your higher self because we can’t do it without this love and guidance, and once all of that is cleared out, we’re free to add more soft loving shavings to bring in comfort and peace.”

I chimed in. “In the past, when my wounded self was more in charge and I was less able to be in the moment, mucking a stall felt like a chore, and now mucking a stall is a meditation that brings me joy. Mucking a stall for the horses is like making a clean bed for them and we do it out of love.”  

“Right” said Erika, “and we clear the muck from our lives, from our wounded self, to make a clean bed for our relationships to grow, to be healthy. That’s the point – to be healthy and when we do it out of love for ourselves rather than as a chore, that’s when transformation occurs. If it feels like a chore, then you’re doing it to control, and transformation will not occur. When mucking your life or yourself, feels like a chore, you put it off and procrastinate, and pretty soon the pooh in your life builds up just like it would in a stall, until the task feels overwhelming.

“Then you want somebody to do it for you, and you resent doing it because it seems like something you have to do rather than something you want to do. And you do anything to get somebody else to do for you instead of meeting the challenge head on.”

“And, of course,” I said, “this is what causes major problems in relationships – abandoning yourself and then expecting someone else to muck your stall. You miss so much of what a loving relationship is all about when your intent is to control, or avoid, or protect against pain. When your intent is to love yourself enough to clear out the wounded muck in your life, you are free to share love with your beloved.”

That ended our conversation, and now I want to go on to talk more about the big issue of how you see loving yourself. It does take some discipline to practice Inner Bonding and learn to love yourself. Do you see this as a chore or as a freedom?

So how do you discover the deeper reasons for resistance and procrastination? By doing Inner Bonding! So here is the conundrum. You have to consciously ‘want to’ have the joy and freedom that taking loving action on your own behalf gives to you, more than you ‘want to’ avoid whatever it is you are avoiding. When it becomes truly more important to you to experience the fullness, peace, joy and sharing of love that can result from clearing out the muck in your life with your Inner Bonding practice, then your conscious ‘want to’ will prevail.Julie Andrews said that “Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly.” And that’s exactly how I feel about it.

How often have you said to yourself, “I have to take the time to do some Inner Bonding,” or “I’d better do my Inner Bonding work.”

If this is what you hear yourself say, it is your wounded self, trying to have control over getting you to do something that you think you ‘should’ do. Your wounded self sees Inner Bonding as a chore, something you ‘have to’ do to be okay. When this is your mindset about doing your inner work, then you might find yourself in resistance, because another aspect of your wounded self hates being told what you ‘should’ or ‘have to’ do.

The wounded self misses the point. Just as a diligent practice of playing the piano eventually gives you the freedom to play spontaneously, or the diligent practice of running gives you the freedom to run in a marathon, the diligent practice of Inner Bonding gives you the freedom to take loving care of yourself, bring yourself joy, and share your love with others.

The secret to letting go of the resistance and the resulting procrastination to practicing loving yourself – or practicing anything – is about finding the place within your heart that consciously wants the freedom and fullness that practicing Inner Bonding gives to you. As long as your mindset is focused on ‘have to’ rather than ‘want to,’ you will likely find yourself procrastinating loving yourself enough to clear out the muck from your wounded self.

‘Have to’ generally comes from your wounded self, while a conscious ‘want to’ comes from your heart and soul. Your loving adult then takes the actions to bring about what you want.

The problem comes in when you believe that you want to do something, but you find yourself procrastinating. When this is the case, you need to explore more deeply, to discover the underlying subconscious ‘want to’ of your wounded self that is causing your resistance.

For example, you might say to yourself, “I want to do an Inner Bonding practice every morning for 15 minutes so that I can heal the false beliefs that are limiting me. I want to clear out the muck in my life.” You do it for a day or two, but then it starts to fall by the wayside. When this is the case, it is because there is a deeper, subconscious ‘want to.’ Perhaps your deeper ‘want to’ is “I want to avoid the painful feelings that might come up during an Inner Bonding exploration,” or “I want to sleep a little longer,” or “I want to get things on my to-do list done,” or “I want to avoid the failure of not doing it ‘right.’” There could be many other deeper subconscious ‘want tos’ that are getting in the way of your conscious ‘want to.’

This conscious ‘want to’ is not in your mind – it is in your heart and soul. Your wounded-self lower left-brain mind may continue to find many reasons to procrastinate. If you allow your mind to be in charge, rather than your heart and soul, you will likely continue to stay stuck with the muck in various aspects of your life.

Discovering the ‘want tos’ of your heart and soul really does lead to freedom, joy, and the ability to share love.

In relationships, who does what chores are often the focus point of conflict. Yet when each partner or roommate is focused on loving themselves and being loving to the other person, chores, like the chore of mucking the stall, can become a vehicle of connection.

One of the major complaints I hear from my clients who are married is around the issue of chores. I can tell you from my own 30-year marriage that the issue of chores was a big deal in leading to the end of the marriage. It was the issue that broke the camel’s back.

What happened was that my ex-husband wanted to have our big Thanksgiving dinner at our home instead of at my parents’ home, and I was all for it – IF he promised to help. My experience in the past was that I ended up doing all the work and was too tired to enjoy the dinner, whereas when it was at my parents’ home, I knew that my father was an equal contributor regarding family events. My ex readily promised to help, but on the day of the dinner, he did nothing. “You promised to help if we had the dinner,” I said. “I need your help.” He smirked at me, as if to say, “gotcha,” going into his usual resistance, and walked away. I felt crushed, and my inner child was upset with me that I had believed him when he so often either forgot what he had said or went into resistance.

That’s the day I moved out of our bedroom and into my upstairs art loft. “I’m not going to spend any more time with you until you can be loving and caring toward me for three months,” I told him. In the past he could do it for a week or so and then would go back to being angry and resistant. I gave him two years to learn to be loving, caring, and respectful toward me, and he never did, so our marriage ended.

Of course, the issue around chores wasn’t our only problem, but it was indicative of the underlying issues, which were a lack of caring and respect toward me, and often treating me with anger, withdrawal, sarcasm, and projection – followed by the crazy-making of denying that he was doing these things and blaming me instead. And, of course, I was an equal participant in this system with my caretaking, giving myself up and accepting his and others’ unloving behavior toward me, so I was equally responsible for the problems. Just as his anger and resistance were his forms of control, my compliance was my form of control.

I was very ill at the time, and I didn’t realize that I was sick due the deep depletion of giving myself up. It was only when I started to practice Inner Bonding that I realize that I needed to heal my end of our system in order to know whether our marriage could be saved. Unless there is physical or emotional abuse, I often advise clients who may want to leave their relationship to stay and heal their end of the relationship system first before deciding to leave. Often changing their end of the system changes the relationship in very positive ways and even if it doesn’t, they won’t take their self-abandonment and resulting controlling behavior into another relationship.

I’m so glad that I did my Inner Bonding work before the relationship ended. 

Do you know that doing chores together can help create intimacy?

Recent research indicates that couples who do chores together, rather than one person doing more chores, or splitting the chores, have more emotional and physical intimacy. Doing chores alone can sometimes be lonely, while doing them together can be a time of fun, sharing and affection, and it certainly makes the time go by faster when you are doing the dishes together rather than doing them alone. Sharing chores may be especially important when you have children, because it’s often hard to find time to get together to talk about your day or share your feelings with each other.

While the research shows that couples who do chores together have better marriages, I wonder if the underlying truth is that couples who enjoy being together and have good marriages find that they enjoy doing chores together. Is the doing of chores together the cause of their intimacy or the result of it? More research would need to be done to determine this.

Regardless of which comes first, I would think that couples who do chores together have a better chance at feeling connected with each other than those who don’t. Not only does it give you some time together, but it also prevents both the resentment of one person doing too many of the chores, and the loneliness of doing chores alone.

If you are not doing chores together with your partner or roommate, you might consider seeing if the other person is willing to do this with you. It’s certainly easier to muck your house together!

If you are not in a relationship or not living with a roommate or as a Golden Girl as we live, then consider using your chores as a form of meditation. You might find that learning to get present and meditate during your household chores makes it easier to practice Inner Bonding to muck out the pooh from the false, self-limiting beliefs of your wounded self. I often find that when I’m doing a fairly mindless task, like mucking the stall or washing dishes, I can tune into my higher guidance and receive loving energy and important information. I get energized rather than depleted when doing a chore along with my higher guidance!

I encourage you to shift your intent from avoiding facing the past and present pain of the muck in your life, to learning how to compassionately heal the pain through your Inner Bonding practice, so that you can live a life of joy, freedom, sharing love, and manifesting your dreams. You will find that being able to co-create with spirit and manifest your dreams becomes a reality as you have the courage to clear out the low frequency of the muck in your life that comes from your intent to control, avoid, and protect against pain, and bring in the high frequency of love, compassion, and truth.

You can learn to clear out the muck in your life with my 30-day home study course, “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”

You can learn to clear out the muck in your relationships and Heal your relationships with my 30-Day online video relationship course: Wildly, Deeply, Joyously in Love.

You can learn to do this with your higher guidance with my 30-day video course, Unlocking Your Inner Wisdom.

My recent books will also be a big help to you: The Inner Bonding Workbook: Six Steps to Healing Yourself and Connecting With Your Divine Guidance,  Diet for Divine Connection: Beyond Junk Foods and Junk Thoughts to At-Will Spiritual Connection, and 6 Steps to Total Self-Healing: The Inner Bonding Process.

And, of course, we have much to offer you at our website at https:www.innerbonding.com.

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

©Dr. Margaret Paul, 2022

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