Comfort zones and meaningful change are like oil and water. Light Watkins

While I believe that our fundamental state is expansive and that there is an undercurrent of goodness, we seem to live in a world riddled with contraction and reaped with malady.  Many of us face daily challenges triggering anger, fear, and sadness, to name a few ~ and for many there is an overwhelming sense of stress and despair. 

There is a latin saying, per aspera ad astra, meaning through adversity to the stars.  If we look at human evolution, we see that obstacles and challenges are the very seeds that grow change.  The very fact that we have evolved is evidence that there existed a risk of not surviving.  The process of change was a result of the adversity.

Growth, change and resilience all arise as a result of facing challenges.  As we narrow our focus to an individual life and the daily trials and tribulations that lie within such a life, our individual ability to build strength and resilience in character also come by facing our difficulties ~ leaning into our challenges.  The same way we make our bodies stronger through training, so too we strengthen our minds and emotional resilience by working with our emotions.  

This emotional training forces us to lean into our emotions and to acknowledge them, rather than shy away from them.  Also important when leaning in is to let go of the story surrounding the emotion; experience the raw energy of the emotion without the verbiage.  When fear, anger, hatred or sadness arise, we feel these in the body as contraction/tightness.  When we become more intimate with emotions in this manner, they no longer control us and it is from this place that we learn to expand. 

Have all the moments of shying away from adversities and discomfort really served you in a positive light?  Our character-building moments exist in the adversities and challenges that life has to offer, which are a part of the life experience.   We build and strengthen our character through life’s platform of suffering ~ courage by moving through fear, happiness by wading through sadness.  So the next time you feel an aversion toward the rising of an emotional energy, pause and take some time to be in that space (without the labels and story).  Remember that it too shall pass, but while it is there why not use it as a teachable moment? 

One more thought on this topic relates to empathy ~ the ability to understand and feel how another feels. To be empathic means that we have a shared experience.  As we become more familiar and welcoming of our struggles, we begin to recognize that we ALL struggle at times throughout life.  It is through this shared experience that we gain a sense of our commonality and connection as humans.

So the next time the adversity appears, I invite you to lean into it…