My coaching client Deb has been taking several medications, including an anti-depressant. “The problem is, for every issue the medications alleviate, they create two other problems, some of which are rather nasty,” she explained. I asked Deb if she was open to believing that she could be helped without sustaining a loss. “Can you imagine a cure that fixes what’s wrong without requiring more fixes?”
Deb’s dilemma seemed to be about the medications she was taking, but on a deeper level she was being called to examine her belief that winning in one way requires losing in another. When we began to explore alternatives to her medication that would not require more suffering, Deb found her way to a naturopathic physician who helped her overcome her depression with natural supplements that did not cause negative side effects.
Wellness does not require elements unlike itself. If you believe that healing, a successful career, or a passionate, loving relationship requires sacrifice, you may create the result you desire, but you will also create a sense of loss. Perhaps it is time for us to revisit our belief that struggle, pain, or sorrow is required for us to have what we want. “No pain, no gain” is an old paradigm we are ready to grow beyond. Many of us observed parents who strained for their good and taught us that unless we are struggling, we don’t deserve to succeed. But every generation stands on the shoulders of its parents; we learn from their examples, keep the best, and leave what doesn’t work behind. We honor our parents most profoundly by living closer to peace than they did.
A no-sacrifice lifestyle does not mean we get lazy, become blobs, and lay in bed waiting for checks to float through the window. We are required to take action, make an effort, do what is necessary, and face challenges. But when we do what we love, from joy, even challenges are empowering. When I wrote my first book, The Dragon Doesn’t’ Live Here Anymore, I sat at my typewriter at a little wooden desk and wrote for 12-18 hours a day. If you observed me, you might say, “that guy is really working hard.” But my venture did not feel like work. I was having so much fun that even the obstacles were exhilarating. “A labor of love is no labor at all.”
Take a moment now to consider what elements of sacrifice you believe you must make, and if loss is really required. If you do something difficult because it is for a higher cause you value, it is not really a sacrifice. A Course in Miracles urges us to put aside “the old rugged cross” and honor God with our happiness. God never asks for pain; that is a story that people made up. We are also free to make up a new story.
Healing is not about trading something good for something better. It is about trading what is worthless for what is worthwhile; what has no meaning, for what has all meaning. It is about letting go of fear and claiming love. You cannot get to peace by pain any more than you can gain peace by war. The road to peace is peace. And the road to wellness is wellness. You don’t have to sell out or compromise to feel good.
Alan Cohen is the author of many inspirational books including Spirit Means Business. Become a certified holistic life coach, next training begins September 1, 2020. For information on this program and Alan’s offerings please visit www.AlanCohen.com.