Sunday, January 15, 2012

Go Ahead & Get Uncomfortable

There's been a word that keeps popping up in the quiet moments when insights come.  "Comfortable."  The meaning used to be very clear.  Something to do with ease and it was a desirable place to be.  No one ever wants to be uncomfortable, and for most of my life I've taken feelings of discomfort as a sign that I must be off track.  Comfortable is even defined as "being free from stress and tension."  Being comfortable, then, is the desired outcome. 

I am convinced, however, that being uncomfortable is not only good, it is necessary.  A lot of the wonderful things that I find joy in have come from/with some great discomfort.  For example, when I think about my new involvement in a recreational roller derby team, the word comfort does not come to mind.  In fact, I would say that it is most definitely uncomfortable.  My empty bottle of tiger balm confirms this fact, but the thing is that roller derby has brought me so much joy.  I am proud of myself & I'm getting stronger.  I'm following a wild insight I had, even though I've been uncomfortable all along the way...even though other people are uncomfortable with my choice. 

Many times along the way I have tried, via my scaredy-cat personal thinking, to talk myself out of my new hobby.  Even while on the track, I've had to override my wimpy thoughts and clear my head.  What's left is just me and the clarity that I am happy to be doing what I'm doing.  Comfort can't hold a candle to happiness. 

For me, it seems that insights, whether it be regarding a business plan, a romantic choice, or even a hobby, at some point require a leap of faith.  It's one thing to get an insight from your Mind, but it's quite another thing to act on it.  Maybe this fear is where this notion that being uncomfortable is bad got it's roots.  Maybe it lies in the fact that historically & collectively we've spent a lot of time shying away from our insights.  Then we've needed to convince ourselves that the safer more comfortable choice was the right one.  And here we've sat with no real understanding of discomfort and all its glory. 

This theory about comfort has many holes in it, after all.  First of all, when you deny the truth that you know, it does not go away...even as you sit comfortably.  Conversely, when you take a leap of faith...and follow what you feel to be right for you, you are always rewarded.  You always find what you were hoping for & much more.  This requires some discomfort though, because doing something that was not planned by your personal thinking also sometimes means it does not make logical sense.  Others may question you from their comfortable chairs.  You'll have nothing to say, except that even with some discomfort it still feels right.

I'll leave you with one question before you decide how optimal comfort is for you.  Think for a moment about all the moments...or THE your life for which you are truly proud.  It can be anything, and you'll know it because of the strong feelings the memory evokes as you recall it.  Now, think about this memory.  Was it full of comfort, or were there times when you had to go down the bumpy road of discomfort? 

So, what's to stop you from flinging yourself at discomfort when it shows up along the path you've chosen for yourself?  I, myself, am putting out a welcome mat for all discomfort that comes as I pursue my insights and dreams.  For this is where all of my learning comes from...this is where I build the next memory for which I will recall later with pride.  I wish nothing less for you!