April 3, 2018
Have you learned your lesson yet?
That’s what life seemed to be asking me over the past week. Evidently the answer is no, because here I am, starting over yet again on some of the big metaphysical stuff I’ve been working through recently.
Two steps forward, one step back.
I wrote in the Sarah Smith Euro tour blog that my tour-mates were teaching me about intensity, detachment, and faith. The latter two have been an issue for me for a long time. I also wrote that the period after the tour would be one of change and uncertainty that would, no doubt, require me to improve in those areas. I was right about that. And I have improved, but it’s easy to slip, and that’s when life tends to throw a few not-so-subtle reminders at you.
Which is why, for the past week, I’ve been mostly flat on my back with the flu, compounded by chronic lower back pain, insomnia (thank you, cold meds), and stressing out about the future. I’ve had way too many hours of lying awake in the dark, struggling to see the way forward. Detachment and faith are the antidote to that awful poison, but again, sometimes you need to repeat the lessons until you get them right.
Growth is hard. It happens on the turbulent edge, not in the comfort zone. If you’re a bodybuilder, growth comes from pain. If you’re a musician, growth often comes from moving up the ranks, being in higher stakes musical situations, working on your weaknesses, and occasionally getting knocked back. If you’re a writer, growth comes from facing the blank page. In the career world, it comes from taking on responsibilities you might not be sure you can handle. In spirituality and personal development, it comes from being in the ring with your fears, your negative thoughts, your bad habits, your limiting beliefs.
I went 15 rounds with the metaphysical equivalent of Mike Tyson last week, but I’m still here. Exhausted and a bit punch-drunk, maybe, but still here. If you're a little punch-drunk right now too, take heart - it means you're in the ring where the growth happens.
If you got knocked out, the good news is you can start again.
Last week reminded me that when I don’t let go, I invite misery that hits bloody hard. This week, having faced that lesson one more time, I can try to think better thoughts. I can, as the Tao te Ching says, “Have faith in the way things are.” I can choose to believe that good things are happening and that all of this is taking me where I need to go. I can be more patient. I can see the struggle as my opportunity to grow. This is my challenge. These are my reps. Last week I nearly buckled under the bar, but that will make me stronger this week.
You can start again too if you need to. If you fell off the wagon, you can start again. If you had another stupid fight with your spouse and lost your temper, you can start again. You may need to atone for those things, but you don’t have to be your past. If you're still struggling with jealousy or self-sabotage or gossiping, you can start again. If you slacked on your New Year’s diet resolution, you can start again. If you aren’t practicing music like you said you want to, you can start again. No matter where you’ve fallen down, you can get back up, brush yourself off, and start again. It’s okay. You can do it right now.
And if you need to, you can do it again tomorrow.
Just try to get those two steps forward in first.