Feeling Not Okay? Lower Your Sails & Give Yourself Permission to Wait Out The Storm

Michael Francis
6 min readMay 28
You can’t control the winds, but you choose how you fly your sails. (Image Credit: Kristel Hayes on Unsplash)

We have zero control over the winds that prevail through our life, but we have every ability to control where we put our sails. That doesn’t mean that boats will never take on damage, that boats will never take on water, and that no boat will ever be overwhelmed and sink; but all of those dangers are a fraction of what they would be once we get those sails down.

I have an interesting relationship with self help books.

Many of them are very…woo-woo. And I am an evidence based and peer reviewed research kind of guy. Talking in the abstract can be far more detrimental than it can be good.

But there’s a flip side of that coin: if you are open to the idea that it’s not objective, some could have some benefit on you. In short, if you enjoy those books for what they are — an attempt to provide insight, or new perspective — they can be very helpful.

One of the better of the self-help books I’ve come across.

One of my favorite such books is Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth. Easy to read, and from a guy that kind of admits he has no real expertise beyond his own direct experience. He has an odd enlightenment story that included walking away from his life into homelessness. Listening to him talk, I’m something profound happened to him, and appreciate many of his insights.

Or perhaps he’s selling palatable shit, but all the same, if it helps, right?

From that book, one of the best things I took from it was a concept he called pain body. (Also, been a few years, if I misrepresent him here, I’m going off memory; take this piece more for what it is, and less for what he teaches. I would not want to be admonished for getting it wrong.)

The brain is a powerful tool — sometimes that causes trouble. (Image Credit: Josh Riemer on Unsplash)

Pain body, Tolle says, is the energy within you that lives off of the pain and suffering of life. And should you give in, should you allow it to be fed (which most of us do), it will grow strong, powerful.

Michael Francis

Trying to live and promote an examined life.