The hard stuff and the good stuff

I’m currently facing one of the hardest things I have ever faced in my life. I’m scheduled for an operation, which in itself is nothing really, but the reason it’s hard for me is because I have a phobia of operations and hospitals.

When I found out I needed this operation, I went into a bit of a spin.

I was terrified, had one panic attack after the other (one while driving which wasn’t fun – thankfully I had space to pull over till it passed), and generally lost a lot of sleep.

Initially, I was in a state of denial, thinking maybe I could find a way to get out of it. That lasted only a couple of days until it was clear I couldn’t.

Once I had acknowledged this would need to happen whether I wanted it or not, I realised I was going to have to find a way to calm down and accept it rather than fight it. I knew I was going to have to do some deep work in order to manage this.

Thankfully I had already planned to take several weeks off work, so I have had unlimited time to meditate, read spiritual books and blogs, watch spiritual YouTube videos (strangely the most comforting videos have been people’s recounts of Near Death Experiences), write in my diary and reflect. In essence, I’ve had my own little spiritual retreat!

I’ve learned to make room for my fear, I now allow it to be, accept it is a part of the experience. I have asked Spirit to make the fear more bearable, and it now is.

But more importantly, I’ve been able to reconnect to a deeper spirituality which has been lacking in my life lately. I have been craving a deepened feeling of connection, one I used to have a few years back, and knew it currently wasn’t quite there despite my simple daily efforts. This deepened connection has made this whole experience worthwhile, I feel I am almost ready for anything. What will be, will be.

It’s strange how often the most difficult times in our life turn out to be the times we are extremely grateful for, and we really treasure. We grow and evolve, and we surpass our own (imaginary) confines. We don’t crumble as imagined.

I stumbled across a really beautiful quote by Cynthia Occelli which I feel describes this sentiment perfectly:

“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”

I get it now. I was craving growth, and I got it. It doesn’t always come in sweet, comfortable packages. Maybe it never does. Facing the hard stuff isn’t necessarily something we want to do, but I will know next time what to look out for, and open up for the possibility of something beautiful.



Photo courtesy of Joshua Gutowski