Blog Post – How Avoiding Our Story Denies Us the Chance to Learn and Grow
There are lots of varying thoughts about pain and struggle, and today I want to discuss what I have found to be true for my life in the hopes that some of you might resonate with it. I am a self-proclaimed “growth and spirituality” junkie. I love all things connected to increasing mental/emotional wellbeing and performance and have thus run across all sorts of views when it comes to owning your pain and story. Some people prescribe positive thinking and never allow negative or sad thoughts to come into their brain. Others are so disconnected from their emotions that they refuse to acknowledge the people or situations that cause them pain and spend time pushing them away. And others, me included, tend to believe more in noticing pain, getting curious about it, sitting with it, then sending it along its way in favor of happier, more positive and high vibrational thoughts. The main difference between this way of dealing with emotions that arise is that it allows us to learn the lessons that often lay waiting for us in the middle of our struggle.
What do I mean by this? Well, it would be wonderful to say that we could spare each other hardships and trials. I for one wish terribly that I could help people, including myself, to avoid any type of negative feelings, emotions, thoughts or experiences because I know how deeply our choices and thoughts can affect our lives. But more recently, I’ve come to discover that if we circumvent the challenging experiences life puts before us, we miss out on all the juicy learning and growth inside of those moments. I’m certainly not suggesting that we move into pain, set up camp and live there, but I am suggesting that it has something to teach us and can be a great tool for shaping us into the person we wish to become.
Often, when we begin a health journey, we aren’t where we would like to be and that’s why we step onto the road in the first place. Perhaps you are in the depths of an all out health crisis, or maybe you’re just sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. Either way, there are probably a multitude of reasons you ended up here and it is a complex web that can’t be explained by one working theory. I personally believe that it’s our job to look deeply at all the forces of nature that brought us here and learn how to move forward in new and different ways that support our highest good. We are all meant to feel wonderfully, in fact, I don’t think most of us know just how amazing our bodies were designed to feel! But whatever issues you’re experiencing right now can be looked at as an invitation to step into our power and to take back what is rightfully yours: Your health.
It can be so easy to want to skip the hard parts. Trust me, I get it. We have grown up in a society that tells us not to be weak and not to be sad and to find a quick way out of anything that feels like it might teeter along that line. We see this exemplified in our current pharmaceutical industry where there is a pill for anything and everything and then another six pills which mask the symptoms you get from the first one! We look at health symptoms and emotional feelings as pests to terminated instead of wise and willing teachers that can help do better and spend so much effort running from things that seem scary we never find our own strength.
So the next question then is how do we do this? How do we notice what is wrong and accept where we are at without become a victim or getting stuck in those trenches? I believe the answer lies in curiosity. Instead of identifying and internalizing the things that get us down, what if we looked at them much like we would a friend going through a tough time. What if instead of pretending that everything is fine or that feeling bad is just a normal part of getting older, we asked ourselves “what can I learn from this?” “How can I grow?” “How can I see this as an opportunity?” and “what does my body need from me?” Sometimes the answers may seem scary, but trust me when I say there is no one better equipped to handle the burdens you carry than you! In fact, I think most of us would laugh at our fears of not measuring up to the task if we could see ourselves the way others do. You have been given this story for a reason. The unfolding of that story, however, is greatly influenced by your willingness to first accept it and then use your innate gifts and inner guidance to shape it moving forward.
So, this might sound all good on paper, but I want to give you a practical application to employ when it doesn’t feel like second nature quite yet. One of my favorite ways to connect with what it is that my body and soul yearn for is just by getting still. We spend a lot of time staying busy and running from task to task, often in an effort to ignore or push away the things we know but aren’t ready to acknowledge. And that’s ok. It’s normal to want to avoid sticky feelings and painful experiences, so don’t beat yourself up over it. But here’s the cool thing – pain never lasts forever. Truly. It will ALWAYS, and I mean always come and go much like the tides of the ocean, so you don’t need to worry about drowning in it. It will ebb back out to sea and you’ll find your legs even if it doesn’t seem like it. So get still. I like to sit and meditate, but that doesn’t resonate with everyone. Sitting down and taking a few deep breaths can be enough. Turn off the radio in the car. Unplug from computers, cell phones and other devices. It doesn’t have to be for long, even 60 seconds can do the trick. But get still and see what comes up. When you take a deep breath, relax your shoulders, close your eyes and sit, what shows up? This is the first step to inviting in your story and getting familiar with feelings that you may have pushed away for many, many years. This is the link between thinking about moving forward with your health goals and actually doing it. You can spend years thinking about calling up an old friend to meet for a coffee, but until you actually do it and send the invite, she’ll never know your intentions. Similarly, your body and mind are just waiting for you to extend the invite, but once you do, you’ll find yourself on a wonderful date with your best friend wondering why it took you so long to call.
In closing, I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotes on tuning in to your story...
“And I said to my body softly ‘I want to be your friend.’ It took a long breath and replied, ‘I have been waiting my whole life for this.”
Until next time friends.