Allowing Discomfort

This past week, I had some business to attend to in Seattle. It was my first visit back to the place I once called home since I had moved away in September.

I must admit, I was a bit nervous about the visit.  I have lived in many places as an adult. However, Seattle has a very special place in my heart as I had grown deep roots there.

When I was about to return as a visitor, the instinctual part of me that is concerned with shelter and safety got activated.

In Western science, we associate this feeling with the concept called the reptilian brain.  According to yogic science, it is the first chakra that is connected with these feelings.

Whatever your beliefs may be, any time we mess with home, food, and community, we also get an opportunity to breathe and see what is going on inside.

I realized I was experiencing a low-grade sadness.  When I envisioned myself in my old haunts as a visitor and not a resident, driving around my old neighborhood in an unfamiliar car, I felt awkward.

I also had the added uncertainty of how many loving friends would I be able to visit in the short time I had.

It was a strange feeling, on one hand there was the nostalgia that made me want to recreate my old experiences, on the other, I had the bittersweet realization that I have moved on and this was no longer ‘home’.

So, here is what I did:  I stopped fretting and set my mind to be open to a new experience with Seattle.

What that allowed was for me to actually have the feelings, without trying to repress them. I gave the situation breathing room rather than exacerbating any discomfort.  

I was interested in my feelings, instead of judging them.  The quiet observation, “That’s interesting…” is far gentler than, “What’s your problem?  Why on Earth would you be feeling strange about going someplace familiar?”

The experience made me realize that we make negativity more powerful by viewing it negatively. In short; we get emotional about being emotional!

Everyday I come across people who are stressed about being stressed, or, even uncomfortable about dealing with an uncomfortable situation at home or at work. This makes no sense, but we do it all the time and make so much more misery than the original discomfort.

Your Assignment:

Can you make an agreement with yourself to simply feel an uncomfortable feeling all the way through until it is finished?  What about refraining from judgment?  If you notice the experience in your mind and body it is easier to allow it to pass.


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