Discomfort. Pain. Grief. Apathy.
Being untethered to what keeps us grounded.
Questioning our process.
Why is it that our innate response to difficult emotions is to run the opposite way?
I speak and write often about the benefits of leaning in:
Leaning into the discomfort
Leaning into the pain
Leaning into the abyss of not knowing what will happen next
And leaning into vulnerability.
But, as with most of my teachings, practicing what I preach can be incredibly difficult. I’ve noticed that my level of defensiveness, reactivity, and intellectualization of my feelings can get in the way of exactly that:
It can be terrifying, paralyzing even, to acknowledge that which we do not have control over.
Other people, circumstances, experiences, and even our own emotions.
But what we do have control over, what we will only ever have control over, is how we choose to respond and react to our lives, emotions, and experiences.
It is only when I lean into the discomfort of not having control,
I gain the capacity to choose how to best move through it.
I have to go through, not around.
I have to run, walk, and sometimes drag my feet through the pain.
Once again, I haven’t written for the last few months. I get to a place of peace and ease, and do everything in my power to avoid leaning into my truth and writing about it here.
Owning this website domain has been eerily similar to having a gym membership;
I pay for both, I’ve been using neither.
Why is that?
I was recently asked by a friend why I haven’t been writing.
“I don’t know,” I laughed, “I write a lot better when I’m in pain.”
“Maybe that’s true,” she shrugged, “but you’re doing a disservice by not sharing your truth with your readers. I get a lot out of it, and I think you should write.”
Well, that hit me like a brick.
Am I doing a disservice to others?
Maybe, but maybe not.
All I know is that I am absolutely doing a disservice to myself.
Leaning in is hard. It’s as simple as that.
Every single time I write, I am actively leaning into my self-centered fear. My fixation on what you think of me. My assumption that I will be judged, talked about, or ridiculed.
But when I play the tape through, does what you think of me define who I am?
There have absolutely been times in my life where that has been the case.
But not today.
Not right now.
And I need to act on these tiny windows of willingness and lean directly into the discomfort.
When I speak my truth, my voice shakes.
When I write my truth, my fingers hesitantly type against the keyboard.
When I publish my truth, I acknowledge the self-doubt and fear.
But I lean in anyway.
I lean in against the current of everything telling me not to.
It’s harder than it looks, I can promise you that.
But what would the alternative look like?
I have lived so much of my life wearing different masks. Being people pleasing. Not setting boundaries. Internalizing everyone else’s truth as my own. Stifling my voice and settling for what I thought I deserved.
Never causing a ripple in the externally pristine waters of my life,
but internally drowning under the waves.
I don’t have to live that way anymore. Neither do you.
The most helpful tool for me has been to look inwardly and acknowledge what is blocking me from speaking and living my truth. I’m a pretty opinionated person (if you haven’t been able to tell so far), so speaking my truth means pissing some people off.
It means people will disagree.
It means I will receive a backlash of negativity at times.
But unless I'm receiving backlash from others in the proverbial arena, as Brené Brown puts it, I am simply not interested anymore. Your opinions do not serve me.
The past year of my life has been the most empowering in all 28. The first part of this awakening process was getting sober, 7+ years ago. The second was taking a hard look at the state of my relationships, familial, platonic, and romantic, 4 years later. The next was leaning into the discomfort of emotional sobriety and identifying what was blocking me from true connection, specifically the connection with myself. And this last adventure, riddled with what felt like infinite pain, has been about putting my truth into action.
Last year, I created this website and didn’t just lean into my truth; I took a free fall.
It was, empowering, invigorating, and terrifying.
The more I wrote and spoke about my truth, the less I was able to shut it down to meet the needs of the different circumstances of my life. I had a more difficult time acting in denial, self-pity, self-doubt, and rationalization.
In the last 6 months, I have put more of my truth into action than ever before.
Mutually ending a beautiful relationship was the first part. It has been 4 months and there has yet to be any animosity, betrayal, negativity, or conflict. We have been able to walk through a difficult transition with more integrity than I knew possible, especially while co-parenting a dog!
I have absolutely felt discomfort. Pain. Grief. Apathy.
Being untethered to what keeps me grounded.
Questioning my process.
But the difference this time?
I have been leaning in.
And now it’s time to come back to my truth – putting it into action – and sharing it with you.
It is the most vulnerable expression of emotion that I have,
And even if I continue to stray away every few months,
I will always return home.
To this keyboard.
To this website.
To my truth.