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Should I Go or Should I Stay Now? 

By Paul C Pritchard on Friday February 12th, 2021

Image: Dan Senior

Action and Resilience, Our Faithful Friends

I am often caught between two very strong impulses: to rise to a challenge and really learn and grow or just get the hell out of there and run. Both impulses can be persuasive and that can trigger a mini-war in my head. Should I go or should I stay now? 

Can we talk frankly? Can we cut the BS? Can we acknowledge that sometimes the spiritual whitewashing of every situation can often be a strategy for avoidance? Sometimes it fuels indecision which can lead to procrastination. Then I say to myself. “Trust, this too will pass!” When what I really need to do is take action. Stay or go they are both good choices in certain situations. 

Do you ask yourself this question and consider the pros and cons? Or do you react and jump with both eyes tightly shut hoping for the very best? What’s your usual way of handling chaos or challenges? Maybe it’s time to bring some awareness to how you react and make a solid, soul-rewarding decision. 

There’s a wonderful story that Gangaji, a spiritual teacher and devotee of Papaji, shares from time to time. It’s short and effective. She’s an engaging storyteller and the simplicity and profundity have never left me. I will paraphrase it here:

Gangagi tells of how Papaji was giving a press conference. The questions were given to him in advance. He decided to ask his closest devotees one of the questions, by way of a teaching. Gangaji was one of the devotees. 

The Question: I live over a mechanic/autobody workshop in Mumbai. It’s open 24/7. The noise never stops. How do I practice my meditation?

One of the devotees considers this and answers thus: “He should accept and embrace the noise and the chaos. As a good meditator, he can transcend the noise and simply focus within.” Papaji rolls his eyes. 

The next devotee a little tentative says: “If the meditation is sincere and the mind is empty then all distraction will dissolve.” Papaji rolls his eyes. 

Alt text hereSometimes, leaving is a perfectly valid and nurturing choice. Image: Tarik Haiga

The last devotee looks nervous and states: “The noise and the chaos are not separate to the meditator. When he realises that he is one with the noise the sounds will become like music.” Papaji rolls his eyes. 

All the devotees look to Papaji as he repeats the question before answering. “I live over a mechanic/autobody workshop in Mumbai. It’s open 24/7. The noise never stops. How do I practice my meditation?” Papaji smiles broadly. “The answer is simple. Just move house!” 

A fear of the unknown keeps a lot of people from leaving bad situations. – Kathie Lee Gifford

I often think about this story when I am lost in my mind creating conundrums and overcomplicating stuff. I don’t always have to endure, sacrifice and play the martyr. I can just move, move on. And to me, this is also a practice of self-resilience. A knowing of which battles to choose. A clue for me is when my mind is so busy trying to find solutions, it serves me to shift my awareness to my nervous system. When I commit to keeping my nervous system peaceful I am generally in an aligned flow.

What the most successful people have in common is a tolerance for discomfort… Sometimes we have to do tough things and feel our way through tough situations, and we have to feel tough emotions. Resilience is more available to people curious about their own line of thinking and behaving – Brené Brown.

And yet there are times when I know that I have to stay and ‘fight’. I must endure. I must persevere. Not because I want to enter the masochistic world of self-harm or worse, self-punishment. But because I recognise that I have been in this situation at least once before. If I don’t look at the behaviour in both creating the scenario, and also dealing with the repercussions, it will probably keep haunting me. 

Again, tuning into my nervous system helps me make the right decision. If I choose to walk away and it’s the right decision it feels clean, like a flash of magnesium burning leaving no ash. No residue. If I choose to stay and it’s the wrong decision it feels continually bothersome. My mind is still busy grappling with solutions and estimating outcomes. It’s a slow burn, black and sooty. 

Alt text hereSometimes I need to stay. To feel the fear and do it anyway. Image: Derek Owens
When I decide to stay and consciously address this recurring ‘drama’ that is creating unease in my body and it’s the right decision, it feels both expansive and uneasy. There’s a contradiction in my belly and or throat. I have a sense that it might not be easy. It might even hurt like hell. But there’s also a feeling of relief that it will be the last time. A layer will be peeled away. I might even be somewhat unwilling. Moving slowly, even dragging my feet. Yet, I am willingly moving towards the enquiry to be free of it. It’s a bitter-sweet YES! 

You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place like, you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way again. – Azar Nafisi

There’s a recognition that a part of me will grow, evolve and reach a maturing that I would not have acquired had I fled. The ego does not like change. That’s its job. To keep me in a perceived sense of safety. But it is a lie. The ego is often frightened. It does not like the unknown. It is at home in lazy uncomfortableness. The ego is a short-sighted, quick-fix quack. And it costs way too much. 

We must reconcile the short term pain for the long term gain. I picture myself on the ascent of a mountain. The track forever moving up and around the mountain. And sometimes I am in the shrubs, no sunlight, feeling unsettled and longing to be on the sunlit side of the mountain. If I keep going I will get there. I just have to keep going. One foot in front of the other. One day at a time. Perhaps one minute at a time or one breath at a time.

Accept this moment as if you had chosen it. – Eckhart Tolle

I tell myself over and over again that I am in charge of this moment and this moment and this moment. This can map my immediate future which can only exist in the Now. As Emily Dickenson so beautifully wrote, ‘Forever is composed of Nows.’ Perhaps this is the true cultivation of resilience, to rest in the moment – to accept the moment in its entirety. To surrender to the meeting of the moment with no mind. To even take pleasure in the miracle of it. No one in the history of this whole world is experiencing the same ‘now’ as you are. That can be a heart-bursting thought. Infinite animate and inanimate objects all fused in multitudinous nows. That brings me joy: I am entirely unique and I am not alone. 

Joy collected over time fuels resilience. – Brené Brown

~

Beloveds,

We’d love to hear of how you navigate the bittersweet trials and tribulations of spiritual growth. What helps you that might help your fellow UPLIFT seekers.

We love you.

Paul and Team UPLIFT

How do you feel about this article? Join the conversation.

 

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17 Responses to Should I Go or Should I Stay Now? 

  1. i am somewhat feel relieved when seeing you are also worrying about the future. in a corrupted , ill manipulated company , i want to leave , but my friends don’t want me to go . i am very confused what to do .

    • I’m sorry to hear this, it sounds like a difficult situation to be in. I personally find it better to trust what my heart or gut tells me to do over what others tell me. Do what feels best for you.

      Blessings,
      Team UPLIFT

      • thank you for your support. why i do’t want do go on with my job ? because i do not want to see my colleagues buy so many cars and doing so many useless things ,i do so many useless things because of the company ,i live in a country with so many people, that the pollution this country makes is very big and still on the rise . i want to live a harmonious life with nature ,
        but my colleagues only care about plunder wealth. i want to plant trees , like my grandfather did, but this work does not profit instantly , so my relatives oppose that , they take this work as vulgar , but i see the work worthy and happy . when can i have chance? i don’t know, i only plant trees in my 300 square meters yard.

  2. The changing and excepting is not about the other person ..it is about me…usually only about me …this has been a big revelation in acceptance in my life and walking away if the situation does not serve me then , or ever did, really. That is what the moment is ,for me. Looking inward….and trusting my intuition…which I have just learned these past few years….and loving myself ..wow….so beautiful…..no one knows yourself as much as you do…we are all beautiful…that has been my biggest lesson!

    • What a great revelation to have Margo, so happy for you 😀 Very well said. Thanks for reading and sharing your insights.

      Blessings,
      Team UPLIFT

  3. Papaji’s story really resonated with me as I am going through a similar dilemma.
    I live in my parents’ old house which I “love” and which has deep emotional memories and feelings for me. Four years ago, my lovely neighbours sold their house to an extremely noisy extended family who make our lives hell with their parties at weekends. We like to relax and spend time in our garden on Sundays but now, that is becoming difficult. I have spoken to them about this but they have no consideration for others. I could sell the house and move or stay and pray that they will change. I try to “let go and let God” resolve the situation but I’m beginning to think that might be passing the buck! I’m not a procrastinator by nature so this situation is uncomfortable for me. I ask myself if I am being unreasonable or maybe just turning into a grumpy old woman. I send them positive thoughts hoping they may change their attitude. But maybe I’m the one who needs to change. After all, change is evolution. My best wishes to all your team and thanks for helping us to look within.

    • Good luck. Living and loving incompatible neighbours can be extremely challenging. I can relate. I’ve been on both sides of that fence. Is there another choice I wonder? Is there something you’re not seeing? Keep digging deep and ask for a solution that serves all. It’s a tough one. Much love Paul and Team UPLIFT

  4. Sometimes one is faced with something which can’t be run away from. My husband descended into dementia. I didn’t know if I had the inner strength to cope with the grief accompanying the end of my marriage and his needs at the same time. Grief and stress and exhaustion. My mantra became, one step at a time. Do this and then this and then this, one foot in front of another, always now and don’t think of the overwhelming future. I found I did have the strength needed. I read once, sorry I don’t know who said it, that one would never be given something beyond one’s ability to cope. It’s true.

    • Bless you Holly. You rise to the challenge with each small step and realise you’re indeed walking around the Earth as a pilgrimage to LOVE. All sweet respect to you. We are walking right beside you. Paul and Team UPLIFT.

    • Thanks. I’ll have a think about that. But right now I would say who is the ‘I’ that is being rejected? Much love Paul and Team UPLIFT

  5. This is the meaty substance of it all, isn’t it. The human conundrum. I’ve been challenged with it often lately. When there is no where to run, all that’s left is breathing.

  6. I love this story. I feel it is what every person who seeks growth ponders throughout their existence. When I am troubled, I tend to think, “If the other person” would just ________ (fill in the blank). Now, I look within myself to understand that as long as the 2 people in any relationship remain open and discuss the issues at hand, their truly isn’t any obstacle they cannot hurdle. When you love, love without attachment. That is peace.

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