For today’s lesson, I want you to tap into the stubbornness you steadfastly held onto when as a child. Be unmoving, remain rooted and firm in the earth. I challenge you to really dig your heels in. Okay? Okay! Let’s begin.
(Side note: I will own up to the fact that I said ‘one week’ and it really turned into three. Life happens. Pre-marriage life is another story altogether. Thank G-d. Anyway! Onwards!)
Previously, we discussed the journey from chaos to calm which can be attained when one becomes aware of G-d’s presence in their life. If chaos is life on autopilot, then calm is life with a focused lens. You can see clearly. Now what?
Here’s the thing that no one tells you about tuning in. Life looks very different with your eyes focused on what’s real. Once you adjust and see the truth, there is no turning back. It’s like therapy: Once you see what needs to be fixed, ya can’t unsee it.
Well…that’s not entirely true. There is one way to ‘turn back’: Dig your heels into the ground, and put on your best toddler face and scream NO as loud as you can (try it, it’s cathartic).
Channel your inner two year old for a moment. Remember those days? Yes meant yes. No meant no. There were no “ifs,” “ands,” or “buts” about your decisions. You really believed in yourself, in your goals, and in your mindset (even if you weren’t fully aware of it). You knew what you wanted; good luck to anyone who tried to stop you.
With time, you grew up a little. You realized that temper tantrums were ‘okay’—even acceptable— for a two year old, but they became less accepted at six, eight, ten…if you cried the same way at twelve as at two, forget it. It’s like checking your height before hopping on a ride at Disneyland: “You must be under this height to scream and pout.”
Don’t get me wrong: There is a time and place for everything. Tantrums don’t carry you far in life for a reason. Proper development of healthy emotions and an ability to communicate your needs without slamming your fists down on the table are a positive sign. But, what about being steadfast—stubbornly so—in our beliefs?
There are two times of stubbornness: one petty, perhaps even aggressive and misplaced, the other solid, clear-minded, strong. There’s a time and a place for everything; it’s simply a pattern of ascertaining when, where, and how. There are times when you should hold your ground, but that doesn’t mean you should fall to the floor, kicking and screaming, to prove your point.
In order to be present, consistent, loving, attentive, and kind to ourselves and the world around us, we have to stubbornly believe in what we’re doing and in the outcome we’re looking to achieve.
What the heck does this have to do with Hashem and your life?
You’ve tapped in. You’ve seen the light. All signs point to forward motion. But, you don’t want to change. It’s too hard, there’s too much involved; there are too many pieces of your ‘two sizes too small’ life that you want around for nostalgic purposes. You hold on tight, stubbornly dig your heels into the ground, and say NO. I shall not be moved.
There’s a time and a place to be stubborn. Facing a moment of change (and yes, possibly calm-chaos) is not be the right time to stand your ground and refuse to budge. Healthy stubbornness means holding firm to your beliefs, not holding down aspects of life that no longer serve you. Can you be stubborn enough in your faith in Hashem that He brought you this far in order to take you further? Yes…? (Even a questionable yes is a good start.)
I know. It’s hard. It sucks. There have been times in my life where positive, healthy changes have stared me in the face, and I’ve actively chosen to look the other way (or run for my life). Eventually, they caught up with me—I was tired, and beat down from running, and felt I had no other choice but to accept out of defeat. You can’t run forever. You must as well embrace the mission you’ve been handed like a mensch.
It all comes back to meditation. Meditating is not a one-two step, easy process. It takes dedication, and dare I say it, stubbornness. Have you ever tried it? It’s the worst. I’m not going to sugar coat it: Sitting still and doing nothing feels anything but transcendent.
If you stick with it, magic happens. When you give yourself the opportunity to stubbornly stay with it—even though sitting in one place with your eyes closed, trying not to think for what feels like days can suck— you pass through the gates of uncomfortability and melt into a sense of peace.
Recognizing that Hashem has your back is the first of many steps. What happens after the transcendence passes into effort is up to you.