What a time we're in! Discomfort lurking around every corner. And with it, the accompanying stress, anxiety, depression or all three. The uncertainty and the inability to plan has made me very uncomfortable.
When I filed for divorce in 2009, I began a journey outside of my comfort zone. Walking into the attorney’s office was uncomfortable. The aftermath was uncomfortable: finding a place to live, planning for the future for myself and my children, finding a "real" job - the retreat income wasn't enough to cover my expenses. I was definitely uncomfortable.
I believe good things really do happen outside of our comfort zones. In spite of thinking that way, I genuinely love the cocoon of my comfort zone. It's warm, cozy and comfortable. In the past, my response to discomfort was to numb it with wine, shopping, busyness, binge watching. I desperately wanted avoid discomfort.
Letting go may seem impossible, but resisting is actually impossible.
On my journey of discomfort post-divorce, I fought surrendering to my emotions with everything I had. I didn't want to feel the anger, fear, hopelessness, anxiety. grief. But what I discovered when I tried to hold on - holding on is impossible - because what in life lasts forever? Pain, for me, came from resisting.
Physical discomfort may be awful, but I find mental and emotional discomfort even worse. Through my physical yoga practice, I've learned to sit with discomfort in my body in a pose. From that, I’ve learned to sit with mental and emotional discomfort.
When we open the Pandora’s Box of our emotions, the scary thoughts and emotions flying out can be overwhelming. But the feelings you’ve tried to shove down, NEVER go away. They just sit and mix together into a toxic brew that damages our body, mind and spirit. What we’ve been determined to push away, finally blows the lid right off of the box. The research on the ill effects on your health of holding onto our emotions is powerful.
I believe this is an ideal time to grow or stay stuck in the past. And for me, growth is the way to move forward.
How to Surrender to Your Discomfort
- Allow the Feeling - Fear, anger, grief whatever it is allow it to bubble up to the surface, and feel it. Try it for 30 seconds. Then maybe a minute, then even longer. See what happens. When it becomes too much. Take a break and try again later.
- Sit Still and Examine the Emotion- Without judgement. Let the crazy thoughts fly through your brain. Be still, listen, and feel.
- Journal - Write or draw what the sensations feel like. Again, without judgment. Trace the feeling to the root, maybe it’s a straight line, maybe it’s more complicated. Maybe you figure it out immediately, maybe you make peace with not knowing the cause - now or ever.
- Yoga - A yoga practice is one way to train your mind to be present in every moment. Allow those thoughts to take a back seat to the sound of your breath, the sense of your body moving from pose to pose, the physical sensations as you hold a pose. Let your yoga practice be a moving meditation. Let the gratitude for your body, your breath, your practice overwhelm everything else for a moment.
- Move Through It - Once you know what to surrender to, you encounter the working part of the process. On this road you realize you're going to have to go straight through that emotion. No shortcuts. Not over or above or around. Realize your mind will want to take you a different way. You’ll want to get back to the mindless avoidance - a glass of wine, social media, shopping. Avoid prolonging your suffering with those distractions, in the long run, it will only make it worse.
- Nature - Being in nature is a powerful healing force. Focus on the sun, the trees, the flowers and grass, whatever is in your little patch of the world. Maybe you’re lucky enough to live in a place with breathtaking views, or near a nature preserve or city park, or maybe you enjoy the beauty of a single flower or cloud. Breathe out your emotions and the fear. Breathe in peace, joy, gratitude, freedom.
- Meditate - Meditation is one of the most powerful tools that we all have access to. Its free, you can do it anywhere - yet what’s stopping us from accessing it?There are meditations books, videos, apps and more if you’re not ready to begin on your own. undefined I like to visualize myself walking through a tunnel, at each step I’m letting go of thoughts or emotions that I’m holding onto so tightly. When I get to the other side of the tunnel, I have a sensation of peace and freedom. I imagine my favorite place in nature and turn my face up to the sun and close my eyes and breathe
- Thank Yourself - You’ve embarked on the journey of surrender. Continue to walk through your journey of discomfort, whatever it is for you. Fear. Grief. Anxiety. Control. Perfection. Anger. Discover what is waiting for you in the space that is now free. Love. Peace. Joy. Forgiveness. Freedom. Contentment. Self-Acceptance. Compassion. LIFE.
- Seek Professional Help - If you follow all of these steps and you still feel stuck, find a competent therapist. I have used several in my life and they allowed me to see parts of myself that I couldn't see. An outside source can give you a different perspective and allow you to find the peace you deserve. From my experience it's worth every penny, and nowadays, many insurance plans will cover the costs. Get started here.
Sometimes the thought of surrendering seems impossible. It seems easier to just lay in bed all day and give up. Give up hope, give up opportunities, and give up living. Giving up isn’t the same as surrendering. To surrender takes courage. And in surrender there is hope.