Make Way for Pain and Suffering

I’m in the final six-ish days of the Whole30 challenge and I caught a cold on Sunday. That means my number one favorite remedy, SleepyTime Tea with honey, is off the table. Yes, I drink SleepyTime Tea with honey, no I am not a 72 year old woman. But, yes the bear on the package makes me happy.


Courtesy of FeatherbyFeather

Also, all the decongestants in our house come in the form of a syrupy liquid that’s DEFINITELY not kosher. That’s okay though, Cousin Rupert says decongestants are mostly a priming chemical that makes the general public more susceptible to mass hypnosis. Looks like I’m stuck with the neti pot and gargling salt water.

The relatively mild discomfort led me to consider the nature of suffering in modern western societies. Human beings are wired to avoid pain and discomfort. This natural impulse has spurred countless inventions and technological advancements that make up our modern world. We’ve cured diseases and a thousand other shocks that flesh is heir to all in the name of reducing our misery. But this comes with a cost.

The minute the temperature at work drops below 71.5 degrees I get to hear all about it from my female colleagues. Everyone at work talks a big game about how bad SUBWAY is for them, but they’re too lazy to walk the two blocks to something better. I’m not claiming to be better than these people; it’s just more fun to point out their flaws than mine.

We understand intuitively the concept of suffering in pursuit of a lofty goal or passion. The word passion after all means ‘to suffer’ in Latin. But in our age of tawdry convenience, we actively avoid the tiny frustrations, uncomfortable silences, boring pauses –

(oh shit, i need to order dog medicine. hold on you guys …, …., …,  Back now. And, in case you were wondering, YES by dog medicine I do mean medicine made from dead dogs. Now, where was I?)

In our age of tawdry convenience, we actively avoid the tiny frustrations, uncomfortable silences, boring pauses, emotional rejections, and physical discomforts that build resilience, strengthen the will, and humble our pride. Is it any wonder that so many of us are frustrated with our lack of achievement, but unwilling to put in the work?

If you can’t push through the common cold, how do you expect to get your writing career off the ground?

We’ve spent too much time in a zero-gravity environment and our muscles have atrophied. If we want our former strength back, we have to be willing to suffer for it.

Endure the cold, skip the creamer in your coffee, take yourself to task, and thrive.


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