the painful discomfort of living YOUR dream
Last night Elyse and I sat drinking our second cups of lemon and ginger tea (mine with oat milk + half & half; hers plain), Elyse on the leather club couch, me on the tweed chair.
This morning Elyse says: "It’s a good writing chair, isn’t it?"
Yes. It’s a good talking chair, too.
We talked about the falsehood we’re all fed: that the indicator of living our dreams and living our truths is that we feel good and everything feels easy all the time.
Oh, once you're living your truth, you never feel anxious or nervous or scared or sick or any of those things!
Elyse and I say no.
The actual signpost to living YOUR dreams and truth (versus those others have assigned to you) might actually be going through a lot of those shitty, tough, WHY IS IT SO HARD feelings.
The discomfort never goes away.
And in fact, the discomfort of living the singular way your unique soul came here to live --- doubters and controllers and haters be damned --- might be much more acute than the numb nothingness kind of pain (which often masquerades as "comfort") of doing what everyone else wants you to do, or what you're supposed to do ... or just doing nothing at all.
Living your truth is still painful. It's just the good kind of painful. The worth it kind of painful. The FEELING IT ALL kind of painful. (And ecstatic!)
The anecdote to the diffused, drawn-out swab of "I don't feel anything and life neither sucks nor doesn't suck, but that's just how it is, pointless and boring and monotonous" --- aka NOT living your truth/walking your one path --- is NOT feeling only good all the time.
Oftentimes the cure (living your truth/dream/path) is more of a stab-you-right-in-the-heart and wake-you-the-fuck-up-to-your-own-life kind of feeling.
Something I said about Kesia’s and my conversation regarding this lie about how when we’re doing it right life is easy … that it’s actually never easy, and the trick/hack is to find evermore ease in the hardness … reminded Elyse of one of the most beautiful revelations she witnessed someone experience and share.
It was during a NOLS expedition/course in which Elyse was one of the instructors. The attendees were a group of example student leaders and prodigies from some very elite universities back east. They ranged from kids who grew up in extremely impoverished families with no way out except their off-the-chart genius to students who came from very wealthy bordering on nobility type families where the pressure was on for day one.
The boy who stepped forward to speak on that last day was from one of the latter kind of families. Everyone was shocked when he said he had something to say. He’d barely spoken a word the entire course.
Not only was he at the top of all his University's measurements of prestige and achievement, he’d also, on the side, already co-founded a startup company that was changing the world and making beaucoup (like millions) bucks, by 19 or 20 years old. This was exactly the kind of trajectory his family expected him to rocket.
When he stepped forward, tears coming with him, he said what this course had taught him was this: That despite all his wild success at everything he ever put himself to, he realized none of it made him happy.
He realized he had been doing all of it for everyone else. He'd always been doing what everyone else wanted him to do, and doing it (exceedingly) well. But he had never done what he wanted to do, what made him happy.
He said he was so thankful for the NOLS course because it taught him this: How to be uncomfortable.
For he’d realized it was going to be very, very uncomfortable to do what he wanted to do … which would be very different from what everyone else wanted him to do.
And so, again, signs that you're living your dreams/truth/passion/path might sometimes include feeling good. They will also quite often include feeling very, very acutely uncomfortable.
To wrap this up, I wanted to include a very related quote I remembered from Untamed in which a fellow woman in rehab tells Glennon Doyle that she's been told all wrong when it comes to indicators that you're doing life right.
Most appropriately for this piece and for our purposes here, when I googled: “glennon doyle quote -- when you're doing it right life is hard”, these two quotes came up side-by-side, two-in-one, as my combined answer in google’s first recommendation.
1) "When a woman finally learns that pleasing the world is impossible, she becomes free to learn how to please herself."
2) “Being human is not hard because you're doing it wrong it's hard because you're doing it right. You will never change the fact that being human is hard, so you must change your idea that it was every supposed to be easy.” ― Glennon Doyle, Untamed
It's hard to say it any better than that, folks.
And so, that's all ... for now.