I’ve been reflecting on these two quotes for the last week, reflecting again out of the recognition of the truth of these words by M. Scott Peck: “Life is difficult…and is full of pain as well as joy.” What makes life difficult, says Peck, is the need to confront, face into, and solve life’s difficulties, problems and challenges. This “confrontation”, he says, is painful because it evokes in us, “frustration or grief or sadness or loneliness or guilt or regret or anger or fear or anxiety or anguish or despair.”
“Life,” Peck tells us “is not meant to be easy”, but we so often expect that it should be. Instead, in accepting the difficulties, and in working with them, we discover that these very problems “call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed they create our courage and our wisdom.” Further, “it is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually.” It is only by attending to life’s difficulties and the pain that it causes us that we grow psychologically, and indeed, become more fully and deeply human.
It is from the place of difficulty and pain that I share these two quotes:
“Growing with our bodies, all of us find ourselves at one time violated or wounded by this world in difficult ways, and still we live and breathe in this touchable, sensual world, and through trauma, through grief, through recovery, we heal in order to be touched again in the right way, as the physical consecration of a mutual, trusted invitation... To forge an untouchable, invulnerable identity is actually a sign of retreat from this world; of weakness, a sign of fear rather than strength and betrays a strange misunderstanding of an abiding, foundational and necessary reality: that untouched, we disappear.”
~ David Whyte
“Change, therefore, need not be threatening; it can in fact bring our lives to perfection. Perfection is not cold completion. Neither is it avoidance of risk and danger in order to keep the soul pure or the conscience unclouded. When you are faithful to the risk and ambivalence of growth, you are engaging your life. The soul loves risk; it is only through the door of risk that growth can enter.”
~ John O’Donohue