It seems to drop in out of the clear blue sky. I promise you that it doesn’t have an open invite to come and get on my nerves, but it comes just the same. It seems to want to get on my punch me in the face, whisper sweet nothings, get it’s way, and be off again. This unwanted guess I speak of, is discomfort. With all of the things I want to do with this one earthly life, he manages to nestle against me at the most untimely moments, almost begging me to quit, on his hands and knees praying I give up, jousting back and forth with my mind. I can’t front like he never wins, because sometimes he completely dominates the game, like Michael Jordan did the 90s.
His last visit with me, came when I was at the gym. You might get this same visitor, and if you don’t pay really close attention, you may not even recognize that he has arrived, because he doesn’t exactly announce his arrival. With my practice of yoga, and meditation my awareness allows me to recognize a lot that use to go unseen. This particular visit started when I decided to try and do something new. My legs didn’t feel up to running after a hard week of sprints and HIIT training, so I decided to do 30 minutes on the rowing machine. I’ve never did more then 10 minutes on the rowing machine, and that was several years ago. Discomfort instantly chimed in, “You’ve already worked out hard, and for an hour. Take your butt home.” Ignoring the temptation and allure of quitting, I dived right in, and started to row and row and row. Five minutes into rowing, like clock work, here he comes yapping his jaws, “What the hell were you thinking? That feeling you’ve got in your chest is only going to get worse. Yes! That big ass elephant on your chest is only going to get bigger.” I literally wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it all the way through. I started to lower my expectations, from 30 minutes to 10.
The longer I went on rowing, the more he lectured me on the idea of quitting. I’m not sure why I started to think of my meditation practice, and how challenging it is to sit with feelings and emotions of discomfort. I ask myself the question, what would I do with discomfort if I truly wanted to make friends with him. I thought for a moment, and came up with the idea of sitting down with him and having tea. So, as I’m rowing, I’m picturing myself at a table covered in white linen, fancy silver, and two old friends drinking tea. He stated his case over and over why he thought I should quit, the boundaries he’d like me to stay in, and the box size he proclaim was fit for a king. I listen intensely, allowed him to state his piece, but kept rowing, and eventual the same way I didn’t ask for his participation, I didn’t ask for him to leave either, he just did, without a word. First the elephant got off my chest, and eventually left the room, but without a doubt he will be back.
I’m sure this voice is no stranger to you, as he is no stranger to me. We hear him all of the time trying to design our life to his comfort. If we listen to him, he stops us, prevents us from moving forward, stunts our growth, but if we learn to recognize his voice, recognize the way our body tells us he is here and armed like a knight ready for battle, the better we can defend ourselves, our dreams, our hopes, our goals, our wants and desires.
Everyone has their own way of learning to become aware, but for me yoga and meditation work. I recognize fear and discomfort with in me, which allows me to recognize the truth, that there is nothing to fear. I practice recognizing these trues every chance that I get: gym, yoga mat, at work, during meditation, etc. After all, if you can’t recognize them, you will never be able to deal with them. This has helped me to push through some of the most challenging moments of my life, and because I’ve practiced, I am also prepared, so instead of being annoyed, or quitting, I’m sitting down and having tea with my discomfort. Cheers!!