August 22, 2016

Get Uncomfortable.

Charles Harry Mackenzie/Flickr

We’re struggling to make that change. We’re right at the edge of a breakthrough.

The fear rises up in us as we approach our truth, trembling inside at our own vulnerability.

Don’t stop now. Go deeper.

It’s dark, so impossibly dark, and we just want to come back out into the light, into the comfort of the familiar. We want to run away from the fear, and we want to find reassurance in the way things have always been. Only, we remember that the way things have always been isn’t the way we want them to be.

Go deeper. Push through.

When we decide to follow the path of living out our dreams—or even simply leading a mindful, authentic life—the way forward can seem like it’s uphill all the way. It isn’t easy to be the type of person who is constantly evolving, digging at the undergrowth to weed out what isn’t helping us blossom.

I’ve spent the last year and a half systematically turning my world upside down in hopes of creating a better one for me and my children. Divorce, relocation, a new career, an old dream resurrected…not one of these things has been easy. I’ve had to redefine relationships and clarify my priorities. I simply couldn’t conceive of going back to living that other half-life that I was living before—isolated, ignored, caught inside the cycle of routine and expectation, settling for what life would give me and never realizing that I could have more.

When we sincerely commit to choosing to change our lives, our perception changes.

We begin to look at our own role in the lives that we lead, and we begin to take action to create change, finally realizing that our lives aren’t these things that are just happening to us. Instead, we come to see that we are active participants, and even by refusing to choose, we make a choice. Our inaction has consequences as much as our actions, and we begin to figure out how to make the positive changes that we need.

The way forward, however, often feels negative.

I felt like I struck a match to the life that I was leading, that I had created, and watched it burn it to the ground—a marriage I had believed in, a career I had worked to attain, even my identity.

Who was I if I wasn’t the therapist and the wife in the life I had built?

I had to start over in a new place without a job or a spouse or any knowledge of what I would face as a single mother. Everything ahead was unknown, and it was intimidating. But I chose to push through the fear because it was important to me to create a particular life for myself and my children. I didn’t allow myself to be paralyzed by that fear. I allowed, instead, for it to push me forward.

From the ashes, I’ve created a life of joy and gratitude and adventure for me and my children. I’ve begun to dream again and to make those dreams a reality, something I never would have ventured before I started the long and difficult process of transformation. There were days where the enormity of the change and my new responsibilities weighed heavily on my heart, and there were days when I didn’t know how I would continue to go forward. But I also began to notice signs along my path that I was headed in the right direction, as doors opened that would have stayed closed if I’d continued in my old life.

My change didn’t end there. It seems like every step forward has been a struggle, as we often discover during process of change. I began to realize that I had issues of abandonment, trust, even attachment. I ventured into the dating world and immediately got my heart broken. I’ve never faced a challenge more difficult than loving someone who will never love me back, and even now I have to make myself go deeper just to talk about it.

There’s a particular vulnerability in revealing the deepest of feelings, exposing my own heartache. Yet, I find that I am challenged to continue to rip the Band-Aid off of that particular hurt to uncover all of lessons beneath it.

And it’s not a straight-forward process. As much as I practice non-attachment, there are days when that connection haunts me. When I feel his heart beating wherever he is, where I cannot even find comfort in the fact that we share the same sky. Where it seems impossible to hold on to my gratitude at knowing that the intensity of that connection is possible even if that particular connection was never mine to keep.

Every time I have to dig deeper into that pain, I feel fear. Every. Single. Time. But it does not serve my soul to stop my journey, so I persevere. I excavate my deepest pain in order to continue to transform myself, to push beyond to the fullness of my own blossoming. To go deeper. Yes, it would be easier in some ways to never speak his name, to never feel the pain of that lost connection. It would be easier just to forget or to numb the emotions with an easy distraction, another glass of wine, a focus on someone or something else. But if I try to forget, if I numb what I’m feeling, the feelings don’t just go away. And I certainly cannot learn from something that I refuse to see.

So I go deeper every single time that the pain rises up in me, every time I feel his heartbeat or remember a particular moment that exists now only for me. The pain is my body telling me that there is still work to be done. So I go deeper.

When we’re on this journey and in the midst of changing even the smallest aspect of our lives, it can seem easier to turn around when the fear rises up in us. Or when the people around us react negatively to our journey. It can be easy to turn back to the familiar simply because it’s a comfort to know what to expect, even if what we expect is something unpleasant.

Which is why I say to those going through that journey now: when you hit that wall, go deeper. Push through. The very fact that you’re feeling pain or fear is a sign that you are heading in the right direction.

Our instinct is to keep things the same when sometimes we just need to struggle, to be challenged, to feel difficult things deeply. To grieve or be angry, to feel fear or loss or confusion. Instead of numbing ourselves with distractions or substances or routine, we need to go deeper, go beyond.

We need to continue with courage despite the fear because we can never change if we stay comfortable.

So get uncomfortable. Get truly, deeply uncomfortable if that’s what is needed. Because this isn’t the easy path, but it’s the way to what we need.

If we listen closely, not to the voice of our doubt and fear but to our hearts, we will hear them resonating with our journeys. If we open up our eyes and look beyond our uncertainty, we will see signs from the universe directing us. If we allow all of our senses to open up to the possibilities, we begin to move closer to our change and to our truths.

So we’ll settle into the discomfort, the vulnerability. We’ll feel the fear, knowing that we’re that much closer to making the lives that we dream of into reality. One choice at a time, made in spite of our fear. All of our lives have lead us to this particular moment.

We’re ready. Let’s go deeper.


Author: Crystal Jackson

Image: Charles Harry Mackenzie/Flickr, Wikimedia Commons

Editor: Catherine Monkman

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