On There Being No Such Thing As Problems…

March 12, 2014 in feel-good, self-coaching, tough love

I wanna get a little personal with you guys.  Something I’ve been working on in my own personal development is the idea of “problems.”  For about two months, I’ve been experimenting with the notion that ‘problems’ don’t exist.

It feels so much more peaceful and compassionate to enter a situation that might seem…sticky, without automatically labeling it a “problem.”  And my day starts with so much more space and freedom when I wake up and don’t immediately ponder what problems need solving today.  Yes, situations can always be better.  I can always approach them more authentically.  But they aren’t problems, because there is simply no such thing as a ‘problem.’

Logically, I believe it.  There really is no single situation that is purely problematic.  A dent in your car isn’t a problem for the passionate car mechanic who loves removing dents.  Cancer isn’t a problem for the man who feeds his family by selling cancer drugs.  A beloved’s death isn’t a problem for the grief counselor who enjoys offering the bereft a shot at some real comfort.  I’m not saying there aren’t things that are inconvenient, difficult, arrestingly tragic.  I’m not belittling the very real experience of physical or emotional pain.  I am saying that if you tell me a painful experience is only and automatically a problem, I don’t buy it.

So far I love this little thought experiment…about 88% of the time.  The other 12% of the time, I’m face to face with the weight of a monumental responsibility to myself.

If problems don’t exist on their own, then when I’m experiencing the pain of something being one, it’s only because I called it oneI am the one who took this scenario – the amount in my bank account, the dent I put in my boyfriend’s car (oops), news I’d hoped never to hear – and rode it, swiftly and unquestioningly, into more pain.  I’m the one who saw the sharp-toothed mouth of the cave and threw my hands up before I gave my wisdom-hungry soul the opportunity to dance up and down its sides, shake the mammoth, weighty cloak of fear from her shoulders, creep bravely into its darkest crevices, and emerge with any one of the dozens of golden eggs reserved only for those who meet life eye-to-eye even when they’ve been blinded.

We call a thing something it isn’t, call it a “problem.”  And in doing so, rob ourselves of experiencing the thing itself, favoring instead to detest it.  We hold whole chunks of our lives from ourselves at arm’s length like a creature that might claw if we embrace it, leaving us scratched and wounded.

But scratches heal.  Wounds grow over with skin newer and pinker – hell, even shinier – than what was there.  And even the angriest clawed creatures grow tired of lashing out.  When met with enough love and fearlessness, and no longer told they are merely a problem, many submit, gleeful and purring, to being held.  The largest and most exceptional even nuzzle back, curling themselves into the curves of our necks and sides until the very peace of their presences erases the desire to ever again strain ourselves holding them at bay.