In a recent interview, the conversation turned to awareness and I said (which is what I believe) that awareness is both the beginning AND the end. When you think about it, it is really a blessing and a curse depending on the individual. Pretty strong language, right?
Let me explain. Awareness is the beginning because without it, you don’t know what you don’t know so you can live your whole life totally happy unless you know, you are aware that there is something missing.
Here’s an example of this: I was born in Lebanon. My first language was Arabic and my second was French. As a child growing up, I heard those 2 languages all the time and everywhere. I was completely unaware that there were other languages out there. And as a child I couldn’t care less. I can assure you that I didn’t miss a single minute of sleep (or play) thinking about what I didn’t know. I had all I needed with Arabic and French. Once in a while, I would hear something “weird” on TV that I didn’t understand but I still couldn’t care less because there were subtitles. So I wasn’t missing out on anything. My life was just fine the way it was.
Now, you can bet I was becoming very aware that I didn’t speak or understand English. Contrary to what you might think, my problem wasn’t with school because I was attending a French school and I was studying English there. The problem that made me painfully aware that I didn’t speak English is that they had NO SUBTITLES on ANY TV program.
So I threw myself into learning English (because after all kids have their priorities too)! At first, it was slow going and somewhat tedious because I would think of what I wanted to say in either Arabic or French then I would translate it into English in my head before actually saying it out loud. But with practice, speaking and writing in English became second nature to me. Today, I daresay, I consider myself to be more fluent in English than in my original 2 languages. Also, I can assure you that I wrote this whole article without once having to translate from either language into English.
In my case, I had a problem (“TV deprivation”), I became aware of the solution (learning English) and I set out on transforming that problem. That is usually how it works:
Pain: You have a pain
Awareness: You figure out what is at the root of that pain
Transformation: You set out to change that pain so you can have pleasure again
If you are now asking: “Ok, Joumana, I get that awareness is the beginning. But how can it possibly be the end too?” I am so glad you asked.
When you acquire awareness, you can no longer pretend you don’t know. When you acquire awareness, you put an abrupt end to any and all excuses. When you know, you can no longer hide behind ignorance. Because when you know and you pretend you don’t, that becomes a choice; when you know and you do nothing, that too is a choice.
When we have a pain, any kind of “pain” be it physical, emotional, spiritual, “professional” (as in your career or business), it’s right there in your face even though some are more “in your face” than others. It’s hard to miss.
Then we have to decide if we are ready and willing to dive deeper to get to that awareness. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes you gain the awareness on your own. Sometimes you cannot. When I go on what I like to call a “deep dive” with my clients, more often than not they are shocked at the amount of layers that show up and at how so many of the “pains” are connected.
Once we gain the awareness, we then have to make another and very crucial choice: Are we going to do what it takes to transform that pain or are we going to pretend ignorance?
If you choose to do what it takes to transform (and I am not saying it will be easy), then the awareness would be a blessing (even if in disguise) because that transformation will move you closer to what you truly desire for yourself and those you love. If, on the other hand, you choose to ignore what you now know, then it is definitely a curse because once you gain awareness, you can never go back. You can’t unlearn it. There is no Delete button. It will remain a thorn in your side. You can sweep it under the rug but then you will trip over it and fall on your face. The worst part is you will live your life wondering “What if I had made use of that awareness?”
What is one awareness that you have but are ignoring? Or what is one awareness that is begging for you to discover it?
Let me know in the comment section below.