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Embracing Suffering On the Path to Bliss

Loving the Chrysalis and the Transformation

Life is full of the unexpected. And that is to be expected.

Over the course of the past year, my mantra has centered on being calm amidst the chaos, and it was working. Yet, just when I thought I was coasting, life suddenly became a boxing ring. I felt like Apollo Creed in Rocky IV, it seemed like the next blow was coming at me, before I could recover from the previous… faster and faster, from every angle… then I was on the ground. It was a TKO and I was done; and all I remember for three months was that emotionally, I was barely alive.

I’m sharing this because I have to. Excuse my stream of consciousness writing. I made no attempt to organize it. I am completely in flow with my thoughts. As someone who is very private, I tend to deal with things and people only see the end result – the epitaph of the struggle, but now, I want to meet you where you are. I hope that my honesty helps you with what you’re going through.

In my place of emotional desolation, as someone who takes pride in being mentally strong, I couldn’t find the strength to use a single one of my tools; and that panicked me, because THIS was not ME.

“I’m supposed to be good at this. I need to figure this out and get to the other side,” I told myself. I found myself berating and pushing myself to hurry and get to the fix. My Wonder Woman tiara had fallen off, my sword had been sliced in half, my cape ripped to shreds and my golden cuts had broken off. My life became a numbed set of activities. I found joy in nothing. I was in tears all the time. I couldn’t sleep. I forgot to eat and my brain wasn’t functioning the way it used to, anymore. Unaccustomed to feeling this way, I found myself in a place I hadn’t been before. I didn’t know what to call it. A good friend of mine gave it a name, “depression”. Too many things had happened at the same time, and they were too close to home. I tried to get my arms around it all, but any way I sliced it, after adding up all that I was experiencing, it was what it was. I was in the trenches and there seemed to be no end in sight.

But, how do you cope with suffering when your focus in life is being happy and frankly, your work is immersed in inspiring and giving others tools, so that they can experience more joy.

What does the teacher do when she can’t teach? She has to learn the lesson.

I struggled with that for a few months. I couldn’t think of a lesson that I hadn’t learned. As long as I’ve known myself, I’ve done the work, I’ve learned the tools, I’ve practiced what I’ve preached, so why did I feel now, absolutely and totally f**ked?

I kept praying and asking God what it all meant…and there was no answer. I thought, “Really, dude? Seriously. After all we’ve been through G, you’re gonna leave me hangin’ like this?” When would I come from out under this place? How could I re-frame what was happening, so that I could shift and get to the other side? The answer that came was unexpected…it came from my gut, up through my heart, into my conscious place of knowing. It spoke to me.

Embrace the suffering of the present moment as necessary on the path to bliss”.

This knowingness hit me all at once – softly, and like a ton of bricks. How do I do that? My natural inclination was to get through this s**t, now God was asking me to play with it and to stay there? God was telling me to look inside and examine it? Was God really telling me to get used to the fact that suffering is truly part of the human condition, and once I expect it, accept it and embrace it, that would open me up to more bliss? Or was bliss a crock of s**t? I mean, it seems like as soon as I take care of one thing, there are a few months of joy and peace, then something else pops up. I said to God, “I’m not comfortable with this idea of accepting suffering. I’d need to sit with this one for a while.

After a few more days, came another realization – the anxiety that I was feeling about the emotional space that was in was keeping me stagnant. You see anxiety is caused by a resisting of an emotion or experience; it’s caused by a pushing away from something that is judged to be unwanted – consciously or subconsciously. And with that pushing against something – especially something that is within us – like a pain or emotion, we label and judge, we decide that it is not of us, and therein is the rub – we push against versus embracing, and we can never win against the winds of change – because life WILL change.

What we can do, is expect it, accept it, embrace it and adjust the frame of how we see it. We can allow it to be what it is, and allow the lesson to manifest, because beauty and grace can show up in the most unexpected places.

I sat with these thoughts for a long time. I thought about my life’s purpose and all my work. I realized that there was a deeper layer to it than I had ever shared or intentionally thought about.

See, we are not made in the moments of triumph, nor in the moments when we are leaping over tall buildings and scaling hills. We are, in fact, made in the moments when we are in the valley. We are made through our struggles. We are made through how we awaken, transform and emerge through the pain. And so, I was being “made” yet again. I just had to stop resisting magic that I did not understand.

A year ago, I launched the “I Manifest Bliss Experience”, an event that gathers unicorns, changemakers, spiritual gangsters, badasses and people like us, who are looking to live more authentically and and connect from a place of soul. It’s an experience that fosters true connection. It inspires people to revel in their being-ness. People often think that the event is just about being happy. While that’s the end game, it is not the focus. The focus is about the path to getting there; connecting and traveling with others as you traverse life. Even though I’m a teacher, I’m still learning what words to use, how much to share and at what level do I expose all of me? As I asked myself these questions over the past few months, the answer I received was “On every level. Give them everything.” I received another Divine download, telling me, “people can’t be inspired to go down a path when the guide has never been there before“. “Well, I don’t want to suffer through life, God. I like being happy. I’ve been so happy. Why are you doing this to me?” Another freaking download came. I heard this one clear as day, “Make your suffering the gift.” “WTF is God talking about now?” I thought. I realized that I needed to share my truth – the happy truth and the s**t. As I meditated on this, another answer came, “No matter how stuck you are in a place or a feeling, your spiritual power is bigger than your disease.” So now, I had to realize that my spirituality was bigger than anything I could ever face. I knew that intellectually, but my energy, heart and soul had to align there.

We must let the impermanence of life push us to a place of freedom from fear; and when we find ourselves in a stuck place, tell ourselves that it’s okay to be there… it’s okay to feel this way.

Does this mean that the whole happiness business is a crock of s**t? Some of it is… if people are not being real about where they are in their lives. Some teachers and coaches want us to layer over our pain with affirmations. They want us to mask the hurts in life with a smile. They want us to pump our fists and claim our power. I would dare to argue that my power lies not in pretending that I don’t feel – whether it’s happiness or pain, but in embracing my truth about that place; allowing God to teach me lessons from the thorns and the weeds; and allowing flowers to grow when they will. If were are to live authentically, some days we are happy and some days not so much. Sometimes, the days turn into weeks or months of sadness, and you may just have to honor yourself in that space…while you seek answers. Give yourself time to do the work – to seek what is at the root of your un-alignment. Let life do what it does. It WILL self-correct. You will self-correct. You see, happiness doesn’t come in a box all neatly packed and tied with a bow.

Creating/manifesting/finding happiness is more like trying to eat a bowl of soup on an airplane – sometimes there’s turbulence and it’s f**king messy and you end up with s**t everywhere…

…and then there are other times, when you feel like you’re in a Campbell’s soup commercial and it’s all nice and pretty, and everything’s good. The path to happiness is moment to moment. In order to embrace and enjoy it, you have to adapt to changes in the environment – internal and external. It’s important that we give as much attention to how we look and feel on the inside, if not more, than we do on the outside. Give yourself the gift of studying yourself – your gifts and your wounds. Study where you take your pleasures and why. Dig deeper, uncover your messes, identify and eradicate limiting self beliefs; dive below the iceberg. If all you see in life is the tip, you’re bound to get sidelined by what you can’t see underwater. If people stopped smiling when they didn’t want to, stopped faking when they didn’t feel like it, stopped posing or creating an alternative reality through selfies, and started being real, imagine how different our world would look, more importantly, how our world would feel, and how much more connected we would be with ourselves and others. Living consciously has to become our new mantra. We must live in it, we must invest in it and we must stick with it. Internal, spiritual hygiene should be the goal.

So many people live their lives not wanting to feel their feelings, judging their feelings and masking them behind addictions…

…like food, television, sex, drinking, drugs, work or other meaningless activities. Behind the glare of their computer, others invent a person or lifestyle that temporarily fills their emotional need to be accepted…. Yet, they still feel empty, unaware that they don’t have to live life feeling disconnected and alone… or some simply just don’t want to do the (hard) work it takes to grow. Yet, people are literally dying to be seen, loved and understood.

While we hear a lot about mental health, it’s rare for someone to put their hand up in a crowd and say, “Hi, I’m depressed. How are you?”, because there is so much stigma and shame around this topic. People are dying to be seen, heard and felt. Connecting with the deepest part of human beings, loving them, feeling them and seeing them; having them see themselves and each other, is at the core of why I launched “I Manifest Bliss”, because no matter what your business, fitness, lifestyle or financial goals are, none of it matters if you don’t live in practice of knowing yourself, and living consciously and connected. None of it matters if you’re not present to your life journey. None of it matters if you’re not working with what’s coming up for you and transforming life with it. None of it matters if you can’t feel what you’re feeling and be okay with that.

None of it matters if you believe that doing life alone and hiding your truth from others is a way of life.

There is a saying that you keep repeating the lesson until you learn it. After experiencing multiple traumas over my lifetime, and tiptoeing around them, I realized that I didn’t want to pretend anymore, and so I stopped. The price I was paying for hiding my true self was not worth it. I realized that the work that God wanted me to do on this Earth was too big, bold and beautiful, for me to hide away any longer. Like many of you, I was dying to be seen – on the inside… and so I took a bold step and manifested an experience where others could gather in a safe space, to share and learn about each other and themselves. The only mistake I made was in believing that all the tough lessons had been learned. Spiritual lessons in life, I can only compare to a video game. Whenever you master one level of the game, the game becomes more complex, you graduate to a new set of tools, to which you have to become accustomed, and you have to become acclimated to a new way of life.

And so, we must EXPECT that life WILL change. What we can expect it, accept it, embrace it and adjust our frame…while honoring that part of us that is the chrysalis – the growth stage that takes us from caterpillar to butterfly. Our old self has to shed and die, before the new is born.

We can allow it to be what it is, and allow the lesson to manifest. And, as we shift and transform at our core, then we can integrate those values into our selves, our families, our relationships, our businesses, our finances, but it all starts with working on the soul.

This is not a marketing piece for an event or a program. This is from my heart and soul, talking to you. Where are you headed? Where do you want not go? Do you like where you’re going now? Are you enjoying the journey? If not, what are you doing about it? Are you wasting precious life time by waiting for the answer to fall into your lap.

Are you running from what life’s trying to teach you, or are you embracing it?

Manifesting the s**t you want in life, first requires that you get real with yourself, and to do that, you have to do the work.

Too many people are hiding – especially from the ones they love the most. We think we are protecting them, but what we are doing is separating and isolating ourselves. Yet, this keeps us from the very thing we want – deep connection. And, if we are a mystery, even to ourselves, how can explain ourselves to another?

We label our feelings – as bad, down, we tell ourselves we need to get it together, keep it tight, then we fall apart at home – alone. We judge the very thing that can save us – our feelings, out truth, our vulnerability, our rawness. I tell you this – no amount of intimacy can be established with self or other – until we learn to stop lying to each other and stop selling fake news to ourselves. It is only through sharing our wins and our struggles can we allow others to know that they too can be known, accepted and understood. Being in a place of struggle doesn’t negate God. It doesn’t negate your light. It doesn’t negate your truth. In my place of struggle, more than any other time, looking back now, I realized that I was covered by God. I was protected by light. I was surrounded by abundant love. Knowing that, allowed me to allow life.

In the past three months, I’ve never had to do so much soulwork; and it’s never been more apparent which people in my life willing to do the tough work on themselves and mine with me. You see, a lightworker, a teacher, a boss truth teller isn’t someone who has this otherworldly ability to transform and bring light, love and peace to others. A lightworker will help you get to the deepest, most authentic answer, not just the one that makes them feel good. A lightworker is like an excavationist, helping you through digging through your past, allowing you to think and work through your rubble, your rocks, your stories stories over and over again, until the “aha” bubbles up. They will inspire you to practice new tools. They bring you closer to the light. A lightworker will, be with you in the lion’s den of your emotions – standing by your side – in faith, trusting that you will learn and evolve; believing for you that it will get better, reminding you of your strength when you can’t see it. Letting you know that “yes you can, and yes you will.” A lightworker is someone who allows you to show what’s real, so you get get back to what’s true and right – your light.

Bliss doesn’t come in a box. It only comes when you step out of the box that you’ve created. Only when you can see it, do you have the power to understand it, play with it, un-label it, and dis-create it.

Come to the I Manifest Bliss Experience on June 15th. I promise you, it’ll change your life. If you can’t make it, sign up for one of my coaching packages. You’re not alone. Your s**t is real, like mine is, but I find so much more peace when I lean into it. I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel…kinda. I realize that, hey, even gurus can be f**ked up at times. It’s called being human. Enlightenment isn’t easy, but it’s better when we do it together, and when you embrace your suffering, because in that place is where you find bliss. It’s in the letting go. The acceptance. The flow.

I’m emotionally moving into a better place. I can see the sun again. I can feel the breeze. I can breathe. I like being here. I also am immensely grateful for what I have learned this year, especially the past three months; and how it has transformed me and my relationships with the people I love the most. Everything is more transparent. We see each other now. It feels so real. It feels like growth. It feels like life.

Embrace your chrysalis… I am learning to do the same.

You’re beautiful. You’re strong. You got this. I believe in you. Thank you for believing in me.

I hope to see you soon…heart, soul, bliss, crazy ass s**t and unicorns.

I love you,

Maimah

Originally published at www.maimahkarmo.com

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