I didn’t want to meditate this morning. I’ve been doing this meditation practice with ice lately, training myself to focus in the presence of discomfort. It’s not pleasant (that’s the point), but it’s effective, and I moved around my house in the space before entering discomfort with that cagey resistance that most of us know really well.
I knew I had to go in, but I wished that I didn’t.
I did the practice, and that cagey resistance was waiting again on the other side when it came to going for a walk. It’s a perfect spring day—I don’t know what my problem was. Sometimes, I resist the best things for the dumbest reasons. I went for my walk and I passed a polling station and I wondered if part of that dodgy vibe I’m picking up is because today is the NY primary and a lot of people are on serious tenterhooks. This whole country is, when you think about it.
It feels like a verge we’d never be on, but here we are.
And aren’t we always here? In one way or another?
That cagey resistance is part of my every day. So is that feeling of being on the verge. Of being one step away from a fray I’m always going to have to enter.
And there’s a feeling of wanting to run and hide, but also a feeling of not wanting that at all. This subtle, internal push-pull locks me up and makes it all much harder than it needs to be. Most times the answer is to just do the thing. Stop fretting at the side of the pool and get in already. It’ll only be cold for a second.
This is how it is with change. We know it’ll be uncomfortable—we’re not stupid. But, we forget that’s not the point.
The discomfort isn’t what we’re choosing, it’s the change.
Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like a choice, though. It feels like you’re forced into a situation of sinking or swimming and maybe you resent the part of it you didn’t choose. But, you’re here, in the water, so you’d best get on with things. I felt that way when I got divorced. I didn’t want to be single, but the person I was married to was leaving, and that’s just what was happening. Resistance hung me up for awhile, but eventually I understood that I needed to set about choosing how I wanted to be single because that’s what I was now.
Same with the miscarriages. Same with every time depression comes to call.
And honestly? Same with every day I wake up and resist the practices that are keeping me alive. Every time I face down some Big New Something like moving or really learning to be an ally or trying to get pregnant again.
We’re always on the verge. We’re always stepping into the fray.
We’re always making that giant choice to face What Is and act without knowing how things will turn out.
I want to acknowledge that in you. Because sometimes what might seem like the Tiniest Nothing Thing, like, do I wear a dress today? is the opposite of tiny. Ask any transgendered person. And sometimes what we’re facing down is speaking the truth in the face of oppression or acting directly against accepted ways of existing. Sometimes, there could be consequences that are really painful, and that’s the risk we’re taking when we step in.
That cagey resistance thinks it’s trying to save our lives. But it doesn’t actually have that power.
The only thing that will save us is to walk right off the edge and see what happens on the way down.
You can’t stay on the edge forever. It doesn’t actually work that way because that edge isn’t safe. There are scary consequences there, too. Which isn’t to say There Is No Safe Space. It’s just not where you think.
The safest place you can be is at the moment mid-step when your foot has left resistance, your weight has shifted, and gravity is pulling you toward What Is.
That moment of free-fall is the safest place in the world.
What are you resisting right now? What’s waiting for you on the other side? Share in the comments below.