Much of the work I do with people is to help them look at their story in addition to the non-stop experience of looking through it. This wouldn’t be especially helpful unless we had the ability to change our stories. Luckily, we do, although they are stubborn.
You may be richer, smarter, prettier or more charming tomorrow. But none of this means you have less worth today.
What if we knew our life’s purpose with absolute clarity? What energy we could draw on! How free we would be from worrying about unimportant noise and distraction!
Even better, imagine we understood how to fulfil it. It’s possible, but it demands great self-awareness, intimately knowing who we really are.
What we unknowingly seek is our own wholeness - to express and experience all that we are. What stands in our way of finding it? Our own childish definition of the ‘me’ who seeks it, the labels we hide behind and the priority we give comfort over curiosity.
We can build resilience. The good news is that it takes only three simple steps. The sobering truth is that it may involve repeating those steps several times a day for the rest of our lives.
Stoic wisdom from the cradle of Western civilisation is at odds with the 21st century global mindset of chasing short-term pleasure and avoiding discomfort at all costs, but it resonates strongly with principles from the East. It has improved countless lives across varied cultures and eras, suggesting that it might still have value for us today.
Much of my reading tells me I long ago settled into who I am. Am I fixable? Are you? I think the answer to this has three parts: 1) a tough truth, 2) a reason for working on ourselves and 3) the prospect of a liberating perspective.
Clarity of intellectual understanding can be a refuge for some personalities, a final bunker in which the sense of separateness shelters from what it most fears — melting into the flow and direct experience of life. Until we deal with our deepest physical discomforts, we cannot move past concepts to reality itself.
When Tami Simon, founder of Sounds True, asked renowned teacher and author Mary O’Malley to define enlightenment, she answered that it happens when the head, heart and gut align. Here’s what she might have meant, and what it implies for us.
What if courage is just one manifestation of the willingness to bear discomfort? What if it is not fear that holds us back, but our refusal to bear the discomfort of fearful feelings?
As a child, I hid splinters of myself that seemed to invite misunderstanding, rejection and abandonment. I now possess a richer set of capabilities than my young self did. But I’ve spent decades relying on the once-appropriate child’s toolbox anytime the splinters of me that that child hid away pop up to present themselves.