When We Must Endure

For those of us who are used to hustling for what we want and getting it, to easily changing situations that irk us, the current reality is deeply unsettling.

For many of us, this is the first time we are totally powerless to change the circumstances causing us discomfort.

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We are instead forced to sit in this discomfort, to reckon with inner demons we have been avoiding our whole lives with work, substances, and various distractions.

This time, there is nowhere to escape to.

The global crisis is not letting up; each month seems to only bring more intensity and upheaval, and on an individual level, all of us have been pushed to our breaking point by being forced to settle into situations we never chose.

If you have been beating yourself up for not being as productive as you “should be,” for being less patient with loved ones, for not being yourself, please give yourself some grace and compassion.

We are all dealing with a collective trauma, and this should not be taken lightly. We cannot keep going on as if nothing is happening.

We are going through a massive global shift, and nothing will ever be the same.

There is a phase that comes before transformation that no one really talks about. It is the unglamorous side of growth, the parts everyone wants to skip straight through to get to the good stuff on the other side.

This phase is uncomfortable. It’s often painful and ugly. It shows you parts of you that haven’t reared their head in years, parts you’d convinced yourself you had shed long ago. It shows you precisely where you still have room to grow.

It’s a harsh awakening.

You long for the time before this phase. When you felt so sure of who you are, that you were exactly where you needed to be.

Back then, it seemed the entire world was in the palm of your hand, and there was no limit to how far you could soar. You felt strong, confident, powerful, secure. It felt like nothing in the world could knock you down.

You were fully you, fully in your power.

And then it all came crumbling down. Whether in one fell swoop or in pieces, your kingdom began to unravel as the things you’d thought were indelible parts of you were stripped away. All the things you were so sure about ended up being nothing but smoke in mirrors.

The people in your life, the identity you’ve built, the image of yourself you’ve carefully cultivated and gotten to know; who are you when that’s all taken away?

Transformation, be it on an individual or global level, is never comfortable or easy.

I used to think I was weak for struggling through this phase, that I was somehow failing whenever I felt overcome by sadness or when even doing the bare minimum felt insurmountable.

I used to beat myself up for being less productive than someone else, or for not having something new I was working on at all times. I used to worry that I was falling behind and was always trying to skip ahead to the next phase.

But you can’t push the fast forward button on growth. It’s something you need to walk through, heart open and arms wide, with humility, grace, and a whole lot of trust.

I’m slowly realizing it’s not about stuffing away every negative feeling and turning yourself into a walking rainbow. It’s about taking the necessary steps to keep yourself afloat while also having a degree of humility and trust.

Trust that you can let go and surrender to the tides, and the water will not swallow you whole.

Trust that you can learn to ride the waves, and that even if you’ll fall, you will always rise and get back up again.

Choosing to trust and surrender is a challenge, but it’s one of the only ways to access the strength within.

When I start to fall into old patterns, to doubt that I am really on the right path, or when it all just gets to be too much, I keep this mantra in mind:

I can handle the full totality of what I am currently experiencing. There is tremendous beauty in this present moment, even amidst all the hard things. Everything I am going through is making me stronger and is helping me transform into a better, stronger, and wiser me.

All feelings are allowed. My thoughts are not my reality; my heart’s wisdom is. I trust it wholly. I choose to lift my face to the sun, face the wind, and experience it all, every step of the way.

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