When life takes a very undesired turn and a major call to adventure looms, we are faced first with the reckoning.
Adversity is an inevitable part of our lives, and it’s in overcoming these losses, changes and difficulties that we grow.
This is how we become stronger, wiser, more humble, and, perhaps most importantly, profoundly grateful for what matters. The simple and immense experiences of love, peace and happiness found in our relationships, purpose and encounters.
Before we can overcome, we must first surrender.
Our initial challenge is to fully accept what is. It is in our resistance to our new reality that we suffer.
This resistance can be sneaky, hiding behind many masks. Our protective ego is a sophisticated liar, convincing us that we aren’t resisting; that we are in fact in control.
As Byron Katie says: Are you arguing with reality?
On one hand, we can simply deny the reality.
Ignore it. Come up with some reasoning as to why it isn’t real or why it doesn’t apply to us. We can move through it while pretending that we aren’t affected, holding the pain back and swallowing it down.
Denial doesn’t change reality, and eventually the pain will present itself in creative ways until we accept it.
On the other hand, we can leap into a flurry of action. Pound out an email, make some calls, research and spreadsheet various scenarios to get ahead of it.
We can find a million little ways to create the perception and appearance of control.
This can become a very convincing performance, for years.
There’s no graceful way to feel significant pain.
The reckoning, and the acceptance of the unknown, may be the most uncomfortable part of the whole hero’s journey.
Emotions aren’t neatly compartmentalized into a convenient series of journal entries or 50-minute therapy sessions.
Hard emotions feel out of control. They wash over us, overwhelm us, demand space.
This is why so many of us relate to the image of a dam breaking if we let even a drop through; that sense that if we let go of control as the feelings rise into our chest and throat, they will never stop and we will be lost, drowning in the sorrow.
We can resist for a long time, without even knowing it.
We can distract, deny, demand action, or pray for the powers that be to change it all.
We’ve been good. We don’t deserve this. Karma is taking too long.
When we’re ready though…we can do the paradoxically hard work of letting go. Releasing our exhausting grip on the story that is holding back the pain while creating so much unnecessary suffering.
There, in the surrender, underneath all of that tension lies hope and relief, even while we grieve and accept the difficult, painful steps ahead.
We are reclaiming the only real power we ever had – our response and attitude in the face of inevitable pain.
We are so much more powerful and prepared than we realize…once we shift the energy required to resist into being present in meaningful peace right now, embracing reality and the transformation ahead.