I decided to go alone.
This was a first for me as I typically went to festivals with a large group of close friends. But this time I was living 1,000 miles away from them.
“I’m going to be volunteering at a ‘conscious festival’ this weekend, you should come!” Said a new friend of mine named Shoshanna that I met on Bumble in Denver Colorado.
I promptly googled the name of the festival and realized it was far different than anything I had ever been to. Meditation, yoga classes, ayurvedic workshops, ecstatic dancing, and a wide variety of live music including Slightly S
Part of my internal mission when moving to Colorado a little over a year ago was to live outside of my comfort zone, meet different people, and grow into my authentic self; whoever that may be.
So I saw this as a challenge and quickly accepted it. I knew only one person going, but I didn’t even know how much I would actually see her.
Upon arrival, I quickly felt out of place. I felt as if everyone knew what was going on except me.
I wandered around this large plot of land situated perfectly between two beautiful ridges. We were in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies, overlooking a vibrant blue reservoir, and the temperature was a breezy eighty-something.
I decided to strike up a conversation with another wandering soul who seemed lost. We quickly became friends and began making more friends as if it was some kind of snowball effect.
We participated in yoga classes, meditation, reflection workshops, and met a wide variety of amazing people. This was all new and uncomfortable for me, but I did my very best to embrace every part of it.
Then, we attended a yoga/meditation/breathing class that once again challenged my ego. It envolved movements, breathing, and sounds that are traditionally thought of as embarrassing, aggressive or just flat out weird.
I tried to sink deeper into my authentic self, but I felt extremely uncomfortable. Next thing I know, the instructor is telling us to find a stranger and partner up.
I panic since that means social interaction in an already awkward environment. 20 seconds later, everyone has a partner but me and another man about 30 feet away from me. We make eye contact and smile at each other. We begin moving towards one another and briefly introduce ourselves.
She instructs us to lay flat on out back with our feet on opposite ends of each other so our faces are upside-down about 10 inches apart. Talk about an uncomfortable position that I’ve never found myself in, especially with another man!
As if things couldn’t get any more uncomfortable, she tells us to stare at each other in the eyes for 60 seconds, which might as well have been an eternity.
We begin and my mind and body flood with thoughts and emotions.
“I don’t think I can do this.”
“How do I get out of this?”
“Should I smile or be serious.”
“Which eye do I look at.”
“Should I pretend to have something in my eye and look away?”
“How much longer do I have?”
The first 30 seconds truly felt like a minute or two. Then something happened.
I took a deep breath and relaxed my face. I began to only see his face and nothing else around it. I realized how beautiful his eyes and facial structure were and had this new appreciation for the human body. I even began to feel as if I was hallucinating a bit and seeing past his eyes and into his soul.
Trust me, I know how crazy that may sound to some.
Both of our eyes began to water as we approached the final seconds. I did it. “Wow… that was amazing.”
I felt as if I had lowered my ego and moved past another limiting belief. This practice taught me that life and the humans around us are beautiful.
It taught me that we move through different levels of life both internally and externally by facing uncomfortable situations head on. It taught me that human connection, even to a stranger, is far more powerful than we could ever imagine.
We must break down the walls that our society has taught us to put up. The more we do this and the more we ‘unlearn,’ the quicker we become our true, authentic, beautiful, powerful selves.
The Deep Lunge
This is a small example of how I have changed my relationship with discomfort, but there are infinite ways you can do this.
One of the best examples was shared with me by a girl named Shoshanna, the same girl from above, who is also an amazing yoga instructor.
Throughout many yoga practices, we often find ourselves in uncomfortable or challenging positions. Maybe we are in a deep lunge long enough to make our quads burn and our ankles quiver. We have a few options at this point.
We can . . .
One. Tighten our face muscles, hold our breath, put ourselves in a less uncomfortable but potentially vulnerable position and think about when it’s going to end.
Two. Hold our pose, relax our face, breathe deeply, and think about how we are lucky to feel this sense of growth within this challenging pose.
It’s your body saying, “wow this is something I haven’t really done, I’ll be sure to grow from this so that next time you do this pose, you’ll be better at it.” #growth
Expand Your Career Through Discomfort
This way of thinking can be used in any area of life. For example, you can see your job as an uncomfortable and less than ideal part life, or you can see it as a blessing and work towards growing from it every day so you are prepared for the next opportunity life will inevitably give you.
As an entrepreneur, you can choose to see failure as wasted time, money, and energy; or, you can see it as a necessary lesson that will catapult you forward in a way you don’t yet understand.
I challenge you to work towards changing your relationship with discomfort. The next time you feel any form of mental or physical discomfort, choose consciously to grow from it. Embrace lifes lessons and evolve into your authentic self every day.
Discomfort is not your enemy. In fact, it can be a lifelong friend. Simply changing your relationship with it can catapult you into growth, success, and happiness. Perspective is power. Learn to see the positive in any situation and you will win.