Episode 005: Discomfort
How can you lean into it when it’s so fucking scary to do so?
Episode 005: Discomfort transcript
So… Welcome back to episode five.
I really appreciate you guys tuning in week after week, even though you probably have noticed, the audio has gotten a lot worse and it is because I’m not recording in the studio where I have been initially and week after week, I’m finding different rooms and sets of blankets and shittier and shittier equipment to hook up to try to bring you the content. So I’m sure XXX is sweating every time he has to edit this and try to make it sound a little better, but the hope is to get some new gear in the future. And allow the recordings to be as professional offsite, as they can be while they are in quarantine.
I will say for the record that I’m very thankful that I have had the opportunity to record in such a professional setting and to see what a quality audio engineer and equipment can really do. I often forget that this is the distinction an explanation I want to give to my clients when I work on something that “yes, you can ask your cousin’s niece’s best friend’s college roommate to design that logo for you, but it is possible that the professional who has been doing this for a decade maybe more equipped, and yes they will cost more.
Anyway. That’s just a tangent I didn’t intend to go on, but I’m thankful for you XXX.
So today, I want to bring you the topic of discomfort. I have hinted at this concept last week. And even though the two episodes are not really linked—not like a part one or part two— the two things really kind of intertwine and you’ll be able to see actually does hold for a season it’s a lot of foundational groundwork and mindset work which does influenced the creative process. But we’ll talk about that more. I have a lot of really fun episodes already pre-planned for you, but you don’t have to be in the creative field. And it’s not because I’m getting wishy-washy on the target audience, but because I think that these are universal truths and issues that we are all facing regardless of running a business or being a designer or being a stay at home mom. I believe that all of our experiences are interlinked and they are all connected by the very same principles. Maybe you experience something a little more often than another, but I think overall we are going through the same human experience and we are indeed all in this together.
So the conversation of discomfort keeps popping up because I think it’s a very popular concept at the moment anyway. And I think people are very familiar with it being something that’s a natural part of life, but I think we don’t often take a step back to really look at why it’s happening and where it has come from. So I want to invite you to consider for a moment that our brains, our primitive brains, are wired to avoid discomfort to seek pleasure and seek comfort over pain.
And if you imagine living in a cave where everything that was unknown, you had to fear because your life depended on it. If you imagine that everything that was scary was protecting you from harm and potential death, then you can see how your brain is just trying to do the right thing that it has done for a long-long time.
Consider that as a good thing. Consider that as a “thank you brain for looking out for me, thank you brain for alerting me,” that this is something scary that I potentially may feel. So far sounds like easy peasy, but what gets tricky in our modern life is that we are no longer running from tigers, or not all things that are out there are super scary and detrimental to our existence. So we have to decipher through what is really worth the fleeing or the fight or flight response in our body, and what is actually okay, and what is actually manageable by our bodies.
So the way I like to think about it is, if discomfort sets in I like to figure out where I feel it in my body where do I physically, actually, literally feel it in my body and I’m going to go on a side note here, but I was telling my brand clarity course students that I didn’t understand until almost 2 years ago why I was doing all of these different things in life. Why I was a designer, but why I loved minimalism so much and organization and cleaning and I became a yoga teacher and I enjoy teaching, but I didn’t really know how all of these things interconnected and one day I listened to a podcast where a closet organizer—I have such a riveting life—a closet organizer talked about how she always did this work and found it extremely fulfilling to help people clear their spaces, and I think there was a little bit of esoteric energy type influence already in her work, but on a whim she ended up going to a place to learn how to do soundbowl meditations and if you’ve never experienced them, I highly recommend you search for it on Youtube just somebody doing good or in your area, if there’s a yoga studio or a place that offers sound bowl meditations.
It’s insanely, incredibly calming and relaxing it’s wonderful work, and so this lady learned how to do this type of meditation and ended up incorporating it back into her work, and clearing energy and spaces became kind of this intertwined, interconnected effort for her and the reason why I’m saying this to you is because after listening to this episode it just hit me… I remember I used to live pretty far away from my clients and my work, and so I would have time for these longer podcasts, and I remember driving home thinking I need to reach out to this woman immediately and thank her for telling her story because now it makes sense why I do all the things that I do. And so all the body work, if I’m calling yoga bodywork in this context is allowing me to ask students to feel something in a certain body part, or asking them where they feel it and what that does is it creates this awareness in your body, I’m teaching you awareness in your body to feel something and to know the difference: is it pain, you know? Is it too much, maybe joint-related issue where you can’t move into a pose any further? Building that sort of awareness to avoid injury, but also being in this awareness what it feels like to pull your muscles to contract all your muscles right to tighten something.
And I didn’t realize that all this work I was doing with the students was really helping me identify some of this mindset work in my body. Like some of the sensations that I felt when something was tricky or difficult or when I knew that I had to have a certain conversation with somebody or when I had to admit, I was wrong… all of these things were always interconnected.
So the thing I figured out about discomfort, and I swear all of this will make sense in a minute, is that discomfort for me in my body, if you ask me … Réka, if you feel uncomfortable where do you feel it? It’s in my skin. I feel like I want to crawl out of my skin. I want to jump out of it feels so icky, almost like an itchy wool sweater that just doesn’t feel good on your, body like you want to just slip out of it—that’s what it feels like in my body.
And creating the body awareness allows me to stop myself and thank my brain for alerting me that this is a moment of discomfort.
But also move into it, lean into it. So if you think about the Pinterest quotes that are “yeah, lean into discomfort” “do the thing” I can’t just do that without having some sort of tool or mechanism for it.
I want you to offer this concept of what it feels like in your body, because once I figured out that if I felt it in my body, I could also just identify it and let it be or let it go. Like you can still decide to hold onto it, right? If you want to feel like the ball in your throat is the most comfortable thing, and you just want to sit with that, and keep the panic going and keep feeding it and keep feeling like “I’m gonna throw up” or “Oh, my gosh, I can’t talk, I’m gonna choke” “I can’t do this”—you do that. But I’m thinking if I can identify just that it feels like really really icky situation, and feels really uncomfortable in my skin, and I can pause to get to that moment like that’s what this is. Okay, hi. Hi, discomfort; I can actually take a deep inhale (inhale) on and exhale it out (exhale) and what I love about that is that I immediately let it go. I don’t make it mean anything that it doesn’t need to mean and I don’t feed into the frenzy and perpetuate a cycle or have a full-blown panic attack. I actually identified a source of this thought as a feeling in my body.
And at that moment, I understand that it’s not the end of the world to feel this way. That it’s not actually a tiger coming after me it’s just a really scary email that I have to write or is just a really big quote that I have to send to a project manager who may reject it, right?
So to me the concept of discomfort as commonly accepted or known as it is to be the thing that you always want to push through… I feel like we need proper tools and education to know why it’s happening: such as this is just your primitive brain’s way of saying watch out; the tools to feel it in your body; or just the acknowledgment to say: “Thank you. I see you. I don’t need protection at the moment. Yes, it is a scary big leap for my business to do x, y and z, but I got this” Right? So if you can find these small pockets of stepping stones, I think it’s possible to lean into the discomfort. And then you can flood me with all of your Pinterest quotes because I know how to handle them.
And it’s not to say that you will forever be cured that you’re never going to feel discomfort. I think the point of human life is growth and evolution—we talked about this a little bit in a previous episode. And by we talked about this, it’s Royal We / Királyi Többes, as we would saying Hungarian—Royal we—ah you’re not talking I’m talking.
But you are so kind that you’re listening I really really do appreciate it but it’s not to say that the discomfort will go away, but it’s to say that you can get more friendly and familiar with it and you can be more gentle with yourself to invite it in and notice the triggers and notice the moments where you want to run away to actually realize that you’re totally capable of doing it and that it’s just an indication of growth and evolution right? So you can stay in comfort you can stay in safety and security there’s nothing wrong with those things and oftentimes, especially in trauma and if we look around the world right now we want safety and security but we can’t have it forever and be able to move forward as humans right? There’s no growth, it’s just same exact cycle over and over again.
So today, I think I’m going to try to summarize one of my podcast this way we’ll see how it goes, but I want to summarize today and say that my point is threefold: it’s that our primitive brains are wired for seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. It is possible to identify where you feel the discomfort in your body physically in your belly, in your heart, your skin, in your hand, left big toe wherever that may be, and thirdly, it is possible that at that moment, a physical identification you can take a deep inhale and an exhale.
And by perhaps acknowledging these three small steps or stepping stones in the process, you too could lean into discomfort a little more for a more fulfilling and interesting life.
It’s all I have for you today. Let me know how that lands for you and I will get you guys next time. Bye!