Yesterday I felt good, today I feel broken.
To practice self-inquiry is to experience and move through discomfort.
Sometimes the work to a whole life feels limitless and broad. An ever-expanding field of opportunity ripe for exploration.
Sometimes the work feels raw and vulnerable. Petrifying, aggravating and overwhelming.
I’ve been cultivating a practice of self-examination for over eight years. I am committed to a life-long process.
But today — today I wish I could just graduate already.
A few weeks ago, the fruit of all my self-work was to bear witness to a dysfunctional pattern in myself and my family. The first taste was exhilarating, exciting. More to learn. Potential for change and growth. Fueled by the adrenaline of the moment of reveal I dove in — appointments with a therapist, sharing the revelation with close friends and colleagues, journaling, a commitment to do the work.
I plowed forth, progress. Motion. And it was good.
But the adrenaline has worn off. And I am starting to wrest. I am becoming impatient. My body feels tense. My mind feels wary. My eyes are flooded, but the dam has not broken.
So it’s time to relax. To give space. To hold the space for the surrender to come. To let reality and gravity settle. And to remember that to move through, I often must be still.
To be still is to Feel.
I‘m not particularly fond of feeling. I’ve concocted a litany of tactics to escape: alcohol, food, exercise, co-dependent relationships, exertion of false control. Each boomeranging around to shred me in their own right, with their own symptoms and maladies. Escape still my favorite hypothesis to test. But 35 years of iteration on the idea continues to yield the same result. It simply does not work. And not only does it simply not work, there is only one way out.
The only way out is through.
So I sit. I sit. I stay. I feel. And I don’t really care for this one bit. But the evidence of this approach is overwhelming and inarguable — in my life, contentment and serenity are directly related to my willingness to sit, to stay, to notice and feel my discomfort.
So today, I will be uncomfortable. My skin will feel itchy. My mouth will feel dry. Words will come slowly and my mind may feel cloudy.
I will notice that I want to escape. I will notice and notice again. But instead I will sit. I will stay. I will move through.