“When you start to want to live your life fully instead of opting for death, you discover that life itself is inconvenient…you again and again encounter the inconvenience of your own uptightness, your own headaches, your own falling flat on your face. But in wholeheartedly practicing and wholeheartedly following the path, this inconvenience is not an obstacle. It’s simply a certain texture of life, a certain energy of life.
Since you are wholeheartedly committed to the warrior’s journey, [inconvenience] pricks you, it pokes you. It’s like someone laughing in your ear, challenging you to figure out what to do when you don’t know what to do. It humbles you. It opens your heart.” – Pema Chodron, in Comfortable with Uncertainty
Here are a few things that are just so gosh-darned inconvenient:
- Traffic jams
- Delayed flights
- Tax prep
- Doing the dishes
- Getting pulled over
- The bedtime routine with kids
- Doing the dishes
- Head colds
- Did I mention doing the dishes?
Here’s something else that can be a total pain in the butt that may surprise you: Living from your heart. Going for it – whatever “it” may be.
Which is so annoying, isn’t it? I mean, if you’re going to start living your life with more awareness and courage, the path ought to smooth itself out, shouldn’t it? Doesn’t that seem reasonable?
If only. No matter how much you manage to evolve, you’re still human and earth-bound. Meaning, you’re still going to get triggered emotionally. You’re still going to have to deal with everything on the list above.
If anything, raising your awareness can intensify your experience of things not being that great. In fact, it can even invite more inconvenience into your life.
For example, I have been talking about wanting to do more speaking since forever. I am at last getting traction on that, with four speaking gigs booked in the next 6 weeks or so. And it feels so good!
It also comes with its share of irritation. [Cue the sad trombone.]
For instance, I’m moderating a panel at the conference of the American Society of Journalists and Authors in New York city on a Thursday. That Saturday I’m leading a workshop at the Women’s Health & Fitness Expo in Lake Katrine, NY. So far, so good.
But then factor in that my husband will likely still not be back on two feet (he had his second surgery on his broken ankle yesterday), so there’s carpooling and perhaps babysitting coverage to coordinate. And the question of how to get from Providence to NYC and back again in time to turn around and head out again for the Hudson Valley, and perhaps pick up the kids and bring them with me to stay overnight with my in-laws. It’s definitely complex and the timing is awkward. And yet…
Where there’s a want, there’s a way. (Click to Tweet!)
It doesn’t mean it’s an easy way or even an elegant way. After all, this is inconvenience we’re talking about! But what’s good about the difficulty is that it requires you to soften and accept, to ask for help, and generally to hustle a bit to make it all work out. And when you do go to the other side, it’s all the sweeter.
Inconvenience is a toll you have to pay to get to the good stuff.
The more willingly you can pay that toll, the less inconvenient it all feels.
What are your current pains in the butt, and what good stuff might they be trying to usher in? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!