Four and a half years ago I broke out into a full body rash that itched like a mother. It was very poorly timed because I was about to cruise around the Caribbean with a bunch of entrepreneur/change-maker types at Summit at Sea.
Bikini + sun + full body rash = not cute and not comfortable. Itch city.
In the Spring of 2011 my life was in total renovation mode.
I’d left NYC with no plans of where to settle next. I’d gotten rid of most of my belongings, and what was left filled about a quarter of the smallest storage unit I could rent. I was in the process of unraveling my business partnership with my mom and finally creating full financial independence. (I tell the story in depth in my book, Money: A Love Story, which is now available on audio!)
I’d also accidentally fallen into a romance with a guy I barely knew who I invited to drive across the country with me on a whim.
I had left my comfort zone far in the distance. Every aspect of my life was up for overhaul.
And so I broke out into a rash. Old patterns were rising to the surface and needed to be released.
Just like when you do a juice cleanse and you get a headache the first couple of days as the toxins leave your body, my skin broke out as my toxic thinking and ways of being were leaving my experience.
Often when you upgrade your diet or workout program you feel worse before you feel better.
Upgrading your life is the very same thing.
You may break out in a rash as your body and being adjust to the new way. It doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. It doesn’t always mean you have to dump the guy or quit the job or switch directions.
In my case, it meant I was on the right track. It was just super uncomfortable because I was making significant, necessary changes.
(As a result of the massive changes I made that year, I paid off all my debt, doubled my income, doubled my savings, got a book deal, and fell in love with the man who became my husband. All so worth a couple of weeks of itching.)
I think so often when we have a physical ailment or everything in our life turns to turds for a bit, we automatically freak out and stop in our tracks.
We forget that our bodies are connected to our lives and that perhaps our bodies need to catch up to our psyches and adjust to the new normal, too.
I chose not to run to the dermatologist because I knew she would probably prescribe me steroid cream, which I know doesn’t heal anything. It just masks it.
(This is what was right for me. I’m not saying don’t ever go to the doctor. I’m just saying consider listening to your body before grabbing a prescription.)
I wanted whatever needed to leave my body to leave my body. I wanted whatever needed to leave my life to leave my life. I wanted it up and out, not covered up.
(Sometimes the cover-up comes in the form of drugs, alcohol, overwork, over exercise, or even social media. There are an infinite number of choices when we’re looking to avoid the discomfort of actually feeling something.)
The reason we stay stuck where we are is because we’re avoiding the itchy rash of change. We’re avoiding how bad it feels. So we stay with the chronic, low-grade feeling bad of where we are instead of dealing with the acute pain of change.
Allowing the experience of the acute pain of change promises eventual relief. Staying stuck has no such promise.
If we’re willing to scratch away for a while and let whatever needs to leave leave, though, the rash will heal and we’ll end up with new, luminous skin.
On the other side of the itch is a life that works way better than the one you were willing to get uncomfortable to let go of, and it will be worth all that scratching.
Have you ever experienced the “itch” of changing your life in your body? What do you do when faced with the inevitable discomfort of change? I’d love to hear your experience in the comments.
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