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Blog Post

Opening to a Stroke

Published July, 2024

Initial Resistance

When it’s time for something to shift, life will begin with a suggestion we either open to or ignore. If we ignore it, the next suggestion will have more pressure. Pressure increases because our preferences, namely our preference for static reality in the form of lack of change or security, have set in. On the second through the tenth through the millionth request, an internal pushback occurs as everything from slight irritation and resistance, to a desperate holding on. We experience responding to the suggestion as something akin to a small or big death. We feel the resentment that is always encoded into stasis. Thus, when stasis comes to life, it feels uncomfortable, irritated, angry, or enraged, depending on how much it has built up.

The Tumescent Mind

The tumescent mind is rife with entitlement. It is entitled to have things the way it wants without change. When change occurs, there is always an affront—especially when recognizing there is no fortress in consciousness strong enough to withstand the natural occurrence of change. The tumescent mind does not like to be defeated, and so it defends. It will fight, argue, and protest. This is just the nature of the beast. For the most part, this aspect of the cycle never changes. It only shortens in length and severity depending on the extent we identify with it.

Negotiation and Defeat

Because the tumescent mind is also cunning, it will likely go into a negotiation phase, wanting to assert it still has dominion over us. Just when we think it went down and stopped fighting, the fighting shifts form and becomes an attempt to sneak out of the change. But life will not bargain. We can fool ourselves that our demands have been accepted, but we are only appeasing the part that feels uncomfortable. Life is unconditional.

Grief and Release

Once the mind gets exhausted either convincing itself it can take shortcuts or do this process in a haphazard fashion, it more often than not progresses into grief. Grief can either be beautiful or a dramatized version of sorrow. The factor that determines this is how honestly one is able and willing to meet and stay with the sensation of release, because this is ultimately what grief is: the emptying out of hope, beliefs, ideas, and of the very act of holding on, and trying to make reality any different from what it is. We can add extra to the process if we like—melancholy, nostalgia, sentimentality, or a meaning beyond release. We do this ultimately to slow the process. The instruction here is to the extent we can live in the raw sensation of it, to stay open.

Acceptance and Renewal

Incarnate into the experience. This is what we call approval or acceptance. Our consciousness is cleared out—fresh, clean, sensitive from the removal of the old. We do not move forward in spite of that experience but because of it. This is where honoring the past comes from; including gratitude for where it brought us. The ground feels solid, the direction is clear, the willingness to go in that direction is unimpeded, and there is a joy in sensing the deeper intimacy with life and the potential of what we are going to discover.


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