Sitting with Discomfort

I’m a lover, not a fighter.
So when presented with the option of fight or flight, I have always chosen flight.


And I find that I’m not the only one. Sometimes our brains want to run away somewhere else because the present moment is too drab, or too painful.

Some people escape life by numbing themselves with alcohol, loud music, and drugs. Others escape into their sports, entertainment, or work outs. Still, others escape into the arms of another human being.

In my case, I literally took flight. As in, I flew to the other side of the world. While it’s been a while since I’ve felt compelled to run away as I did back then, I still find myself having to figuratively strap myself in for the roller coaster that is this moment.

Because truth be told, I’m afraid. Don’t get me wrong, I am so absolutely stoked on life right now – in particular, super pumped about Social Yoga. However, at the back of my mind, there is an inkling of fear. And fear is no place from which to run a business. There is the self doubt. The voice that says- “You don’t deserve this- who do you think you are to do this?” “If you fail, what will people think?”

Whenever I take a step forward with Social Yoga, I get this sinking feeling of “Well, I’m really committing now.”. It is then that I usually entertain the idea of moving to Costa Rica to work at a surf shop or moving back to Australia- until I remind myself that that was a life I idealized, not one I truly want.

I recently shared with a friend/ mentor that I’ve FINALLY REALIZED what the following quote means:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”

I am afraid of my own success.

I am single-handedly sabotaging myself because I am uncomfortable with success.

For someone who doesn’t even think twice about cold calling & rejection, or extreme activities like skydiving, it seems a bit silly that this, of all things, would leave me “outside of my comfort zone”. 

So today, I’m learning to sit with my discomfort. No more distracting myself with work outs and naps, and DEFINITELY, no more of this wanting to drop everything and run away crap. How do I do this? By grounding myself. The things that work for me are- playing with Leroy (the dog), journaling, taking a moment to be mindful, and doing some yoga in the form of child’s pose and downward dog.

 Photo by  Wilson Lau

Photo by Wilson Lau

In yoga, when we are confronted with an uncomfortable pose, we are told to “breath into it”.  Rather than distracting ourselves with other thoughts, we are taught to sit and focus intently on the breath and this present moment. While geeking out on meditation studies, I found one that talks about how meditation helps to reduce pain, or at least the body’s acknowledgement of pain as painful. At the same time, I’ve read recently that the body processes physical pain and emotional pain in the same way. As such, when we breath into a pose in yoga class, we are truly learning to cope and breath into the difficult situations we encounter in every day life. By concentrating on our breath- which is our anchor to the present moment, we are literally sitting with the discomfort. And in doing so, it becomes a little less uncomfortable.