Day 1,492 – Thankful for Moments of Growth Disguised as Moments of Pain

My mind tends to fix on themes often.  If I were to go back and re-read many posts over certain periods of time there are definitely themes flowing from one through the next to the next to the next.  The most recent theme is focused on a combination of gratitude and growth.  Yesterday I wrote about my presentation on gratitude tomorrow and it also got me thinking of growth.  The day before was focused on meditation and a sense of enlightenment. 

After going through the normal morning routine I opted to work on my breathing practice before hopping in the shower.  I laid on the bed and spent the next 28 minutes breathing in a specific pattern.  Sound easy?  It was more intense than I would have thought!  Interesting and unrelated side note – I didn’t realize that I could empty my lungs, not breathe in for over two minutes, inhale deeply once, and then not exhale for another minute and a half until this morning!

I’m not sure if it was a combination of the past blogs, my breathing practice, a crazy earworm, prepping my training, or random-ish chance, but I got myself thinking about one of the lower points in my life.  Back many years ago I just felt off.  I was feeling unfulfilled and like I was just drifting without purpose.  Becky helped pull me out of that funk by suggesting I take a road trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michicagn.  While sitting alone on the shore of Lake Superior I took time to think, chill, and dream.  It was one of the first times I put tangible dreams on paper.  By the time I came home I was already changing.  I was motivated, had goals, and was actively finding ways to grow into those dreams. 

From that one weekend I transformed and grew closer into the person I feel I should be. This was the spark of my dream book before I read Dream Manager.  This was when I realized how important my health was, not just for me, but as generational gift and benefit for my boys.  When I go back and look at how much started blossoming from that difficult time I see it was one of a handful of turning points in my life.

This morning I kept thinking back to that mindset before the weekend in the UP. I was so lost, so disengaged. Hopelessness was rampant. Motivation was a struggle. I was in a complete and total funk. The Killers wrote a great song – Rut – that really nails the feeling I had in a way much better than I could ever dream to:

Can’t keep my mind off of every little wrong
I see the mouths are open but I can’t hear the song
I’ve done my best to fill ’em
But the cracks are starting to spread
Hey, I won’t blame you baby
Go on, turn your head

But don’t give up on me
‘Cause I’m just in a rut
I’m climbing but the walls keep stacking up

I can’t keep pretending this next stop isn’t mine
The truth is on the table, and someone’s gotta sign
I’ve done my best defending
But the punches are starting to land
I’m sliding into something
You won’t understand

Don’t give up on me
‘Cause I’m just in a rut
I’m climbing but the walls keep stacking up

As I listened to that song in the shower I chuckled to myself.  How many times in life have the most profound changes come as a direct result of the most difficult challenges of my life?  Sure, in the moment the pain is intense and in the moment I would prefer to skip it, but if I keep my head, if I keep my emptions, if I live my true self I know I will be better for the experience.  Those difficult moments are when I’ve grown the most.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to actively seek those moments out, I’m not that big of a masochist.  However, when I look back at the challenges of all sorts that 2020 has thrown I’m going to someday look back and see it as another pivot in my life, an opportunity to take the next step in growth.  There’ve been so many lessons and steps of growth already, but this morning I couldn’t help but think of how much time I’ve spent reading, in thought, in meditation, in nature, in motion, and with family.  The breathing exercise and cold showers (three days going strong, up to 40 seconds!) might be another of those changes that maintain and continue to bring joy to my life for years after 2020.

Moments of growth disguised as moments of pain. Keep my head, keep my emotions, live to my true self… do those things and the pain will melt into growth every time. Keep the faith, stay positive, always smile, always grateful. Memories of pain will fade, the growth, joy, and gratitude will remain.

Thanks!!!

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