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The Choice

When discomfort arises, we have two choices: avoid it or drop into it.

For myself, discomfort can look and manifest itself in many ways. Often, I will feel this nag of annoyance: annoyance at someone, something, or some situation. Sometimes, I'm just annoyed and irritated without being able to pinpoint the reason (this is usually the most frustrating type of discomfort because it requires more examination and patience). Sometimes, my discomfort can look like sadness. Sadness for a situation, sadness for how I wished something to be, or sadness for something I perceive I am missing or wish I had. Sometimes, my discomfort arises from fear, being scared to take necessary action, or worrying about how something could go wrong. Sometimes, my discomfort can come from regret, wishing I had done something differently, and beating myself up when I didn't do better or know better. Sometimes, my discomfort can be subtle, a quiet itch that will grow over time, leaving me to question and contemplate for longer.

Whatever the cause of my discomfort, I know that this discomfort contains a seed—a lesson to learn, something to discover within myself. This feeling of discomfort is my soul's way of scratching at the surface, breaking away the layers I have formed around my heart. The layers were put there for protection from years of conditioning, learning to avoid pain or fearful moments. Layers that eventually blocked out my authentic self. These layers were formed to help hide my true self in an attempt to fit in, please others, and prove myself and my worth. I created these protective layers around my heart as a young girl and even into adulthood to protect myself from a harsh and scary world so that I might not feel things so deeply, so painfully. But in doing so, I also blocked out the deep feelings of joy, true love, and happiness. I blocked out much of the light that wanted to come in and prevented my inner light from shining out into the world, the part of me that wants to share with others.

And so, the feelings of discomfort, the emotions, and thoughts most painful to us are all invitations to go deeper. To see what our soul is asking of us, what it wants us to heal, reckon with, love, embrace, let go of, forgive, surrender to, and transmute.

We can decide whether to ignore it—seek distraction in any form to avoid discomfort, temporarily keeping us safe from pain or judgment, often leaving us feeling increasingly disconnected from ourselves and others. This avoidance, or distraction, for myself, can look like choosing to overly clean my apartment, avoid exercise, avoid rest, seek food or even binge eat, watch TV, doom-scroll social media, or find anything to distract me from sitting still with my feelings, emotions, and thoughts.

But by instead choosing to embrace that discomfort, knowing its pain is only temporary and that when I give it time and space, it will eventually transmute and leave me better than I was before, I can find freedom like I hadn't known before. Choosing to give in to the discomfort helps to ground me. It frees me from distractions and brings me closer to alignment with my authentic self, the person I truly am, the me that is free from others' expectations, judgments, projections, harsh words, or praises. I am free to remember who I am and why I was given this life.

By choosing to take a few minutes of discomfort rather than committing to a lifetime spent escaping pain through distractions or one that only seeks to find pleasure without pain (which is not possible and will only bring more pain when we try to live an unbalanced life of pleasure only), we can find ourselves, free ourselves. By choosing to sit quietly, meditate, contemplate, journal, question, and explore myself, I am deepening my connection to self and, thus, to everyone around me.

I take care of myself, not just for myself but for the sake of the collective. I want to take care of me, for you, my neighbor, friend, family member, community member, fellow human and earth dweller, soul made manifest in this universe.

This work has reminded me of my love for this life—the love I have for this planet and all its earthly inhabitants. It inspires me to care for it and myself.

So, let's take care of one another by first taking care of ourselves. Distractions aside, marching headfirst into all of the discomforts that may arise because this is where growth happens; this is where the much-needed change happens. But perhaps most importantly, and what leaves us most fulfilled and coming back for more, this is where the magic happens. This is where you find yourself, the most realistic and authentic you imaginable—the missing piece to your perfect, beautiful life.

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