Life is so many things: fascinating, scary, happy, sad, surprising, boring, refreshing, exciting, overwhelming, peaceful. When I'm truly curious about my life path--my ways of engaging and distracting, my stuckness or my forward movement--then I typically see most clearly. When I get stuck, it's often (always?) because I avoid difficult feelings. Even though--through much experience--I know it's most healing to allow and process a difficult emotion, I often choose to distract myself. I distract to the point where my mind, body, and spirit say "hey! let's just work with the fear/hurt/grief/sadness/shame, because this aversion is so much worse." That's when I come back to myself. That's when I'm most authentic.
Last May I attended a meditation retreat lead by Cheri Maples. In one of her dharma talks, Cheri discussed her "Fears Chart," which explains the way in which many of us get stuck--avoiding difficult emotions rather than approaching them. Her worded descriptions speak directly to my heart:
Put another way, by insightful poet Danna Faulds:
The Path to Freedom
What is the path to freedom here?
The answer is clear the moment
that I ask. At every fork in the road,
there is a conditioned response
and one that is unpatterned, bold,
and free. The old, known way is
more comfortable, but the other
path holds mystery and wonder.