Walking on the edge, and not fitting in, that would be me. I became a student in the art of fitting in, just enough to make life work. But that meant living a life of discomfort: a life of separation from myself that came from the attempt to connect with others at the expense of losing me.
Life seems to be made of discomforts; the discomfort of not getting what we think we want, not getting responses we want, the discomfort of a break in a friendship or partnership, the discomfort of not knowing, the discomfort of displeasing people and trying something different, taking risks, the discomfort of being on FB or other social sites and starting to feel pangs of envy, and a sense of being left out.
These discomforts unsettle my soul and teach me. “What’s learnin’ ya?” my teacher Angeles Arrien would say. Well, I have learned a few things about these discomforts. I have learned about my completely unconscious and automatic ability to turn away and become distracted from them. I have also learned about the power of listening and turning towards the discomfort, pain or fear. I have learned that doing that, actually makes the discomfort less uncomfortable, less potent and more manageable. When I see the turning, my soul looking, there is a too tall dark shadowy being and I am saying, “I see you. I know you. I hear you, you are there”. The darkness gains a small bit of light, the shadow fades just a bit. The discomfort and the barely acknowledged fear subside for that moment.
“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” ― Leonard Cohen,
A lot of my life has been about turning away from all the discomfort and fear that has met me each day. I am an expert at distracting myself, I think I am not alone in this.
The distractions are innumerable; for each and every disquieting thought, every discomfort, pain or fear, I dare say that there are at least 6 distractions and some aren’t even articulated. They just show up and I find myself somewhere else, not feeling what has caused me distress and that lasts maybe a second, maybe more, until I resurface in the land of discomfort again. In this country, I can distract myself again or turn and face it, stare it down, let it know I am not afraid of feeling the discomfort it brings. At least for that moment, I am not afraid, I am courageous.
As distractions go, they are often made up but seem very, very important and needing my attention. Needing me to turn to the story and/or drama that is much more urgently demanding of me, than the discomfort that I am afraid to face.
The White Queen in Alice and Wonderland was an expert at distractions: “Alice laughed, “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Maybe she should be called the Queen of distraction.
I guess the complicated part here, is that some things we turn to are creative, and do need our attention. The question is when do we do that and why, at that moment, is it appropriate timing?
Sarah Blondin has a way of speaking to my soul, deep and clear.
Listen to her PODCAST – EXPLORING THE WILDERNESS OF YOUR DISCOMFORT