Have you ever heard the saying that when difficult times happen, when you are nervous, when you are experiencing pain etc. you should lean in?
I used to hear that and it would just piss me off! The last freaking thing I wanted was to accept and lean in.
And honestly, we are not trained this way as a culture. Most people when shit hits the fan have their coping mechanism and it usually consists of some way to numb. Whether that is food, alcohol, sex, work, or just binge-watching Netflix (although there is definitely a time and place for that!). Even when we just have a headache, we more often than not take a couple pills to make it go away. So, of course, our reaction is even more extreme when are experiencing depression, nerves or just going through a normal grieving/healing process.
I get it. As human beings, we are hardwired to seek pleasure and avoid pain. It makes sense because it has been a way for our species to survive.
Thousands of years ago, if you were in pain, chances were it was something that was going to potentially threaten your life. Even something as beautiful and natural as childbirth was potentially dangerous because we didn’t have the technological and advances in medical science that we do today.
The problem with wanting to avoid, run from, or numb things that are unpleasant however is we fail to get the message.
If you think about it, when your body is pain, it is trying to communicate something to you. I recently injured my shoulder and tried to push through it only to make things worse. What my body was attempting to tell me was that I was doing too much and that I needed a few days of recovery time.
When we experience emotional discomfort it is because there is something our unconscious mind wants us to pay attention to. Either we need a course correction or, there is baggage that is begging to be released.
So, though I can appreciate that we are designed as a human race to avoid pain and seek pleasure, it is worth taking a moment to get curious and consider what on earth the lesson (Ano’ ai) or message might be before running to seek a remedy.
There is, of course, a time to get medical attention and address things with medication and even then, there is an opportunity to seek the wisdom of your body’s communication.
So dear one, as much as it used to piss me off when I would hear it (there is even a book with the title) you really do want to “lean in.” From a Buddhist perspective, it is about saying yes with the attitude of curiosity and a desire to seek an answer.
So, inquire and trust that all the pain, heartache, grief, and/or illness isn’t happening to you but rather it is happening for you.
Perhaps you will one day even look back at what is going down today and be grateful for all of it.
Nobody is saying it is easy but trust me when I say that what you have to gain on the other side is always worth it.
From my accepting heart to yours…