Sometimes, life gets real uncomfortable. In my experience, the peak of the discomfort often happens right before a major shift. The challenge lies in learning to stay through the resistance.
One time, I was in a group meditation sit, when I suddenly had the overwhelming urge to get up and walk out of the room. This had never happened to me before. Sure, I get uncomfortable, fidgety, and want to move, frequently during meditation – all part of the practice. But this time, I visualized myself getting up, rolling up my mat, walking away, and driving home. Leaving made complete sense to me in that moment. However, instead of actually following my urge to leave, I sat with it. I allowed the urge to pass, and a breakthrough happened. Something shifted.
Around the same time, last summer, I was “stuck” in a job that was not a good fit, in which I was no longer growing. I knew this, yet I had no clue how to change the situation. I spent hours aimlessly google searching things like “jobs in california” (no job-type or even area of “california” designated). I read pretty much every article out there about “finding your purpose” and “making your dreams come true”. Eventually, I came across a website where people posted yoga-related work and volunteer opportunities, and found a listing for a one-month volunteer position as an organic gardener in Belize. I applied, and got it. That day, I remember feeling this sense of disbelief and happiness. It was over. I was leaving.
I called my dad to tell him the good news (not to ask for his advice). They wanted me in Belize in just a few weeks. I was going to go and learn how to garden and teach yoga to children there. My dad, naturally, asked all the right questions – like what was I planning on doing with my condo, what would I do after the month volunteering was over, etc. I had no solid answers other than “figure it out”. And then he threw me for a loop. Rained all over my near-sighted parade. The words he said, I will never forget – “You’re headed in the right direction, this just isn’t it.”
In that moment, I felt overcome with anger, frustration, and sadness. I was talking to him on the phone in the hallway of my old office, completely visible and populated with coworkers, yet I could not stop myself from crying. I hid behind some kind of potted plant as the tears rolled down my face, nodding and telling him okay, I wouldn’t go to Belize. I cried because I knew he was right. If this were the right opportunity for me, I would have gone, regardless of what my dad said.
I went back to my desk, feeling defeated. The very next day, my breakthrough came. I had a conversation with my manager, and it became clear that due to circumstances outside my control, I no longer had the option of staying in this particular job. I was ready to move, and so I did. And as I moved, the right opportunities appeared in front of me. Everything fell into place, naturally.
I could not have planned any of the events that transpired last summer and fall more beautifully. They occurred as a result of the universe in action. All I did was show up each day for the ride. That is how change happens. Out of my control. The difficulty for me has been learning to let go of the need to make something happen, and to just appreciate the opportunities as they arise. Life offers exactly what each of us needs for our own personal growth. With growth, there is always going to be discomfort. Naturally, we tend to resist the discomfort, and consequently, the growth. It is much easier to stay in our comfortable patterns. One of the sneakiest patterns out there is the tempting desire to run away from the approaching storm. Staying on a rocking boat is tough – it requires a gritty core to stand upright in the tremble. But when you can stay through the discomfort and accept it for what it is, resistance in the form of sensation, well then, that is when change flows.