I woke up this morning and I was different.
As I lay in bed, listening to the birds chirping their morning songs, questions arose in my mind.
I feel different, but how am I different? What caused the difference?
It was almost as if something familiar wasn’t there—something I was used to was missing.
Usually, I wake up full of thoughts: things I should have done; things I did but should have done differently; people I probably should have called—and those I’d called but hadn’t really told what I wanted to tell.
I had a growing panic and feared that I wouldn’t be able to achieve what I’d hoped. I felt I had so much to do or that I would disappoint someone. I’d definitely look bad or do something I couldn’t change. There wasn’t neither enough time, nor the ability needed.
Inside, I had a slumped hopelessness about it all—me, my life, life in general.
What if I just turn over, pull the covers up for a little longer and see if it goes away?
But not today! Today there was something new.
I felt a smile behind my mouth and eyes and a new sense of freedom that was subtle but very real, as if my lungs could take in more breath and let more of it out.
How could I describe what had given me that sense of freedom?
Then it dawned on me, and I let out a little laugh, lying there in bed. It became so clear, and yet it was almost paradoxical, absurd.
My new freedom had come from letting go of my need to relieve myself of discomfort and of avoiding difficulties.
Pressure had been growing considerably in my life. Sound familiar?
There wasn’t enough time or energy to take care of everything; my house, my garden, finding a new renter for the suite, working on the website, calling my kids, my brother, my grandson, writing blogs, the new book, scheduling meetings, thinking about money or lack thereof, finishing financials, finding a plumber, etc.
On top of all of that, I was watching my desire for relief, escape, a rest from it all—and the familiar self-judgments.
The pressure inside was building by the minute, and things started to get interesting. I was sitting in my kitchen, in my discomfort, wanting so badly to escape, to hide. It was like torture, and I felt, for the first time in my life, that I’d like to leave the planet. I had no idea how to dislodge or relieve it. I could clearly not do everything I needed to do, but I couldn’t escape, either.
I decided to not do anything; not call someone and tell them how bad things were, not go to the refrigerator to find help there. I just sunk into it and stayed.
Then things began to settle, and I could see the pressure differently; it was more like a growing intensity, its energy separate from the issue that had caused it.
I saw that the pressure and discomfort also provided a powerhouse of resolve in me. The very pressure seemed to give me an ability to stay with it, to not escape. If I was willing to accept that state and to let my actions flow from the presence that the discomfort was providing, rather than from the automatic reaction to discomfort,
I seemed to be lifted up in some way.
The pressures and discomforts had some recognizable, common qualities. There was a sense of presence and intensity, a heightened awareness seemed to accompany them, as well as an open-eyed urgency. I could feel that intensity in my body. I was being pushed to a point, and I didn’t have to go away, escape, vacate. I could stay with it. As uncomfortable as it was, I noticed an increasing sense of aliveness and immediacy to it.
What made me so happy, this morning, was waking up to it, knowing that I had chosen not to recover my old pattern of pain relief. There was delight and, strangely, real comfort in that.
Here I am, sitting at my desk, writing, and discomfort is becoming my friend, a partner, even my salvation.
I see more discomfort coming towards me now. The thought that says I won’t have one moment of comfort for the rest of my life. My old familiar self screams, “No!”
My heart is moved by this, because I’m not going away.
The new resolve is working, bringing me back to an intense presence, and my choice is clear—to not respond to my perceived need for relief.
Tears come to my eyes. Here I am. I have stopped being afraid of what will come.
There is only help ahead.
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Assistant Editor: Michelle Margaret/Editor: Bryonie Wise