A favored book of mine, Chop Wood, Carry Water, authored by Rick Fields, et al., describes spirituality in the sense of finding your true self. The book reveals that all too often we are stopped from beginning a journey of self-discovery / spiritual awakening out of the emotional discomfort spawned by uncertainty of the future. Discomfort of the unknown prevents us from positive change and personal growth. So in response, I ask you:
What comes first: The chicken or the egg? Ah, the age old question.
In this case, do you need to already be on the track of the journey to feel prepared to begin, or do you need to begin the journey without fully understanding it? Most excuses for remaining in existential "ruts" and accepting unhappiness is because a person believes that in order to start something, you need to be fully prepared.
People feel discouraged by beginnings. Whether it be positive or negative change that the beginning invoke, the change itself causes emotional discomfort. In our society, we have been misled to believe that at the first sight of discomfort or negative emotion (a pit in our stomach, redness in the face, anxiety causing us to sweat), we are doing something wrong and need to run backwards to "safety". Incorrect. We are animals at our core and our basic instincts behave as such. Discomfort does NOT always = BAD. It simply means that our body is physiologically preparing for the possibility of battle (Worst case scenario preparation = Survival skills). Without the (sometimes blind) beginning, there can be no journey. Focus your energy onto accepting the discomfort in your body because all it is telling you is that you are changing. It is up to you whether you make changes toward a healthier, happier and more content You.
To those stern skeptics out there who are asking: How do you begin something or understand something without experiencing it first? I respond with this. Conversely, how can this impossible feat, the one of fully understanding something, be a stipulation for awakening your mind/body/ spirit and finding who you are? If what you are waiting for as a base to find yourself is being able to fully comprehend all of life's complexities, you will wait indefinitely. As mentioned above, we are only human.
Hoping this food for thought has sparked something inside. Feel free to comment and I will return any questions you may have. Health and happiness.
Stephanie P. Bathurst, MA, LCMFT
Marriage and Family Therapy
* A link to Chop Wood, Carry Water is attached to the picture above if you
would like to purchase as a start to your own journey. *