Facing Reality

The energy now spent on self-protection can be converted into positive energy if we’re willing to encounter reality and see it clearly. Facing reality is an empowering act – it can liberate our mind and heart to discern how best to use our power and influence in service for this time.
— Margaret J. Wheatley

Looking at my inbox this morning there were two more.

Two more emails from wise, compassionate people talking about ways to survive the intensity of the world while still doing our work and living our lives. I’ve lost count of how many similar emails I’ve received (and sent, over the years).

Admittedly, the capacious number is down to both the kind of community I’ve built and the expanding number of incomprehensible events slamming into our collective awareness almost daily.

I appreciate the kindness and wisdom they contain. I implement many of their suggestions along with what I’m already doing to stay resilient.

And yet..

There’s this nagging feeling that our focus is in the wrong place. That we’re missing something important. That the resilience we’re cultivating can be seeded by more than self-care.

We’re strongly focused on weathering discomfort. On supporting ourselves with unquestionably necessary self-care.

The thing is … welcoming discomfort is as important as weathering it.

Much like fear, discomfort has a survival purpose. It’s a tap on the shoulder from our discernment systems telling us there’s something essential to notice.

Welcoming discomfort lets us sit in it’s prickly embrace and see what we need to see before using self-care practices to blunt its impact and reclaim our focus.

Discomfort’s messages are meant to point our attention to places where our perception of reality is – well – unreal.

When we listen to what our discomfort is trying to tell us, we have a chance to see reality more clearly.

We’re invited to clearly see things like the role we’ve all played – even if unconsciously – in creating an environment in which inequity, hatefulness, bigotry, unapologetic self-involvement, exultant consumerism, and gleeful greediness have planted themselves and are now thriving.

Seeing that kind of reality is deeply uncomfortable. It can – and should – seriously shake our foundations, make us wonder who we are and question our actions and beliefs.

As Wheatley says, “Facing reality is an empowering act – it can liberate our mind and heart to discern how best to use our power and influence in service for this time.”

Discomfort helps us face reality and gives us the tools we need to navigate change.

  • Our unease is a catalyst.

  • Our discomfort is FUEL.

  • Our newfound clear-sightedness sees the truth of what must change.

  • Our resilience-building practices keep us centered and flowing.

Can you think of a better toolkit for these burning times?