One of the things we often look for in our creative lives is a sense of ease and flow. When things click into place or synchronicity appears, we get that wonderful reinforcement that we are in the right place, doing the right thing and all is well.
But here’s a wild thought. Sometimes when things are uncomfortable and hard, we are also in the right place, doing the right thing. Not always. But sometimes.
Does that ring true to you?
Can you think of a time when everything was hard and uncomfortable and you were on the wrong road? What did it feel like? How did you know the road was ultimately not for you?
Now, can you think of a time when the path was hard and uncomfortable but still, you knew you were on the right path? What did that feel like? How did you know that despite it being difficult, it was right for you?
Answering these questions will help you hone your discernment, a powerful ally when choosing whether to brave the discomfort or walk away.
This topic is on my mind because this week I had two experiences of the latter, choosing to stay with the discomfort in order to get to something wonderful, and it was so rewarding!
First, I had the opportunity to be a part of an amazing event. The choir I sing with was invited by NBC to create two performance videos in support of their upcoming live Easter event: Jesus Christ Superstar. I signed up immediately since my sisters and I have been singing this musical for as long as I can remember (and my brother endured!) This week, not only did we get to belt out these tunes like we were making a rock video but we sang along with Swedish Idol winner Erik Gronwall while holding him up as he body surfed the crowd! We also sang with Brandon Victor Dixon, Tony nominee and star of Hamilton, who blew the roof off the Great Hall! After his rendition of Superstar, literally everyone around us was saying, “Oh, my god.” “Oh, my god.” “Oh, my god.” He took our breath away! I wish I’d been able to take pictures or video to share with you but the whole production is under wraps. I’ll share more as soon as anything is released!
I would never have had that phenomenal experience if I hadn’t waded through the deep discomfort of going to choir in the first place. In the Reading Nook, I share the story of Braving the Road to Belonging and what helped me finally go and sing. I hope it inspires you to brave your own discomfort in service of what calls.
My second opportunity to get uncomfortable came on the heels of this singing event. Last week I came down with a wicked cold, which is why there were no new Behind the Scenes episodes – my voice was gone! Despite being under the weather, I followed through on a commitment I had made: a dance audition. Yep. I said it. I went to a dance audition. Dance is my first love but I thought my days of performance and auditions were long (long) behind me. Still, when the opportunity called, I answered. Was it uncomfortable? I tried not to think about it! What happened? I wrote a post about it here.
Sometimes everything comes together and the Universe clears the way. When that happens, let’s embrace the gift and celebrate! Let’s enjoy the grace and be rich with gratitude! But let’s not make the mistake of believing it must always be that way. Let’s not wait until the road is easy, free and clear because we may be waiting a long, long time.
Sometimes the Universe issues a challenging invitation because she is beckoning us to grow. She wants us to unfurl into an even deeper expression of who we are and to learn what we are capable of. As creatives we do that beautifully through creating.
I invite you to explore the question of when discomfort and difficulty is a sign to stop and when it is an opportunity to grow. Ask yourself, “How do I know the difference?” Draw on your life experience. Discover your own wisdom. This is not a simple question but it’s a powerful one and worthy of contemplation.
If in your exploration you start to notice something you’ve been aching for or dreaming of, something that is just on the other side of a bit of bravery and effort, something that feels like a yes, even though it’s hard, make a move. You might just be on to something wonderful.