The human experience, not just the body, was designed to grow stronger through exertion. We aren't static fixed things, we are ever evolving. So we grow or expand or shrink in proportion to how hard we're working. And life provides all the exercise we could ever want, if we have the right attitude about it. And that right attitude is to actually ask for adversity.
Is this sentence familiar to you, too?
No? Just me?
OK. Maybe you have your own version of it. Take a look.
What do you say when you're completely fed up, done, overwhelmed, frustrated, annoyed and hopeless?
This is what I say: "I don't need this s%^*". It's my back door. My exit strategy. It gets me off the hook and I'm no longer responsible.
I don't have to be compassionate when someone calls me female pronouns, despite that fact that I've corrected the person five times in a year. We even had a sit-down about it. And he's in a leadership role. Yeah, I know.
I don't have to accept that I didn't manage my time well and rushed my grad school paper and that's why I got a less than awesome grade.
I don't have to wake up early (like 5:30am, early) to write blog posts and put my newsletter together because my schedule is packed tighter than a tin of sardines lately.
Basically, I don't have to be who I need to be to do what I want to do in this life.
Guess what? You don't have to, either. You can actually make the decision to be, do and have anything you want. You can be as angry and nasty or as kind and compassionate as you choose. You can blame, judge and criticize people as much as you want or you can treat them with love, respect and patience. You can avoid timelines, deadlines, move commitments around, cancel appointments you make for yourself and with others. You can forget to call your mom.
You can do all of these things. Or none of them. The only thing that gets in your way is you. But the opposite is also true. The only thing that can make anything possible, is you.
My life changed when I heard myself say, "I don't need this s%&^" and realized it was true, but it was also an access to realizing that in fact, I DID need it, in some way. I saw that each time I felt stopped, stuck or limited in some way---either in my words or behavior--it was a lesson. It was like someone pressed PAUSE so I could actually see myself stuck. I could decide, in that moment, what I wanted to do with the opportunity being presented. Why was I feeling challenged, annoyed, frustrated or hopeless?
Often we get stopped when we're up against our own growth. It means we either see something about ourselves that isn't so awesome or we might feel vulnerable in some way, open to being wounded or hurt by someone.
Sometimes we see how awesome our lives might be if we keep being our awesome selves, even if it takes a lot of work. That's intense. It can be tempting to quit.
Next time you hear yourself say 'your thing' ask yourself if perhaps you really do need it in some way. Try to rise above and see yourself in a 360 degree view. What is this moment or experience teaching you? What are you seeing that you couldn't before? What can you do differently to change your life for the better?
Get frustrated. Life is hard sometimes. But it's all about how and what you choose to do with it. When you see yourself as responsible for your life, you'll hear yourself and 'your thing' in a different way. But don't miss a lesson for growth when it hits you smack in the face. At least use that s%^& for something useful.
Victoria, my student intern this semester, and I had inspiring Easter experiences. She's going to talk about a service she attended this past Sunday in her blog post. I also attended a service, online! It was pretty great. I love the message of Easter because it is so closely aligned with how I think of spring: rebirth, renewal, regeneration. Who can't use some of that?
We crave it physically, so we do nutritional cleanses. If you're needing one, by the way, my 10-Day Life REBOOT is already getting some awesome feedback.
We crave it mentally, so we journal and talk to our friends or find a new book to inspire us. Or we title our new rap album REBIRTH, like the artist Lil Wayne.
We crave it emotionally, so we fast, meditate or finally make the long overdue doctor or therapy appointment.
All winter we spend packing schedules full of commitments our bodies full of rich food, especially with all that holiday celebration. For me, the holidays are a difficult time, because I'm estranged from my family. I need to make sure I take extra special care of myself during that time of year and keep vigilant about my cravings and what primary food issues need to be addressed. But I'm human, so I still make choices that don't serve me.
When I emerge from winter, I'm emerging from several months of intense emotions, limited sunlight and exercise and more sugar and fat than I probably really need. That's my reality.
Spring, for me, signifies a new start. A new chance to do my life--better. That's my rebirth.
I went through a huge change this past year, it's true. But the truth is, we ALL are undergoing huge changes every day for the rest of our lives. It's part of being human. Are you really accepting that and embracing it as truth? Is staying who you are so familiar and comfortable that you're avoiding the inevitable change that happens as part of your growth?
What are you resisting?
What are you avoiding?
Like a little sprout under the ground, or a bud on the tip of a branch--a NEW you is waiting to emerge. And that is going to take a lot of work and it may be difficult and painful at times. Think about little chicks trying to break through their eggshells--it looks sort of painful and a tad agonizing. I'm not going to get too heavy into the Jesus story, but he sure went through some painful stuff to become the awesome Messiah and Savior he became in the story of the Resurrection.
Growth requires effort.
Effort may mean some pain and exertion.
Pain is temporary.
On the other side of that temporary growth spurt, what is possible for you? What are you denying yourself (and the world) because of your fear around what it might feel like?
If you notice, spring doesn't just happen one day. You feel the weather change, slightly. Then the buds emerge. And slowly those buds become shoots which then become leaves...and so on.
The same goes for us.
Take your time with this.
Take one step, not 100 at once.
Sit and feel the subtle, yet obvious, changes inside of you. How can you honor them and express them, for yourself and for others? What shifts do you want to make externally to mirror those changes? I just got a new haircut. It's really the old haircut I had for years but now it's just slightly different that it feels new to me. Sort of the best of the old me with a touch of new.
How can you make this happen for yourself? Is it a new haircut? A new mantra you say to yourself? A new resume to send to a few jobs you're interested in?
Embrace the energy of rebirth right now. It's not just for Jesus.