We have a tendency as human beings to shun discomfort and generally gravitate to a position of ease and freedom from pain. It has served us well on a grand scale. We have progressed through civilizations and inventions of various labor saving devices and products. Finding better and fast ways to handle routine and not so routine tasks are feats to be celebrated and enjoyed. The elimination of inane and routine tasks frees us up more to explore the larger questions of life and seek self-fulfillment.
This trait of ours while not without great use, has an insidious dark side. It keeps us from fully exerting ourselves and pushing forward to doing great things because we would rather be at ease than be uncomfortable.
I feel like I have a lot of pain, I know it only feels that way because I generally stay cooped up in my room, working and entertaining guests from here. My pain is two fold; being cooped up too long makes me feel restless and full of angst. On the other hand, the idea of going out and doing something different – meeting people, some outdoor activity, traveling, partying even, feels painful. Not the actual activity per se, just the thought of it, there is a resistance that rears its head when I seek to upset the status quo in my life.
That resistance lies within all of us. Steven Pressfield writes about it in his book, ‘The War of Art’. Every time we seek to do something that moves us upwards on the moral, productive or spiritual scale, resistance rises up to stop us. You could also call it inertia. Every writer knows, its not the writing that is hard, it is the sitting down to write that is most difficult. The moment before you begin is the hardest.
I would love everyday to be full of life and joy. In the sense that, I would love to wake up every single day of the week bursting with excitement and lit with passion. The truth is, not every day is like that. Sometimes, things are that way, especially if you working on very cool projects, something burning from the depths of your soul. At other times, even when you are doing something you are passionate about, the going gets tough. I get tired, I get bored, I get lazy. But the clock keeps ticking, the world keeps spinning, the economy keeps trudging along. You cannot stand still for long. The clients must be satisfied, money must be made, and bills must be paid. On days like this, I switch from the romantic artist basking in the warm glow of my muse to a battle-scarred warrior staring down the resistance within. I embrace the pain.
Sometimes, that is all you can do, sometimes that is what you must do. Embrace the pain don’t fight it. Don’t allow it to turn into procrastination, don’t allow it make you spend endless time in analyzing and thinking and planning and writing down plans. Don’t allow it drag you down the dark valley of depression. Embrace the pain and work through it.
The point of embracing pain is not to enlarge it or prolong it. The purpose of the pain is to transmute it, to change it into inspiration, into pleasure. Face the fears, face the enemy, outline a working plan, make the resolves, move quickly and execute your tasks. Recalibrate yourself, move closer to your dreams, and move closer to passion.