Benefits of conscious withdrawal

‘Does the world, as it is presented to me, merit my full participation?’

This is the question that mathematician and philosopher Charles Eisenstein poses in his article ‘Mutiny of the Soul’

Eisenstein argues that when we get ill it is our body telling us that we cannot carry on participating in life in the way we have been. He says that there is something wrong with the world as we are trying to live in it, not us. In this situation we need to withdraw from the world and re-enter it from a new perspective. We cannot go back to our old way of life or else we will just get sick again.

A brilliant chiropractor that treated me told me that my body has been trying to protect me not hurt me, and I believe she was right. Once I can learn how to listen to the signals my body is trying to tell me, the true intuition as opposed to the disordered thoughts that arise, I will begin to heal.

In my life I have often started and given up many things like jobs, courses and hobbies and seen that as failure. I have also stayed in situations for far longer than I should have for fear of upsetting the status quo and witnessed the negative effects on my health. I can now see that listening to my intuition and withdrawing from the world when it doesn’t feel right is actually the intelligent and protective course of action rather than being failure or a sign of mental instability.

I am currently going through another difficult period in my life where I have suddenly and inexplicably experienced unfair loss and abuse of trust. Everything within me is telling me to withdraw from that situation. This time I’m going to listen. Instead I have turned away and reached out to other areas of my life and have been rewarded with a rekindling of old friendships to replace the ones I recently lost. Whilst at first I was worried that my desire to withdraw may be a sign of depression and anxiety, and old patterns of disordered behaviour, I can now see that it is actually the intelligent thing to do. So instead of reducing my self-esteem it is starting to bolster it.

It is important to point out, however, that by withdrawing I am not ignoring. I am experiencing a lot of pain from the situation, even though I am trying to withdraw from it as much as possible. I am working on a balance of processing these emotions some of the time and distracting myself with positive activities like exercise, study, friends and cooking the rest of the time. I am communicating that I am hurting and struggling instead of repressing and pretending I’m ok.

Eisenstein advises that if you are going through this process the most important thing is self-trust. This is something I have recently realised I am not very good at and am trying to work on. Listening to your intuition and following through on the actions it suggests is self-trust.

Here is what Eisenstein says about self-trust:

‘Trust your own urge to withdraw even when a million messages are telling you, “The world is fine, what’s wrong with you? Get with the program.” Trust your innate belief that you are here on earth for something magnificent, even when a thousand disappointments have told you you are ordinary. Trust your idealism, buried in your eternal child’s heart, that says that a far more beautiful world than this is possible. Trust your impatience that says “good enough” is not good enough. Do not label your noble refusal to participate as laziness and do not medicalise it as an illness. Your heroic body has merely made a few sacrifices to serve your growth.’

Trust yourself. Keep trying, keep listening, keep withdrawing and evolving. Keep growing and through doing so, keep healing.


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