The Gift of Contrast
I've had an interesting week, laden with contrast. For every exalted, heart–expanding high I've felt, there's been an unexpected low of equal measure.
Been surfing the waves of my emotions.
I've been here before, I know the routine; allow the emotions to roll through, don't attach any labels or judgments, just bring awareness to what's showing up, accept it, feel it and allow it to release.
Reach for equilibrium. Repeat.
Although, this time 'round the release hasn't been easy. Probably because I'm dealing with unresolved feelings from decades ago that've dredged themselves up unexpectedly. I'm talking middle school era feelings. With thorns.
So old and buried so deep that they just didn't want to leave. In other words, there was resistance in letting them go, not a conscious resistance, more like an uncontrollable momentum of negative emotion that permeated my thoughts and I couldn't seem to shake them.
Felt like contrast was slapping me in the face. Repeatedly.
My emotions can be a little reticent, sometimes they need to be shaken up before they shift or let go. After a few days of my rinse/wash/repeat routine, an impromptu solo dance party (while in the kitchen cooking dinner for my boys) seemed to finally shake them out. Thanks to Marvin Gaye, The Staple Singers, and some Cobi!
But rather than give you the lowdown of my middle school era woes, and the recent events that unexpectedly triggered them, I'm going to share with you the benefits of them showing up - the benefits of CONTRAST.
Contrast hones our desires. Every time you experience something you don't like, you are clarifying what you do like, and to consciously create your best life you have to KNOW what you like. Relationships are great for this! With every relationship you have the opportunity to learn more about yourself, about what works for you and what doesn't. In experiencing the contrast of what doesn't work you are illuminating what you'd like to expand into or have more of in your life.
Contrast clarifies our trajectory. When you feel disconnected or dissatisfied with your experience, whether it's your job, your abode, your body, you name it, the discomfort of it forces you to re–evaluate. The discomfort is the contrast, it's the sign that you are out of alignment with your essence, your purpose, your trajectory. To get back on track you need to determine what isn't working and make the necessary adjustments. Contrast shows you the way not to go and gives you the opportunity to turn yourself in the right direction again.
Contrast creates solutions. Without feeling as though there's a problem (or contrast), we wouldn't seek out solutions. We need contrast to make changes.
Contrast creates appreciation. Without a long cold Canadian winter, we wouldn't appreciate summer. Without the darkness of night, we wouldn't appreciate the brilliance of daylight. Without feeling ill, we wouldn't appreciate wellness. Without struggle, we wouldn't recognize ease. Without heartache, we wouldn't understand the value of being loved.
Contrast is a gift! It's what pushes us forward towards our dreams and goals. It motivates us to make changes. It fills us with gratitude for the things that bring us joy. It keeps us on track.
As long as we don't linger in the contrast... getting stuck in misery is never a good thing. Complaining about your problems doesn't serve you in any way either. Recognize contrast for what it is – guidance, telling you to move in a different direction. Then take action. Contrast empowers you with the ability to improve your life, if you allow it. Make the changes necessary to live your best life and delight in its beauty!
As Tony Robbins says, “The only problem we really have is we think we’re not supposed to have problems! Problems call us to a higher level- – face & solve them now!”.
And if you get stuck, like I did this week, reach for something that will shake you up a bit, do something physical; dance, do some yoga, go for a hike or a bike ride. Move your body! Get out of your head. Make room for shifts to happen.
If that doesn't work, listen to music.
Seinabo Sey ~ Still
Joel Baker ~ Further Than Feelings