Thursday, March 12, 2015

Resisting the Need to Escape

I just saw a book cover, The Wisdom of No Escape, by Pema Chodron. I loved the title because it reminded me of situations I've been in where I was uncomfortable and wanted to run away, but then I realized there was more value in just hunkering down and dealing with my feelings (like a big girl).

This isn't always true, of course, because sometimes the urge to take flight is based on a valid survival instinct. But so often in these modern times, we just don't have the patience or attention span or coping skills to deal with difficult emotions as they arise. Or, like many people I know, we're in a spiritual paradox (tyranny?), whereby we think we're supposed to reach and then maintain a heightened sense of well being no matter what's happening inside or outside of us.

I'm not knocking continuous well being as an aspiration or ultimate spiritual state, but let's face it, we are human and we live in an extreme world where birth, death, comedy, tragedy, joy, humiliation, and every other possibility lurks around each corner. Part of being human means learning to accept that we're not always going to be happy---and that maybe we're not always supposed to be happy. Some of our best learning and growth come from the moments when we're struggling with our humanness.

This week, I invite you to notice where you might be trying to transcend a situation that actually requires your sincere attention. I'm not advocating that you disappear into a story or go down a dark emotional path, but just that you take a moment to let whatever's there be there. There's a fine line between being positive and being a afraid that you can't handle a moment of what feel less than positive. Chances are, once you feel the authentic feeling or think the authentic thought, you'll be even more likely to move on with ease and grace.

Good luck, and have a beautiful week.