Step 2: Stress as Spiritual Consciousness

When we hide from our pain, we hide from our potential. 

We may stay in hiding for years, and for good reasons! A sense of safety, comfort with the familiarity, naivety of how to adapt, lack of support…

Once we make the choice to come out of hiding, then what? Seeing all of the objects of our grief? Really, what’s the point? Where’s the fun in that? Isn’t it better to push the trouble aside, keep our nose down, and press on?

When  I was in The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) we talked a lot about fun. We learned two types: Type 1 fun is fun in the moment. Type 2 fun is not really fun at all, but after the fact (sometimes well after) you are glad you did it. Type 2 fun comes from those experiences of struggle and triumph, where growth happens, skills develop, and personal evolution occurs. Type 2 shows us what we are made of. There was a lot of type 2 fun on that sea kayaking expedition through Patagonia.

Coming out of hiding, identifying our pain and potential…type 2 fun.

Rather than seeing ourselves as victims of circumstance, and getting caught up in constant complaint, we can ask ourselves this: what are we here to learn?

Pain isn’t pain for the sake of hurting, but rather so we can find means of true healing.

Barriers point to the need for creative problem solving.

Pain and potential cause stress. Stress is the path to spiritual consciousness. It is only through stress that we have the opportunity to dig deep, to “do the work”, to connect to sources of strength around us and within ourselves.

If everything in life was type 1 fun we wouldn’t even know it was fun.

If everyday were rainbows and butterflies we would have no concept of beauty.

When we make the choice to come out of hiding, shift our thinking to growth potential, begin to recognize stress as the path to spiritual consciousness, we become the victors of our lives. We become more available to others.

Over the course of a wilderness expedition we have choices. We can be afraid and disengage which will lead to wet gear, no dinner, and letting your team down. Or you can show up, learn some skills, lead a team, and triumph through the journey.

 NOLS rock beach

This was a great day. Sun shining, lesson in back country laundry, time to experiment with campsite baking. At this point in the trip, the things that first felt like type 2 fun were now type 1 fun. We had developed some skills and a new perspective on how to be comfortable within extreme conditions. Working through the early stages of discomfort allowed us a more enriched and connected expereince later.