Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
As the length of day shortens and the season continues to change, I’m reminded of the constant flux and change that happens in life and how we must learn to get comfortable being uncomfortable. I’m especially reminded of this as I go through a professional transition during the fall, a season of change and transition. With all of this, I am more aware of the paradoxes of life as I try to embrace the swing in each direction. Some days this is easier than others, and every day has it’s own challenges.
As a teacher and lifelong student of yoga, I am continually practicing how to find ease with the union of opposites instead of constantly battling the pull in opposite directions especially during this season of change. Finding ease with this union of opposites is quite the paradox, a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true. And the more aware I am, the more paradoxical situations I notice.
Here are several of the paradoxes that I’ve been noticing and trying to find ease with:
1. Constant growth and destruction - and with that the emotions of joy and grief - as the quote from an unknown source goes, "the only constant in life is change and change requires growth and destruction." Recently for me, this has meant finding new things - new jobs, new routines, and welcoming in new life - but also letting go of other things - my previous job and the routine that had, and saying goodbye or see you later to friends and family.
Nature is such a great teacher of the beauty of letting go - hello fall foliage - but we humans tend to have more emotion tied to change, sometimes joy and sometimes grief, oftentimes a little bit of both. What are you welcoming in or letting go of?
2. Being vulnerable and resilient, tender and tough - this fluctuation of growth and destruction, joy and grief brings with it a real sense of needing to be both tender and tough. Brené Brown has been such an inspiration with this paradox, she writes, "Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness," and that we must "cultivate resilience."
I, like many of us, tend to always want to keep my armor on and not be vulnerable, but that gets heavy and there are days when I need to cry, yell, or be hugged and supported. Do you think vulnerability is courageous?
3. Finding calm within the chaos - regardless of the inspiring readings and quotes, there is still a steady pull between calm and chaos, peace and unrest. But again this is the paradox, the contradiction, that even in a hurricane, there is the quiet eye; that even when life around you is busy and in flux, your mind and breath can still be steady and quiet. One of my favorite quotes is from an unknown source that says, “peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” How easy or hard is this contradiction for you to put into action?
4. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable - this is where all of the aforementioned paradoxes come into play; growth and destruction, vulnerability and resiliency, calm and chaos. How do you react when you're uncomfortable?
This is life, and if we can hold these paradoxical situations with some sense of ease and acceptance, then I think we'll all be a bit more joyful and content. If nothing else, maybe you can observe these situations with a little more awareness. None of this is easy, but, for me, it sure does help to find a sense of balance.
If you want to read more about being balanced, check out my post from earlier this year.