How does one transform from “living with struggle” to “living in joy”? This is the question I set out to answer and it forms the central premise of the work I do with my clients. You’ve probably discovered some of your toughest and most humbling moments often follow your own sabotage and it’s a pattern you find yourself repeating endlessly. But do you sense the walls you surround yourself with and feel trapped within are paper-thin?

To realize this truth you must come to terms with your fears — your own resistance, the ways in which you create and keep struggle alive in your life. I’ve come to view weight loss as the ideal microcosm for examining resistance because the ways in which we resist weight loss are the same ways in which resistance shows up in our lives overall.

The feeling of struggle comes from identification with Ego, whereas the feeling of joy comes from alignment with Soul. Ego has to subside for Soul to emerge. This is the human experience. This is the journey we all share. And this transformation is the root of all of our resistance. Resistance then, is simply growth wanting to happen and it will always point us to the very growth we need to explore to transcend our struggle.

The Addiction to Struggle

We’re all born and begin from wholeness but our family upbringing and social conditioning inevitably generate some struggle. Over time, as you become enmeshed with struggle, your normals shift and you unconsciously continue to create and stay with what’s familiar.

Addiction then follows as the most predictable means of resisting change. Addiction is NOT a disease. It’s a coping mechanism you turn to because nothing better has been modelled or taught to you. Don’t be distracted by your “drug of choice” — whether food, cigarettes, credit cards, work, worry, anger, alcohol, drugs, etc — these differ only by degree, since they all manifest your real addiction, which is to struggle.

Not fully convinced you’re addicted to struggle? Consider one of life’s biggest questions “What do I REALLY want?” It requires you to transcend struggle momentarily to truly answer it, so if your mind goes blank at the prospect, you’re addicted. For further proof, consider if it’s easier for you to answer the question “What do I NOT want?” If you’re like most people, you can answer this one readily. This just reveals how identified — and addicted — you are to struggle.

Feeling compelled to change? Keep in mind that if you mistakenly focus on trying to change that which creates the struggle in your life, you will always feel like you’re giving something up. Addiction is not something you give up – it’s something you transcend by growing yourself up and out of it. The question is not “Am I willing to give up my drug of choice?” but rather, “Am I willing to let go of living with struggle?”

The Power of Joy

Our biggest want in life is to feel joy. Regardless what you strive for — the opportunities, the outcomes, the material items — it’s always about the feeling in being, doing or having these things. Your main work is simply unlearning your conditioning in order to allow joy to be present. And in so doing, realize that joy is the reality — your natural state — whereas struggle was the illusion.

Joy is the most enjoyable and powerful state there is. It brings a consciousness-expanding high and an intense creativity that is unachievable through any other means. Our addictive wiring it seems was designed all along for joy, to help us experience our most life-enhancing and fulfilling moments.

Why then do most people only experience fleeting glimpses of joy? Extended experiences in joy can feel foreign and overwhelming if you’re not practiced in them and you will unconsciously limit or shut these down. Most people understand that it takes a specific set of life skills to release struggle but few realize it takes a further set of life skills to embrace joy.

Developing and practicing consciousness is key to being with the immeasurable power of joy. And how do you know when your transformation is complete? When you now spend most of your time living in joy, with only fleeting glimpses of struggle!