Willingly Stepping into Discomfort

The holiday’s are over. It’s mid-January, and the new year is already a living, breathing presence. The year behind me was Full. And the closing days of 2017 were in many ways the most lovely of any in my recent memory. The shortening days led to a winter solstice celebration with friends, and I took a deep breath and dared to look around and back: So many people I care about, so much growth in the face of unbelievable challenge, so much quiet calmness as I see my heart has been steadily learning to trust the timing of events in my life. I found myself enjoying every little celebration as it came along. And the extra weight? I’ve already lost it.

Fuller disclosure: it’s not like there hasn’t been a shit-load of stressors. Life is a dangerous endeavor, after all, and there’s always something threatening to knock me out of my comfort zone. And it usually does, but I’m navigating those blessings better than I used to.  Facing down fear has been a theme not just for me this past year. And fear – F.E.A.R. – can be So. Debilitating. What I want to do when it starts to circle ominously around me – drooling, snarling, and closing in – is go hide, tune it out, eat another bowl of pop-corn, pull the wool up over my head and watch another episode of Transparent. Yes, but I’ve seen all the seasons. I also know from experience that avoidance only works temporarily. And usually not well.

So, what to do when I’m feeling afraid, desperately uncomfortable, helpless, and hopeless? Not to mention angry at the injustice of being caught in the crossfire between BAD and WORSE.

Step willingly into the discomfort? Yes. Don’t be afraid, or if I am afraid, do what I need to do to show up anyway. Go ahead and take the Alprozolam, strike a power pose, do some deep breathing. But go! Something good might come out of it. It usually does.

Some strategies I’ve identified for stepping into deep discomfort, an act of courage worth honing:

  1. Meditation – it’s hard to do, right? There’s something about it that makes it look uncomfortable. But, after pushing myself to stop running around in a panic and just sit, I find the screaming mind has become quieter, and a deeper awareness has taken its place.
  2. Study the guides, spiritual and practical: Ignorance is NOT a blissful place to be.
  3. Write it down: What you know, what you want to say, what you want to ask – digging into a pile of shit is a very nasty prospect. But it begins to lose its power when offered up to the light of day.
  4. Talk to people – Find out what other people are thinking and doing; how they view a fearful situation, for example. Communication can be scary, but coming out of isolation is a big part of dealing with fear.
  5. Make Music! By myself or with others. Get out there and give ’em what you got.
  6. Lifting weights, going for a walk, cooking a healthy meal, getting a good night’s sleep – these are all part of the necessary training for a warrior in the making. I’m congratulating myself on every little baby step taken. You’re badass, girl!

Hello 2018! I’m fearful and I’m fearless, and just like you, I’m coming as I am.

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