Be Prepared For When It Gets Hard ;)
I’ve put myself through hard things, on purpose, so that when life gets hard, I’m better prepared.
For example, if I told you how challenging a sweat lodge is, would you pack your bags immediately to the Yucatán Peninsula to try it out?
To paint a picture, you’re huddled inside of a tiny ass igloo shape structure with 20 or more other people. It’s tight, you have to crawl in and out, and you’re sharing sweat with your neighbors. In the middle is a pile of heated volcanic rocks that keeps growing. Herbal infusions are poured into the rocks that create steam so thick you often can’t see the other side of the circle. It’s two hours of heat, singing, trying to breathe, and claustrophobia.
I’ve done this twice now. The first time, I admit I had to get out to breathe and get water. The second time, I stayed in for a few moments after the ceremony, soaking in the lesson and gratitude for this life. The difference is I thought I couldn’t do it and fought it, wondering how much longer until we are complete?! The second time, I surrendered. I welcomed the heat into my lungs, I sounded out whatever needed to be released (crying, singing, humming, OMs), and I was fully present with the stories the curandero was sharing and the beautiful songs that were more than words, but rather palpable ancestral support.
What I’ve learned is resilience, to not fight what I’m experiencing, and to trust myself. It’s not always easy. I get knocked down and thrown off center all the time. Last week I had panic attacks so intense I called paramedics. But I get to choose, over and over, to go back to those lessons of times I’ve done hard shit, whether on purpose or just life dealing her deck.
No matter if it’s a sweat lodge, ayahuasca trip, giving birth, or taking a challenging course, I look back and see I applied these key ingredients:
And sometimes, I’m able to find pleasure, even in the challenge. Actually, I get turned on by a good challenge, because I have faith on the other side, it’s epic.
In the case of the sweat lodge, coming out felt like I was being reborn. The sun, trees, sky, and faces of others was an amazing sight! And cantaloupe has never tasted so sweet. At the end of the aya trip on the last day, I was covered in rose petals and giggled with freedom like a baby. After giving birth, I don’t even need to tell parents how incredibly empowering, full of love, and bursting with awe it can be! When I complete courses and school, I’m blessed with more confidence, higher self-esteem, and hope.
So, yes, I’m going to put myself through challenges not only to prepare myself, but to collect the bliss on the other side. There really is no other way. We find fulfillment only after doing things that are challenging, and therefore, meaningful.
What challenge are you facing currently?