Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Value of Discomfort.

Over the past few years my life's work has slowly come to center and settle around helping people have a conscious, joyful experience of their bodies in their lives. I want everyone to feel really good as much of the time as possible, and I'm an expert facilitator. Aside from my lifetime of practice being the Soother in my family unit, I have a deep, abiding appreciation for everything beautiful and pleasurable, whether it be delicious food or a stunning sunset. I'm good at feeling good and even better at helping other people get there.

The caveat to this is the Consciousness component of my mission. Anyone who's ever been spanked by reality knows that being aware is (at least occasionally) deeply uncomfortable. There are myriad distractions of various levels of healthfulness that we chase to keep feeling good or to get good and numb. While I do want everyone to feel really good, I don't want it to be at the expense of their authenticity or health.

Above all else, I think it's vitally necessary to our happiness to be honest...with everyone, but especially ourselves. Sometimes this means cozying up to our rage or bitterness, sadness or desperation. This is a full time job in and of itself. It can put great strain on our relationships and requires tremendous courage. And it is the work to be done.

This past weekend I had the honor of holding space for and bearing witness to this work being done by 400+ brave and beautiful souls at a day long meditation workshop. One woman in particular struggled throughout the exercises and I spent the day wanting to take her up in my arms like a baby and make her feel better. I watched with awe and my own level of discomfort as she walked not over or around, but straight through the heart wrenching center of her own intimate storm. By the close of the day she arrived all on her own at the other side of her experience. I didn't need to soothe her, or attempt to save her from her pain. Sitting with her pain was ultimately empowering and transformational. She did her work.

This is an important point for caretakers and anyone who aspires to help others. Do your own work. Save yourself. If you do your work, if you do it with absolute courage and conviction and honesty, you can become an inspiration and a guide to help lead others through this process. But Listen very carefully as I say this: You cannot do other people's work for them. There is no substitute for the experience of struggling through your own intimate storm. Everyone will do this in their own time, in their own way, and we are not allowed to attempt to control how and when.

That being said, we all have work to do to become the best, most exalted versions of ourselves, and putting it off won't make it any less vital to your development. Maybe you're not ready today. Maybe the perceived enormity of the work to be done overwhelms you before you even start. When I was a little girl and it would be time to clean my room, my mama would sit me down in one spot and tell me not to even think about the rest of the room until that one spot was clean.

That's my suggestion to you: pick one point to be examined and healed, and begin your work there. You are smart and brave and capable enough to handle whatever arises as you walk through your own intimate storm. Don't cheat yourself out of this chance to awaken to a real, conscious experience of your life. This is the first step on a winding path to true freedom and sustainable joy. Dive on it.

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