We, as a people, love to suffer. Oh sure, we say we don’t like pain, that we try our best to avoid it, but many of us will create immense suffering in our lives before we are willing to make a change. Suffering is the most powerful catalyst there is to change, and for a lot of us, it’s the only one we consistently respond to. Maybe it’s because we were taught that suffering is virtuous. Or maybe it’s just the devil you know – will I truly be better off if I change? Better not risk it… Whatever the motivation, there is a huge tendency in our world to put off change (and therefore allowing in all the great stuff we’ve created) until we’ve created a situation so horrific that we cease to have a choice. What exactly happens when we surrender, and it is necessary to use pain as a catalyst to bring it about?
Let me tell you a story. Carol and Bob are in a relationship. They were once a vibrational match to each other, but they’ve both grown apart and now the attraction they once felt for each other is pretty much gone. They both mostly annoy each other, and neither one looks forward to coming home to the other. The situation is uncomfortable, and both know that they should end it and go their separate ways, but they don’t. Being single is hard, and neither Bob nor Carol is eager to rejoin the dating pool. Carol likes that there’s someone in the house, it makes her feel safer. And Bob enjoys the fact that Carol cleans up after him. They’ve settled into a kind of mutually beneficial cohabitation. Neither one is happy, but they’re willing to put up with it, in order to avoid the hassle of breaking up and starting over. So, they do nothing.
But the vibrational discord is still there, and if ignored, it will get more and more apparent. He’s vibrating at one frequency and she’s vibrating at another and by forcing themselves to stay in proximity to each other, it will become more uncomfortable as time goes on. They begin to annoy each other more and more. They start to fight. The fights escalate into screaming matches and even a few thrown vases. Now, coming home isn’t just uncomfortable, they both try their best to avoid being in the house when the other is there. Carol throws herself into her work and Bob hits the bar with his friends every night. They are both essentially trying to stay away from each other because being in each other’s presence is becoming unbearable. And yet, they refuse to actually do something about it until the suffering becomes too great to ignore. One Friday night, they have the ugliest fight either of them has ever been involved in. Both hurl insults at each other they didn’t know they were capable of, Carol actually slaps Bob and he punches the wall.
They are stunned. They’re both frightened by the intensity of what has just transpired. As they sit on the couch surrounded by the aftermath of their intense argument, they look at each other and both know: It’s time to split. They no longer have a choice. The situation has become too ugly. The suffering has become too great. And when they finally choose to make a change, the relief of it is palpable. Suddenly it’s all so clear. They know they should’ve acted long ago. Why didn’t they? Because the incentive to – the pain – wasn’t big enough.
We’ve all experienced this scenario in one way or another. We create immense suffering in our lives in order to force ourselves to make a change we know we really want to make, but are afraid of for one reason or another. When we give up, when we finally surrender because we can’t take it anymore, we shift. We become open to new perspectives, to new possibilities. Bob and Carol weren’t willing to even entertain the idea of breaking up. They just couldn’t see it as a viable choice. They never seriously discussed it, and they didn’t consciously make the choice to stay. But once they forced themselves to shift, other choices became apparent. By making change a necessity, it became possible.
It’s the act of surrendering that allows us to shift. But we don’t have to create pain in order to give up. We can consciously choose to shift our energy any time we want. All we have to do is be willing to give up control and allow for other perspectives to enter.
It was only when Bob and Carol created a situation so ugly, a wakeup call, if you will, that they both began to see what they’d been doing. They stopped holding on to the notion that their relationship MUST continue, no matter what, and realized what their real goal was – to feel better.
We don’t have to create a painful situation in order to experience this wakeup call, however. We can consciously bring it about. We can consciously give up. All we have to do is be willing allow other possibilities than the ones we currently see. We have to allow our manifestations to come to us through channels other than the ones we think we can control. We have to open ourselves up to change. We must be willing to pay attention to our feelings, and be unwilling to put up with anything less than joy. We have to make how we feel a priority.
Bob and Carol stuck their heads in the sand until the situation became too painful to ignore. We’ve all done it. But we don’t have to suffer. If we notice the discomfort before it becomes a big deal, before it keeps us up at night or manifests as physical pain, before it becomes so large we have no choice but to finally take care of it, we can shift before any real ugliness ever surfaces. We just have to be willing to make our feelings a priority before we’re forced to do so.
So, just give up already. Give up control. Give up trying to make things happen. Give up on feeling less than amazing, less than joyful, less than happy. Of course, you don’t have to. If you don’t address the discomfort now, if you don’t take care of the vibrational discord, it will continue to grow. You can go the suffering journey if that’s what you really want. But is it?
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