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A full month has rolled by, and we are left with 11 months of the year, a good time as any to look back and see if we have gotten off the starting blocks strong or if we are still stumbling over our shoelaces.

In my previous post, I spoke about my thoughts and general direction for the year ahead, and while since I have had a few ideas of what to write about next, the inspiration hasn’t felt quite right plus I’ve been busy putting my plans into motion.

Last night, and today however, I found my mind coming back to the idea of suffering. Something I wrote about here and here. And it comes as an extension on the ideas of presence and openness. As I take deliberate action towards each of my goals, I have decided to remain present, clear and connected…to my genius, to my desires, to my purpose…to life. Being open means not resisting, fearing and pushing back against things as they are, but accepting and dealing with them as they are, without judgment.

It is tough, because a big part of working towards growth and expansion is pain. It is hard to remain open, receptive, unflinching in the face of pain. It is tough allowing yourself to feel every bit and every texture of the emotions that go with living.

I have the repeated experience of synchronism in finding books directly linked to an idea I’m focused on at the time. I started reading ‘the Road less travelled’ by Scott Peck yesterday and the first line to jump out at me was “Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

Life is difficult…doing the right thing is difficult, working on your goals is difficult, and doing the work is difficult. You know what’s even worse…staring right at the things you have avoided so long because you didn’t want to feel the pain of dealing with it. Looking back at your actions and decisions and dealing with guilt and pain and disappointment. Looking at situations and deciding that they are simply unsatisfactory and change must be made, however painful. Looking at friends, and making the choice to go it alone because your values no longer align. Getting angry, arguing with people, apologizing, accepting criticism and conceding that perhaps, you have a lot to fix too.

Facing fear, feelings of inadequacy, pain…these are the things that MUST be done, to clear out the blockages in our lives and help us to make the true strides of growth that will help us make our widest dreams a reality. It is almost impossible to undertake this sort of self-work without a clear and compelling vision of what it is that you truly want, because the pain is merely a tunnel that leads you to a better place. The pain is the same as doing the work of breaking ground, smashing the rocks, pulling out the weeds and building a strong foundation for our dreams to stand on.

Facing reality is hard, speaking the truth is hard, and there is a lot of suffering involved. But if we will learn to live well, then we must learn to suffer well. We must accept the pain as a necessary part of the process, as inescapable, unavoidable and choose to walk right through the fire.