There's this temptation that I face every day. It's powerful and strong and sings the sweetest tune. My life’s purpose and business often make it more difficult not to give in. At every turn I’m tempted to cave and it becomes difficult to see truth.
What if Neo took the blue pill? What if he never decided to follow the White Rabbit in the first place? The Matrix would have been a movie about a guy who is discontent and knows there’s something more. But all you’d see is 73 more minutes of a guy sitting in his cubicle, glued to a computer. What if Luke had ignored the partial clip of Princess Leia, chalking it up to a robotic malfunction? What if he declined Obiwan's invitation to join him on his mission to deliver the Death Star plans to the Rebel Alliance, taking over his aunt and uncle's farm instead? We would watch a young brat farm for 84 minutes.
The four years before I launched my business, I created a plan that would get it all rolling within three months. I also had a plan that would take me through the following nine months and generate enough income that would sustain my business. I even had investors lined up to help with that initial launch. I would dream about what it would be like to do the things I loved the most while having the freedom to create my own schedule and generate an income that could support me and my family. I created this plan within a matter of one month. I then spent the next four years coming up with any excuse to NOT launch that plan. I was terrified.
I remember the day my first dog died. Her name was ‘Lady’, of course. She had wandered onto our property when I was about one year old and despite our efforts to find her owner, no one ever claimed her. I can’t recall my childhood without including her because she was with me for the first 14 years of my life. On that day when we finally put her to sleep, I remember shutting down in an effort to avoid the pain.
My most memorable wrestling match in high school was against the toughest kid I had ever met. This guy had muscles growing on top of his muscles. Before the match, he was across the gymnasium, mouthing curse words that I hadn’t even heard before. I was intimidated. But something in me snapped in that moment and I realized that there was every possibility in the world that my best was good enough.
Being completely present means that I have to let people experience the totality of me. It’s easier to say a half truth than it is to let people see all the way through me. What if they don’t like what they see? What if I don’t like what I think they see?
I used to be the biggest cynic. It’s true. As a child I was always playing and using my imagination, but rarely was I ‘care-free’. I always saw what could go wrong and I expected it. I didn’t call myself ‘cynical’. Seriously, who ever wants to be known as a glass is half empty kind of person? But that’s what I was. I thought it meant that I was smart. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Anyone who’s had any amount of success in a venture knows this singular truth… a successful outcome for any project never looks like you envisioned it in the beginning. The path to success rarely runs according to the plan. The people you wanted to be involved with when you started executing never end up participating just the way you had hoped. The value that you ended up bringing to the world never looks like the value you had to offer in the beginning. And yet you have success all the same and it doesn’t matter that you took a winding path. The reason for the windy path is two-fold. First, life is never how we plan it. There are always variables that we never anticipate, no matter how long we brainstorm in our planning sessions. But, that doesn’t mean that we can’t choose to enjoy the creative process. Sometimes the unforeseen challenges that come up along the way lead us to our greatest innovations. Second, The Divine has way more in store for us than we have in store for ourselves. We can see clearly a few steps out on a great day. Some days, we can’t even see where our feet will land next. But The Divine sees further down the road than we could imagine and I believe takes great delight in throwing some curves and surprises our way. It’s these unplanned events, challenges and obstacles that hone our skills and strengthen us for even greater adventures and success in the future.
Thomas Edison had thousands of experiments that did not produce as he had hoped. However, he chose to see each of those as a stepping on his climb to success. Even the great plant fire of 1914, which destroyed half of his buildings, did not deter him. Instead, he saw it as an opportunity to rebuild a better one.
When you set your mark on creating something there will be unseen setbacks, course corrections, and help along the way. The cool thing is that these setbacks usually offer us the opportunity to tweak our work and humanity benefits from it in ways we never would have imagined. It’s the turns and obstacles in the road that refine and strengthen the value that we have to offer the world.
This will also test our resolve. ‘Are you truly called to do this?’ That’s a question you’ll end up asking yourself time and time again. But the difference with the successful person is that regardless of the twists and turns, they continue moving forward because they are convinced that the next breakthrough is directly on the other side of the seemingly impossible task that lies in front of them. So they make adjustments, put their head down, and continue the work they started. We are always adjusting our plan along the way.
There will be times when it seems like the people who were most interested in being involved in your project are no longer interested. But this isn’t always the case. That’s the lizard brain freaking you out. Sometimes people are just busy and it doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten you and your work. Other times they’ll back out completely for whatever reason they might have. It doesn’t matter. You’re going to keep moving on anyways. Because one things for sure… If you do stop, lose heart completely, and give up, there will be no successful windy path to look back on with gratitude and a sense of accomplishment.
"You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen." - Paul Coelho
"If you so choose, even the unexpected setbacks can bring new and positive possibilities. If you so choose, you can find value and fulfillment in every circumstance." - Ralph Marston
"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill
Everyone has a recurring thought… or two… or thousands. Similar thoughts bind together after being laid one on top of the other over the years to form a strong belief system. The incredible thing about belief systems is that they serve as a map to interpret the world around us, including our place in the world, and have the incredible power to shape our decisions in life. The power of a strongly held belief has exponential implications for the life of an individual and a community. Take Vera for example. She is in her late twenties and has come to believe that… “I’m just not that smart.” Why does she believe this? Why does she choose to see herself this way? If you asked her she would tell you that it’s mere fact. She never excelled in academics and was always in the middle to lower end of her class in terms of performance. She would tell you that there are certain books she just shouldn’t waste her time reading because there are some concepts that are ‘beyond’ her scope. With this belief entrenched in Vera’s mind, emotions and body, she limits her potential career opportunities, relationship dynamics, and possibility for growth in almost every area of her life. Exponential implications.
But if you press the question ‘why do you believe this’, there are all sorts of alternative possibilities to the opinion that she holds to so firmly.
Is it possible that Vera had an incredibly negative experience with an educator at an early age and always associated emotionally negative feelings with school, in turn tainting her desire to study or learn in that environment? Is it possible that one or both of her parents sent her the message that ‘no one in our family is all that smart and that’s just fine with us because no one likes a know-it-all.’ Could it be that different people learn and grow intellectually in various ways and the particular methods in which Vera is challenged intellectually were never afforded her along her educational path? Is it possible that the structure of western education is so focused on conformity to specific methods of education that often those who don’t conform as well to these methods are improperly labeled or mistakenly diagnosed with a disability? How many times would a young, impressionable mind have to be told this by an authority figure before they owned it as truth?
There are so many variations of these restricting views of ourselves that we tend to accept as fact, when in all likelihood, they are just opinions formed over time. Thoughts that we bought into enough times that they grew into a belief system, which we now whole-heartedly subscribe to.
I’m no good at math.
I can’t write to save my life.
I just can’t stop myself from eating.
I am not very coordinated.
My brother is the creative one.
I’m incapable of getting organized.
I can’t follow through on things.
I don’t have what it takes.
I’m not a good communicator.
I’m terrible at relationships and always will be.
Today I just want to call to your attention that there may be some beliefs you hold as truth about yourself and they are limiting you. Further, these beliefs aren’t based on reality, but are based on the collection of some data you’ve incorrectly extrapolated from some recurring experiences in your past. I would like you to list 3 beliefs you’ve held onto for almost as long as you can remember that you know limit you. And ask this question about each of of the beliefs you’ve listed… “Is it possible that it isn’t true?”
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____________________________________________________________________________ "Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives."
"What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are." - Anthony Robbins
"Truth lives, in fact, for the most part on a credit system. Our thoughts and beliefs pass, so long as nothing challenges them, just as bank-notes pass so long as nobody refuses them." - William James
“Never limit your view of life by any past experience” - Ernest Holmes
Last week we talked about those times when our growth means that we have to let go of certain people. Not because we don’t care about them, but because they’ve chosen to stay put… stagnant. Our action was a reflection, for them, of their inaction and they continued to act out against our better choices. But the other side of that coin is remarkable. Your choice to move forward and grow will attract like-willed people. When you endeavor and dare to live an extraordinary life, people of higher caliber who are seeking the same will suddenly show up beside you. It's amazing to have friends walking next to you on an extraordinary path, parallel to yours, because they’ve chosen to answer their own life’s calling. This is a necessary component to your growth and you won’t have to look that hard to find these people. This is because people who dare to do great things with their life recognize that quality within others. You’re at a conference and you can see it shining within the eye of a passing stranger. You hear it in their tone of voice when they are giving a presentation or simply talking about a project over dinner and drinks. You sense it in the way they treat those around them, particularly the way they treat the waiter, bartender and the young lady behind the airline ticket counter.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to these people, they want you to! They want to have the same type of connection and support that you crave. Imagine having a cohort or three that you know you can call when you get ‘stuck’ in the creative process. Someone or ‘some-ones’ (yes I make up words, go with it) who understand what it’s like to encounter resistance on a particular project and understand without you even having to explain. Yet they’ll force you to express your frustrations because they know that when you get that ‘stuff’ out in the open it will no longer own you.
These remarkable people are trustworthy. They value you and your mission and purpose in life. They know that you have great intentions, but they care too much to stand by and say or do nothing when its obvious that you’ve been stuck in a rut and dealing with something that seems to be holding you back. These are the people that are aware of their own shame and welcome you to share yours because they know that nothing works better against the grip of shame than bringing light to it. They won’t talk to you condescendingly and they can keep a tight lip because they have experienced that themselves and know how carefully what you share needs to be held.
One of the coolest aspects of having cohorts in your life is that when they share their passion and describe a project and their process it will inevitably stir something within you in regards to something you’re working on. The two projects may not even be related in the least, but your hearts for creativity most certainly are alike. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to a cohort share about a project so completely unrelated to my life and yet standing next to their fire somehow sparks were ignited within me.
When you do find yourself journeying next to these people, give freely. What you give to them without emotional, financial or spiritual strings attached will return to you with the same intensity with which you gave it.
So how exactly do you ‘reach out’ to these people? Keep doing what you’re doing, but lift your head up from time to time and take a look around you to see who else is moving in the same direction. Then summon the courage to ask a simple question. “I’m interested in what you’re working on these days, would you take a moment to share your experience with me?” If they say no, don’t take it personally, because it isn’t personal. Just try it again… and again… and again until someone bursts at the seams in response. Trust me, people love to talk about their passions and processes. Brene Brown says, “One of the greatest barriers to connection is the cultural importance we place on ‘going it alone.’ Somehow we’ve come to equate success with not needing anyone.” No one cares if you made it on your own. Because those who have had a moderate amount of success are already aware that it isn't possible alone. It doesn't work that way.
Someday you may find that a cohort’s passions and yours intersect on a particular project. Should that be the case, you will find that you are one of the most blessed people on the planet. When that wave comes along you just may have one of the most enjoyable experiences of your creative life. Ride that wave for all it’s worth.
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"My friends have made the story of my life. In a thousand ways they have turned my limitations into beautiful privileges and enabled me to walk serene and happy in the shadow cast by my desperation." - Helen Keller
"When a match has equal partners then I fear not." - Aeschylus
"I love acting with kids, cause they're great acting partners. They're totally present. Even when they're acting, they're still available and you can crack them up or something weird will happen and they'll go with it." - Mark Ruffalo
Yes, I do believe that one of the single most effective and powerful things we can do to participate in the Divine’s transformation of our own lives is to learn to love ourselves more. Time and time again, as I work with people, when we get to the core of the problem, be it limiting belief, addiction, etc., it is a lack of self-love. The thing that’s behind the thing that’s behind the thing is that they have placed a very low value on their life and don’t believe they deserve to be happy. It is the most messed up thing of all and most people are barely aware of it. I genuinely think people want to be happy. Yet deep down in places they haven’t explored often, they don’t believe they deserve to be happy or are worth it. It’s the most devious trick in humanity. Somewhere in our life we were told that we aren’t worth it. We either were treated that way by those who were supposed to love and protect us when we were young and vulnerable, or because of decisions we made in the past, mistakes, we buy into the lie that we don’t have value and we aren’t worth being loved. And yet we can spend our whole lives trying to prove that we are worth being loved and go to incredible lengths to try to show everyone that we are of value.
But you don’t have to prove anything. Let me say it again. You have nothing to prove. The fact that God created you is enough. That oxygen flows in and out of your lungs, bringing life to your blood cells, is enough. What if instead of constantly trying to prove ourselves to ourselves and everyone around us, we just acknowledged that because we are alive and loved by the Divine, that we are enough.
Tomorrow is the one day self-love challenge. Now if you just read that sentence and rolled your eyes a little, I understand. I used to respond in the same manner. And then I realized that being a control freak and a perfectionist, and being harder on myself than anyone else hadn’t really gotten me the things in life I want… peace, happiness, self-control, etc. Has the way you’ve been living your life taken you to the heights of your dreams? So why not take one day and commit to loving yourself? Why not take one day to be completely and utterly gracious with yourself? Why not take one day and instead of criticizing yourself for making a mistake, simply affirm that you love yourself anyways, just the way you are? Here are a few places to start...
1. Make the commitment to love yourself for 1 day: Make the commitment and choose love for yourself. Do it now. If love is the greatest gift we have to give, what could be possibly wrong with loving yourself for one day in all your thoughts and actions? Go ahead and literally write it out right now or type it in an email to yourself or send it as a text to yourself. "Tomorrow I will commit my entire day to practicing self love."
2. Affirm yourself verbally throughout the day: Think of the most loving thing you could say to yourself, and repeat regularly throughout the day. Get up and repeat it OUT LOUD to yourself first thing. Write it on a post it note and stick it on your bathroom mirror before you go to bed tonight. If you are having trouble coming up with something loving to say to yourself, try starting here.
3. Forgive yourself immediately after any intentional or unintentional mistake: So you just screwed up and maybe no one else knows it, but you do. Immediately forgive yourself. If it helps, you can allow yourself to feel your remorse and then say... "I totally and completely forgive myself for ____________________ and I release myself of all my anger and all my disappointment." Try it. Forgiveness is incredibly powerful and it is the one of the most freeing things to experience. In fact, maybe you want to start your day by forgiving yourself for everything you've done that you have yet to forgive yourself for.
4. Give yourself a gift: Choose one thing to do for yourself that you know brings you life and you know cares for your soul and heart. Maybe you love going for a run but haven't had time lately. Maybe there is a good book you just haven't allowed yourself to read lately because you haven't had time. Read it. Maybe there is a friend that always brings you life that you haven't spent time with or talk to lately. Ask them to hang out or simply call them and just talk.
Taking the one day self-love challenge is a gift that you can give to yourself with no strings attached. It's only one day. How bad could it possibly be? A better question and motivation is, how incredible might it be? What if you discover some things about yourself? Wouldn't it be worth it?
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me via the website and I will be glad to get back to you before you wake up tomorrow. What do you say? ARE YOU WORTH IT?
“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” - C.G. Jung
"Loving yourself…does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion. "- Margo Anand
"Well-ordered self-love is right and natural." - Thomas Aquinas
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“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” - Steven Pressfield. I’ve found this to be as true as anything in my life. Fear can be one of our truest compasses. That thing that makes us most uncomfortable, often times, is the thing we may need to run towards and embrace.
When was the last time doing the comfortable thing inspired anyone?
Comfortable is good for times of rest. And some of us desperately need some rest. But comfort is only meant for a little while, from time to time. Then we must look again to what scares us and head directly towards it.
Some will tell you that you should rid yourself of all fear. I think that is a sure way to repress your true feelings. Others will tell you to use fear as a motivation. It is a powerful motivation, sure enough. But I would rather use fear as a compass.
It scares you to death to leave your current profession and pursue your heart’s calling? That’s a sure sign that that is the direction for you. It makes your heart race and paralyzes you to even consider sharing your darkest secret with a trusted friend? You can know that that is the way to freedom. The thought of speaking up and telling those in authority over you that you disagree with them causes you to panic? It’s probably time to exercise your vocal chords. And so on, and so forth.
I don’t think its really a question of how much courage do you have to face your fears or to allow yourself to be uncomfortable. I think its more a question of, “how bad do you want to live a full and meaningful life?” If the desire for a full and meaning is there and if it runs deep, then chances are you won’t allow your fears to keep you at bay.
Instead you’ll use what scares you as a compass and know with certainty the directions you need to pursue. So how bad do you want it? What is it worth to you to live a full and meaningful life?
For a long time I’ve known that one of my next steps is to take on more clients as a mentor. I have all kinds of doubts and fears about that. Do I know enough? Can I sustain that kind of career long term? Do I want to leave the comfort of a steady paycheck for a riskier endeavor, even though the ceiling is much higher fiscally, the freedom is greater and it aligns more with my purpose. But the more I realize how scared I am of taking that risk, the more I realize the direction I need to go. It confirms my hearts true desires.
And I want to live a full and meaningful life. How about you? What scary thing do you need to move towards? What risk do you need to take? What person do you need to? What decision do you already know you need to make in order to have a more full and meaningful life?
There was a time in my life when I wouldn’t allow myself to feel uncomfortable. If I was in a particular situation I didn’t want to be in, I would lie to myself and try to convince myself that everything was ok, or I would simply come up with an excuse and bow out. In fact when I was a child I would constantly try to get out of going to school because being at school just made me uncomfortable. Or if there was a relationship in which I felt the other person wasn’t satisfied with me, instead of allowing myself to sit with those feelings, I would go to great lengths as soon as humanly possible to try to mend the perceived rift. I just didn’t think I could cope with feeling uncomfortable. This was extremely dangerous for me. Over the years I found myself doing all kinds of things that were self-destructive, just so that I wouldn’t feel things like loneliness, heart ache, dissatisfaction, anger, fear, shame, ____________, etc. Slowly over time I began to lose all sight of who I was, what I wanted, and how I could live into my purpose. This unwillingness to sit with any awkward feelings was one of the main reasons I ended up spending years in a downward spiral trying to hide in substance abuse and dysfunctional relationships. Fortunately when I hit rock bottom, I had people to turn to.
After cleaning up and getting some clarity, I eventually began to realize that my addiction wasn’t to cocaine. My addiction was to not feeling uncomfortable and going to any length in order to hide from any and all dissatisfaction. As I’ve said before, the problem with trying to negate what some consider negative emotions is that you end up negating all emotions. We can’t just selectively turn off part of our emotions and expect to feel the others. So when you shut out feelings like anger, sadness, discomfort, you also shut out joy, elation, satisfaction, etc. But there is another way.
It is the way of courage. It is the way of hope. It is the way of allowing yourself to fully feel any and all emotions. Brene Brown, in ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ details the power and the benefits of allowing yourself to be fully present with all of your feelings. This takes some practice and isn’t something that just happens over night. It takes constant reminders and the courage when we begin to feel uncomfortable to not shut down.
One thing that helps is to ask questions. Why does this situation always make me feel uncomfortable. What is the precise emotion I am feeling that makes me want to run or hide? Why do I think that person is unhappy with me? Are they really? Does it really matter? Sitting with these questions will yield answers. These answers won’t come from the external world… they will come from deep within you.
The more comfortable you can grow so that you can sit with the uncomfortable in your life, the better quality of life you will have. Things won’t sneak up on you as much. You’ll recognize what triggers you and sends you for a loop before it actually locks you into the roller coaster and launches onto the tracks.
So what does trigger you? What emotions do you avoid? How often do you lie to yourself and say ‘nothings really wrong’? Once you’ve sat with those negative feelings long enough, they lose the power over you that they once had. You’ll find yourself able to make clear decisions based on who you are and what you want, as opposed to making decisions based on how to avoid feeling awkward or uncomfortable.
So sit with it. Sit with it all. What once felt impossible to deal with will seem like a very little problem indeed.
Doing the work is rarely sexy, but it has teeth. Many people have talked about what it means to ‘do the work’. When we talk about ‘work’ we are talking about so much more than you ‘job’. The work is anything that needs to get done, by you, in order to move from where we are to where we want to be. And its rarely easy. The work is rarely glamorous but it moves us forward.
Work takes discipline. Work takes energy.
Work means changing your schedule and getting up early doing the cardio routine you don't want to do. It means sitting down to write the pages you don't feel like writing. It’s having the difficult conversations that you just don’t want to have.
Work means making difficult choices. It often times means simplifying and sacrificing now for something greater in the end. You can tell who does the work. They are the ones who began living their lives on their terms and they haven’t regretted it for a moment.
Work means saying no to so many other things so that you can say yes to the things you truly want. And those things that you say no to immediately often times make us feel better right away but leave us wanting and far from our goals.
Work means keeping an open heart when all you want to do is close down. Work means being vulnerable when all you want to do is hide.
Work often means ignoring the criticism of others and not pleasing the masses. Work can often times feels lonely even though it isn't.
Work usually happens in the midst of crippling fear, not without it. It means moving forward with the plan even when we're scared to death of being rejected, failing, or more likely... scared of succeeding.
This is why it's called work. But doing the work makes all the difference. It allows us to sleep at night with a clear head. You already know it but I'm going to say it anyways. Nothing comes easy. But all things are possible, with the Divine and some work.
If you've done any self-reflecting, you probably are aware of some of the work in your life that you need to do. Now get to work.
I am not finished by any means. I certainly don’t ‘have it all together’. I never will. This is a truth that I have come to not only accept, but embrace. I am constantly growing. And one of the truths that I’m growing into presently is that the Divine has abundant resources and wants to supply all of my needs. I am not the source. Now the jacked up thing about this reality is how much of my life I have lived against this truth. I have spent so much of my time trying to be the source of my needs. Trying to provide for myself instead of relying upon The Source for my provision. I believed for so long that to be a Christian (the Faith I practice) that I have to scrape by or actually just be poor. How ridiculous is that? Not only that, I believed that to be a Christian meant that I had to find a way to provide for all of my own needs. Somewhere in my life I erroneously accepted the thought that relying upon God meant that He would always keep me in a place where I had nothing. That way I would rely upon Him. If you don’t realize how jacked up that thought is, you need to pay attention right now… this is for you!
What if I learned to rely upon God even if I had more than enough of what I needed in my life? What’s more, what if I learned to trust that God was my only source and supply for anything and everything that ever came into my life? Emotional stability, finances, creative energy, etc.
God wants me to rely upon God to provide for all of my needs. God wants me to trust God completely to lead me and direct and guide me into my calling and purpose. And then I must trust God and God alone to provide for everything that God is calling me to. I must trust for the direction, the inspired decisions, the finances, and the emotional energy to participate in the things God is calling me to participate in. Nothing could be more centered and grounded in the scriptures.
And to boot? I must expect that God will actually provide all of those things which I need. And why wouldn’t He? Here is my logic, broken down (because sometimes I need to see things as simply as possible). If God loves me and created me for a purpose… and if God is calling me to live out that purpose and that plan for me… doesn’t it stand to reason that God not only will, but WANTS to provide everything I could possibly need in order to live out that purpose and that passion? YES! IT DOES!
My God will supply all of your needs according to his riches in Glory. That’s Philippians 4:19.
Have you limited yourself because of wrong belief and thought patterns? Does God want to free you to trust Him for all that you need? Let it happen my friend. Let it go.
Today I will trust God to be abundant in every single situation. I will trust that God knows exactly what I need, when I need it and that God will provide exactly what I need when I need it, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially. I will not spend energy worrying or trying to contrive my resources. I will wait in expectation for my God to supply all of my needs. I am not the source.
There is so much to be said and written about concerning having the courage to be honest with ourselves. Navigating the path of being present with our own feelings and owning them. There is so much more to be explored on the topic of staring fear and pain directly in the eye of our own soul and not flinching or closing off to it. For some this is much easier than for others. Some of us have been formed and trained from the time we were tiny babies to face reality and to be present with all emotions. But most of us, if we are honest, would rather not face our fears and pain head on. We have learned over time to close ourselves off from pain and fear. We text, we skype, we chat, we drink, we smoke, we enter relationships, we exit relationships, we shop, we consume, we eat, we facebook, we do anything we can do in order to stop feeling pain as soon as we recognize it in our life (yes I recognize a run-on sentence when I see one too). This is what addiction is all about. Avoiding pain and fear. Unfortunately, when we minimize the pain in our lives we also minimize the joy and elation as well. As researcher Brene Brown has so eloquently and poignantly expressed in ‘The Gift of Imperfection’, we cannot mitigate some emotions and stay open to others. We are either suppressing all of our emotions/feelings or we are embracing all of emotions/feelings.
It is not possible to hide from pain and fear and yet at the same time embrace Joy and Love. It cannot be done because it doesn’t work that way. If we want to be filled with Joy and Love, we must be willing to go to our pain and to our fears. We must beg for the courage to look our pains and fears directly in the eye and not blink. We must be willing to sit with that pain and fear and grow comfortable with it.
This is not easy. If you try this and you aren’t used to it, you will quickly feel overwhelmed and have the sensation of a hot white fire rising up deep from within your chest. You will probably believe that you’re going to have a meltdown. Maybe you should back off at that point… just for a little while. Maybe you need to find a good friend or professional to help you through this process. But we must return to those things that we have shut ourselves off from for so long or they will forever be embedded in us. We’ll wonder why we do the things that we don’t want to do. Why we hurt the people we don’t want to hurt.
Acknowledging our pain, sitting with it, and then working through and past the pain is the only way to move forward. And if this thought makes you sick to your stomach or seems ridiculous to you… you probably have some pain to acknowledge.
“We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”
"Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy--the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”