Discomfort joined me a few weeks ago. I did not invite it. In fact, the timing was just plain poor! Discomfort arrived on the eve of my birthday. I had been busy all day finishing details at home and preparing for Bob and I to spend a couple nights camping. Camping is one of my favorite treats to myself. It had been 2 yrs since we last camped and much of me was excited. The weather was going to be amazing starting about 7pm. Interestingly, right before that a thunderstorm front was passing through our area. And so taking this into consideration, we arrived about 5pm. The campground was empty, the attendant said the storms chased everyone out. We would have the place to ourselves most likely. Wow! We had our choice of campsites. What more could we ask for?
Well, this could have been a delightful story about the year I had the perfect birthday…and it just was not to be. Discomfort arrived within me loud and clear once we arrived at the campground. I could not seem to find ‘comfort’ in any of the campsites. All of them felt ‘not right’ in one way or another. I kept turning toward my discomfort, acknowledging it. All I could sense in that initial arrival is that there was ‘a lot’ and it was very nonspecific. It seemed to come from all over my body, and it moved. The discomfort triggered other parts of me that were upset that ‘discomfort’ dare to show up on my birthday. They did not like that and I created space within me for both to be here. Both something in me that felt uncomfortable right now and something in me that wanted the discomfort to go away because it was my birthday trip.
This might have been enough. However, to top it off, there was some added discomfort outside of me. Both of my daughters were dealing with their own discomforts and we were trying to connect over the phone with a signal that was weak and often dropped our calls. This invited a sense of frustration to join the party. Thank heaven for Bob and our dog Lucky, they were grounded solid in grace and ease.
Once we settled on a campsite, this did give me more of a handle on the discomfort. Now, my discomfort had a location to settle into and I could feel it making an effort to settle down like an animal might find itself a safe place to rest. And on the good news side, by consistently turning toward the discomfort again and again, I found it lifted by late morning the day of my birthday. Once it settled like this, I hardly noticed it for the remainder of the camping trip.
And then, we packed up and came home. Hello discomfort! I felt the discomfort again, just as loud as before and even more fidgety. It was clear to me now that I would be inviting this discomfort as my topic when I met with my Focusing partner this week. And so I did…
And very quickly as I entered my body, I heard an explanation of where and why the discomfort was here. A week or so before my birthday, I’d started some new health routines. I was practicing a form of deeper breathing than I normally do – breathing to the tips of my fingers and toes, imagining oxygen rich cells reaching all of my cells, even those off the beaten path. The practice involves this very long deep inhale, followed by a natural exhale. Next, I had started chinese reflexology, massaging acupressure points on my feet and hands that correspond to aspects like my lymph system or organs like my liver. The understanding came to me that those practices (which were not in any way being judged or discouraged) had found tiny stopped processes. One might describe a stopped process as a situation we experienced at some point in our life in which some quality of Presence that was needed for that situation to feel complete was not available. The situation then gets stuck and held somewhere inside our body, until some point at which it gets connected, experiences the quality of Presence it needed and takes a life forward step toward our well-being. Ok, so I understood a bit around the timing of this discomfort and why I was experiencing it this week.
Next, I settled in to turn my awareness toward the felt sense that had formed around this. I felt myself in Presence creating a special welcoming space, reminding myself that everything could be the way it was, that which felt discomfort as well all that that wanted the discomfort to go away. The discomfort entered the space as ‘blobs’, various shapes, not very well defined, all in neutral shades like greys and beiges. There were a LOT of blobs, they continued to enter the space for several minutes. I continued to greet and welcome them all, while something in me was a bit incredulous at how many there were. I sensed more about their emotional qualities. I could tell they were unsure of themselves, they felt young, unexperienced, unconnected, liery of what was expected of them now, and pretty clueless about what they wanted for me. Once they were all there, I watched as a shoe store opened in the space. The blobs were trying on shoes, all different types of shoes, as ways to explore what they might add to my ‘walk’ in life. I understood that what I had experienced over the past week or so as discomfort, was actually the birthing of all sorts of new potentials for me and my life. I understood that I might find myself engaging in new activities or skills this year that I had not been interested in before as these blobs found a form of expression within me.
I ended my session feeling a sense of excitement around the potentials finding their way forward from within me. It made so much sense now!
Hello my dear Discomfort, I now recognize you as my Potential.
Several weeks have passed now. I occasionally notice my ‘Potentials’ shifting their feet or shyly peaking around a corner, still a bit uncomfortable. I pause and check what might be needed from me. Spaciousness seems to be the gist of it. In my Focusing session, this week, I did get something more concrete. I understood that more time outdoors this fall will provide some of the support for my ‘Potentials’ to continue their process forward. Nice, I can deal with that!
All in their ripe timing, I trust my Discomforts will grow to be strong Potentials.
And I trust the same for you.