When we refrain from trying to ‘beautify’ everything — we allow ourselves to dance with discomfort and reveal its true gifts
Things change…and so do we. They can feel hard and ugly and painful. They can fall apart. At times, they can even feel like they are pushing us to the brink. They can crash or gently slip away. We can get stuck in a place lamenting what once was, the way things used to be, longing for a previous version of ourselves and our stories. Some things are worth holding onto…others not.
No one really welcomes discomfort — even those who know it will serve them. And yet, we can’t escape the messiness of the human experience. Just as when we find ourselves in an uncomfortable position sitting in a chair and we readjust…we also possess the power to do the same within the larger context of our emotional and spiritual lives.
Life is meant to be fluid. We are meant to evolve and grow — to walk away, to shift, to become more of ourselves, to change our mind.
And yet, many of us have been raised in a culture that taught us to label discomfort as danger, something to hide, deny, move through as quickly as possible. We weren’t taught to identify the wise sage within us; the one alerting us to look around, assess, feel, see something else.
Our healing tells us, get over it. Our wounds say, hold on. Thus, the complicated battle for transformation waltzes within us — making us feel like, I’ve got this one week and I can never get over this the other. Aaaah, the journey.
I know, it kind of feels like double speak, right? Why would I ever want to hold onto anything that causes discomfort? It’s not about agreeing to remain wounded or afraid or small. It’s about seeing each chapter as an essential piece to helping you get to the next level. It’s about trusting that you’ve got the tools to handle whatever is before you even if you don’t yet understand it. And what if you were to think of your discomfort as a gift, as activators whispering to you…You can do hard things, as Glennon Doyle famously says.
I recently felt ‘grounded’ after breaking a toe days before a trip and then coming home to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. It felt like a physical manifestation of what I was feeling internally: stuck. Breaking the toe literally prevented me from being able to hike, jog or walk my dog in the woods behind my house — all of which, btw, has been playing a pivotal role in keeping me sane during COVID. And of course, the quarantine did the same. With gyms, yoga and Pilates studios, etc. still closed in New York, being outside has been my salvation. But these 2 things were literally out of my control. Can’t walk. Can’t leave.
Oh, despite being resigned to this 2-week fate, I did my fair share of complaining and danced with resistance which ultimately exhausted me. But I also allowed my mind to navigate its way out, moving in the direction of peace and resolve. Forget about the external details (like the reality of not being able to physically walk or leave my property) and focus on what you are being called to see.
My time during COVID has felt like trying to catch up to a dance partner before learning the steps.
Some parts I adapted to quickly and intuitively, others I struggled to ‘get in line’ and follow. I let go of some things and never missed them. I looked around and squeezed other things in deep gratitude. I also felt called to feel where I felt disappointed, vulnerable, sad and afraid. I didn’t push myself to feel better. I just sat down beside it. A week turned into weeks and weeks turned into the end of summer — and then before I knew it, I sat upon a season of change.
None of us thought we’d still be negotiating our way through this coronavirus fallout all this time later, and yet, here we are. Life is shifting with or without us. So, we get to choose how we are going to experience the ride. As I like to say, we get to ask, do we want to use it or be used by it?
Not every day has to be a revelation of epic proportions. Some days are simply gentle and quiet. They are tender and internal. Others may reveal epic breakthroughs. We need them all.
I gave myself a great gift this summer: no expectations. Sure, I had work to do, people to love and look after, a puppy to attend to — but I also allowed myself to not know what the hell I was doing, what I wanted and where I was going — or where this was all going to fit into this new world when it came to the bigger picture. And that my friends, is not a place of comfort for me.
But sometimes we are called to let go of preconceived notions of who we are and what we are supposed to be doing. Sometimes we simply have to breathe into the present moment of grace and allow what needs to tip toe forth from behind where it’s been hidden.
What is that for you? Is there something you need to see, let go of, negotiate, or claim? Probably. Despite the frustration and fear, the political landscape, the divisiveness and the fear-inducing mainstream media — what if this unprecedented time has been a gift to commune with your soul?
Walking by this small vase of flowers the other day, I simply paused. Normally, I would’ve just scooped it up, discarded the weathered flowers and moved on. But within the exhale of that sedentary moment, I recognized its beauty in this exact phase of its journey…and so I captured and made art of it. Such a great metaphor for our lives.
Yes, change is upon us. In reality it always is…so, what do we want to do with it? Let’s make art, art of our lives. Think of it as another masterful stroke on the painting of your life canvas. Wherever you find yourself right now in this moment reading this — honor it. Don’t judge it. Refrain from your old tricks of trying to make it go away. Be with it. Allow it to whisper its wisdom. It will come forth if you allow it. Your inner sage awaits, I promise. And dare I say, dance with it.
We can do hard things.~ Glennon Doyle
Where is discomfort calling to you during these strange months of upheaval and collective pause? Is something stirring within to be seen? Please share your experience in the comments below.