Learning Through Discomfort

Jul 27, 2021

Discomfort is probably the most challenging thing for us to sit through. I am someone who, typically, curates my life in such a way that I limit my discomfort. I work hard so that I can resource a lot of my personal needs. For instance, I have a housekeeper that comes twice per month, I order my groceries to be delivered, I use Ubereats frequently and feel no guilt and right now I have a personal chef who prepares my meals because my diet is very different from that of my daughter. 

I do not like discomfort! That is, unless it comes to dealing with my emotions. 

I am currently going through what is known in my spiritual tradition as "the year in white." As a newly initiated priest in Lucumi (an African spiritual tradition), I have dedicated the next year of my life to understanding myself more and studying spiritual science. This process builds discipline, helps you to focus on your personal values, as well as provides a unique opportunity for me to immerse myself in the tradition so that I can learn without distractions. The first 3 months, for many of us is the most challenging time. It is really uncomfortable, not just because of the changes to our daily life (wearing white each day, not looking in a mirror, etc), but also because of what not having these things brings up inside of us. 

I am nearing the end of my first 3 months and as I look back on this time, I am grateful for the discomfort. As someone who has been on this healing journey for a while, I was pretty sure that this wouldn't be that intense for me. I can wrap my mind around most things to help me get through it at this point. But what I didn't realize is that many of the things I lean in to are things that can be a distraction from digging deeper into my "why" and moving beyond the behaviors I engage in and tolerate from others, so that I am not repeating the same situations over and over again.

During these past three months I have committed myself to being diligent about so much, including how I communicate with others, who I spend time with, what I listen to and what I put into my body. I have had to tell myself "no" more often then I could say "yes." This meant that I needed to stop and sometimes literally just sit in the feelings. I had a two week span where I was very clear that no one could help me, the sadness that I felt was necessary and eye opening. It alerted me to things that I still needed to grow from and understand about how my past was creeping up to impact my life today. 

How often do you simply allow yourself to sit in discomfort? When it shows up do you "zone out" to avoid it (watch tv, hang out, party etc.)? Do you have the ability to both feel it and investigate it? 

Now I know that this is so much easier said than done and I did engage in periods of breathing, sound healing, movement, intentional joy to get through it. But I ALSO sat in it and talked to my sadness. I learned so much about me and have been able to shift so many stories and changed the way that I show up for and others in my life.

My clients often ask me "when will this be over." What I always say, and what is confirmed over and over again, is this work is never over. We are constantly growing, we are constantly shifting, we are constantly adding to our arsenal of tools to do this thing better. Life will always be "lifeing." People will always show up flawed, which can cause some pain. But our responsibility is to always lean into the new level and the new learning. This time I am so grateful to have learned, and not just felt or coped, through the discomfort. 

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