We’ve all had those days.
The days where everything seems to be going “against” us. It feels as though at each corner lies more discouragement, disappointment, frustration, anger. You name it.
I’m living through one of those days now. I woke up with a ball of anxiety in my stomach and on the verge of burnout. I found myself in the same old trap of pushing through it and not listening to my needs, telling myself “I don’t have time!”. In these moments I tend to make myself busier to drown out the feeling of anxiety, but this time the universe wasn’t having it. Upon returning from a trip to the grocery store, I set down a 5 gallon jug of water on my doorstep a little too hard and it burst! Sending water everywhere and soaking my feet in the process. Had I been rested and recharged I’m sure I would’ve laughed at the display of 5 gallons of water rushing all over my feet and into the yard. But today it set me off. It jolted more emotion within me of not feeling good enough to tackle entrepreneurship, feeling too tired to go on and feelings of “Is this even worth it any more?” It’s funny how sometimes a little event such as this can trigger so much emotion. This is when I knew I needed to take a step back and just breathe. It would have been so easy to tell myself, “Well fuck this, it’s not worth it!”.
So I took to my journal and while journaling I had a powerful shift come up. As I was writing, a Tony Robbins quote popped into my head: “Everything in life is happening for us, not too us.” I stopped and asked myself. “How am I welcoming this challenging day?” Am I treating it just as that – nother challenge placed on me during life's many twists and turns that I’m sick of and I’m just wanting the easy way out? Or am I meeting this challenging day head on, greeting it with open arms and treating it like the gift that it can be? Because it can only shift into the gift that it is if I look for the lessons within the challenges.
Sometimes these lessons aren’t crystal clear in the moment. It may be weeks or months later that I’m faced with another day of challenge with that same lesson hiding in the fine print. It has taken me some time to train myself to shift from focusing on all the pain that comes with many of life's challenges, to an acceptance – seeing, understanding, and acknowledging this pain as growing pain. When I shift to this mindset and acknowledge pain as just another one of life's beautiful expressions, I can drop the resistance to the challenge and lean in whole heartedly.
When I show up in life whole, It drastically changes the way I view challenges. Instead of cowering and holding back from the resistance, I can better lean into that tension and see what is possible to create with the challenges I face. Next time life is meeting you with tension, resistance, and challenge, invite yourself to step back for a moment and assess the situation. Ask yourself “Where is the lesson in all of this hardship?” When I can greet a challenge as a teacher, it makes it easier to work with and to better understand where to apply pressure in my own life.
When I think of applying pressure in my own life, I am reminded of the West-African Proverb: “When you pray, move your feet.” So simple and so powerful. It is easy for me to list all of the things I want more of in life, and to call those in and “manifest” the life I deserve, but there is a key component in all of this and that is me. I need to take action or apply “pressure” where action is needed most to manifest what I want. These challenges I face are a reminder of the areas in my life that I need to move my feet and take action! In this case however my action needs to be no action. Rest is equally as important in order to continue taking right action. Otherwise I find myself taking action on anything I can in order to get ahead of my anxiety.
None of us are strangers to challenges and pain, in fact we are hardwired for struggle. It comes with the gift of life and it provides that true “hero’s journey” experience that we are all faced with at some point in our lives. Creating this shift in how I view challenges is going to take time and practice but I feel the shift in myself beginning to take hold. And I am noticing in my life as challenges arise I am not as easily triggered by them, but rather I am looking for the gold in the challenge.
So the next time challenges come knocking at your door:
Take a step back and assess the situation.
Ask yourself: What’s the lesson within the challenge?
Change the conversation with your challenges, greet them with open arms and a welcoming hug.
To quote from Rumi:
“Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.”
Acknowledge your challenges for the teachers they are.
After a time, you begin to see the gold that challenges are actually bringing to your table, and can view your challenges and pain as a gift not a burden. Because they are exactly that, a gift with some not-so-easy-on-the-eyes wrapping paper.
If this resonates with you, and you are looking to dive deeper into the journey of personal growth and men’s work, I have openings for one-on-one clients starting now! Send me a message on Facebook, Instagram, or find me at maxmarsch.com
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