I happened upon this guided meditation by Sarah Blondin through the wonderful app Insight Timer. It brought me a bit of courage and peace while I was making the decision to shave my hair, and I’ve listened to it daily since.
I’ve typed it out below, hopefully accurately, but I hope you will listen to it when you have a quiet 11 minutes to yourself. Her voice and the music behind it are so beautiful.
Exploring the Wilderness of Your Discomfort
I’d like you to take a moment to consider,
All of the places or circumstances
That you escape;
That you flee into daydream or fantasy
In order to not exist in the present moment with what you’re feeling so uncomfortable with:
Long winter months.
Your feelings of loneliness.
Your discomfort in stillness in seemingly stagnant periods of being.
These are all examples of places we often run from, and avoid,
By spending hours in our minds attempting to bring about change faster,
Or willing the summer sun to come sooner.
We leave the present circumstance because we feel broody and trapped somehow,
We have reached our breaking point and have entered into tremendous discomfort.
We have crossed a line where we have decided
We can no longer stand in this place,
We must escape.
There’s a moment when we decide
We need to distract and run.
When we reach our limits in love,
In the stillness of nature, in winter,
What would it look like if we stepped one step closer into it,
Rather than as we so habitually do, away.
When we’ve reached our breaking point,
What could these places of discomfort bring to us,
If we chose instead to explore them further.
There is richness there,
Hiding at our borders,
Hiding in the places we don’t care to look, avoid,
Or feel our greatest challenge in facing with grace rather than resistance.
If we could learn to wander in instead of away,
If we crossed our road lines into the unknown territories we have called
Too boring, or uncomfortable, what could we find?
What could it look like if we stayed put,
Felt into the borders,
Asked what it is we are turning from and resisting.
What lurks around the corners of our usual ways,
What gifts, hidden in the darkest cavern of winter’s love.
What lives beyond our borders.
And let this be our quest,
To step one foot forward,
To look into the face of what we usually turn from.
For when we choose to turn away,
When we choose not to explore,
We rob ourselves of great discoveries.
We rob ourselves of great wisdom and learning.
We rob ourselves of the many different languages of the world,
The cold snow,
Of the quiet.
All holds wisdom, dimensions, gifts,
All holds a story worth learning, worth asking about,
All holds value, and meaning.
When habit comes to try and pull you out of those tight, uncomfortable spots,
When habit comes and tries to pull you away from the present, and out of your centre
Into the land of far away
Consider that maybe there is another hand being outstretched to you too.
That at the same time habit comes, there too, from the place you’re avoiding,
Is an outstretched palm,
Asking you to adventure into the wilderness of your own discomfort.
So instead of bringing you discomfort, it is in fact bringing you learning
Love, and the gift of being fully present, to what is present for you right now
Without mapping out diversions, step forward to your edge,
And let what you have never dared before guide you into its world,
Carve out new roads,
Fall into the darkness of streets with no lamppost,
Get swallowed in stillness.
When you want to leave, stay one moment longer.
Feel around in the darkness with senses you are not used to.
Follow the heart first, hands second, ears third, and then
Open your eyes.
Bring light to the unchartered territories of your own life.
Let me remind you, you are an explorer,
A collector of experience,
Now venture out into what life is offering you.
You are choosing to live life one of two ways,
You are either continuing down your well worn roads,
Living your well worn patterns of behaviour
Experiencing your predictable ways of acting, and responding to certain things.
You are waking and walking in your deeply worn rutted roads.
Or, you are paving new roads each day you wake,
You have discovered that living the latter is bringing you no real wealth,
You choose each day to go deeper into unknown places.
You wake and walk where something calls you to, asks you to,
You accept the challenge of discovery.
When you fall back into your well rutted road, you stop,
And choose the other way.
When love brings you conflict in your heart,
You choose not to run, but step forward into it with openness.
You, when feeling the desire to close, breathe yourself wide open.
You, when wanting to deviate back to your well worn road,
Proactively, fiercely, choose to move back into the unknown instead.
You do the opposite as best you can when you are given the choice.
You see where you’re at your edge,
You greet it with intrigue and curiosity,
You dive into the places you want to avoid and run from.
You bring with you love, acceptance, growth,
The intention to expand and learn.
You bring with you the great desire to being the pioneer of your life.
You choose exploration and love.
You choose the discomfort, for you know
Therein lies a jewel of understanding.
You choose fear for you know therein lies your liberation.
You choose the forest and stillness for you know there is a language of peace you wish to embody, and it wishes to impart.
You choose your aching heart in the face of conflict and miscommunication
For you know therein lies your greatest love.
You choose when the stillness gets too loud
To stand the most surefooted in it
For you know, therein lies a shedding of the old.
You choose to stay in the present
For you know therein lies your joy, for life.
Close your eyes.
And land here in your beautiful, beautiful body.
Greet the softness of yourself, and feel the love here within you.
When you close your eyes, there is a wide expanse of unknown territory,
A playground of exploration awaits within you.
There is nothing you can predict here,
The same is true for what the universe presents before you.
Try my dear one, to stay with your life.
To stay present to all of the moments, both comforting and not.
Try my dear one to accept, the offer that each moment brings.
Don’t run away.
There is something for you there,
Being given purposely to you,
A gift to unwrap.
Try, my dear one, go farther, dive deeper.
Breathe all the way down to the root.
All of these places we run from are the homes to our liberators,
Our sage warriors, our cups of gold.
Beyond our borders, next to our well worn and rutted roads,
Lives not habit, or predictability, or avoidance of the as-is,
Bur rather never ending exploration.
Run not any longer.
Choose to go one step closer to the fire that seems to be pushing you away,
And instead, curl the corners of your mouth into a smile,
And accept the challenge.
Walk into the heat with love, openness, presence, grace, and gentle kindness,
This is how you choose a new path.
This is how you become free to live fully in the present moment,
Without needing, or wanting to run.
This is where running stops,
And life begins to flourish,
Under your feet.