Pick Your Hard


Photo©Sergiy Akhundov/123rf

I fast once a month. It’s hard. Even though I’ve been doing it for years, I start dreading my fast day the night before; fretting about how I’m going to be able to pass through the discomfort. And where I’m typically not hungry until around 11am, on a fasting day I wake up hungry. Then, I stumble through what I need to get done as best as I can, given how lousy I’m feeling. Even though I know what to expect, it never seems to get easier.

This week I heard someone say, whether you choose to take care of yourself or not, both are hard. So, pick your hard. This flies in the face of the world we inhabit, where we are constantly being steered towards doing what’s easy, what’s fast and what’s convenient. More to the point, we’ve been educated to believe that nothing has to be hard. We’re all supposed to feel good all the time. We’re all supposed to be winners.

But, here’s the thing. Experiences in life that are difficult, and that we find a way to meet and be strengthened by, give us something to be proud of. These moments give us a sense of who we are and what we are capable of, helping us cultivate an inner strength and grit to turn to when the going gets hard. Best of all, the empowerment that becomes available to us offsets the tendency to be subject to all the forms of escapism the modern day world offers up so we don’t have to feel the sting of living.

That’s why I fast. Because it strengthens my resolve and my determination to embrace what it means to be alive in the times we are living in. The “hard” of fasting helps me to remember and honor the preciousness of food. And it serves as a counterbalance to all the excesses we are constantly being force-fed to indulge in. Best of all, choosing what is hard reminds me of what it takes to walk my talk, even when it feels difficult.

Because here’s the truth:

It’s hard to have a long overdue conversation, and it’s hard to carry what is unresolved.

It’s hard to make changes in your life, and it’s hard to not feel good.

It’s hard to take the time to discover what your offer to the world is, and it’s hard to work at a job you hate.

It’s hard to admit to the limitations of what you can and cannot influence, and it’s hard to try and control what you cannot control.

It’s hard to learn about who you are and what makes you tick, and it’s hard to live believing the wrong things about yourself.

So, pick your hard.

Susan McNamara is a woman who cares deeply about how we are living and how we treat ourselves, each other, and the planet. She is the founder of The Healer Within: A Unique Online Health & Healing Community for Women and the author of “Trusting Your Body: The Embodied Journey of Claiming Sacred Responsibility for Your Health & Well-Being.” She can be reached at RememberingWhatMattersMost.com.

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