The struggle is not real and it’s all in your head.
That is basically what my mentor Martha Beck said on a call last month, to which I respectfully said, “I call B.S.! I am struggling, and it is very real!” On the call, she coached me live (an experience that felt like something between a root canal and baking cookies with your favorite auntie) to reach a place where I could see that struggle and effort are two very different things.
When I began my life coach training, Dr. Beck said to all of us: “Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.” It took me 5 years, losing both my parents, breast cancer and living in chaos for 6 months to understand that there is a corollary to this edict: “Effort is inevitable; struggling is optional.”
For years, I’ve been telling you that Square 3 of the Change Cycle is hard; they don’t call it the Hero’s Saga for nuthin’! But there’s a difference between putting in a lot of effort towards the actualization of a dream (which is a very simplistic description of the sh!t show that has been my existence for the last 6 months) and suffering. The butterfly must put in a lot of effort to escape the chrysalis, effort that gives her the requisite strength to fly when she breaks free, but she doesn’t suffer in the process. You don’t hear the butterfly saying, “This should be easier! What is wrong with me that I haven’t broken through yet? If I were just thinner, prettier and more professional, I’m sure I would be free, by now!”
No, she just continues to plug away at freeing herself, until her cage finally breaks. Because that’s what happens with continued effort in the direction of your right life: you eventually break free of your cage. And it’s only a struggle when you tell yourself it is. If it’s true that struggle and peace cannot co-exist (like fear and gratitude), then when your goal is peace, struggle is a waste of time. My goal is most assuredly peace, not just for me but for all the girls and moms I coach. So, I am officially kicking struggle off my TODO list. I’m replacing the phrase, “Why is this so damn hard?” with, “This is no big deal. Just solve the problem in front of me, and keep baby stepping forward. Then take a rest and do it all again.”
That rest part is pretty important, or you will just wind down like an old battery. My favorite way of avoiding struggle is a judicious use of boogie-ing to Motown, meditation or Hulu /Netflix breaks. “Tele-novela” is my latest rest-stop; so funny and wacky! I take a little rest (turning off my phone in the process), and then plug back in to the next baby step.
How do you move your life forward? Is struggle still on your TODO list? Join me in letting it go, just for a day, or the next 5 minutes, and notice what happens to your mood. Then tell me all about it in the comments below!