Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Are You Uncomfortable?

    "Before I built a wall I'd ask to know 
     What I was walling in or walling out..." 
     —Robert Frost, Mending Wall

Remember Growing Pains?

They never stop!

You may not feel them in your shins and thigh bones anymore but you experience them just the same. The older we get, the more we experience growing pains as anxiety, discomfort, and sometimes, extreme discomfort.

I can't stand being uncomfortable. Can't stand it! Nonetheless, every episode of what feels like dramatic anxiety or discomfort is almost always followed by a creative breakthrough or some new ease of operation at a higher (or at least a different) level. Being uncomfortable is part of the growth process.

As long as I don't react to discomfort or go unconscious with any number of available distractions, some sort of growth is inevitable. Still, it is rarely easy to not react or reach for a distraction. It's comfortable to fall into old habits and patterns.

For an immediate example of discomfort (which it was not my intention to include when I started this article), I happen to live next door to the epitome of white trash. It's like having the Jerry Springer show at close quarters with broad, loud, middle Tennessee country accents.

We all get our jollies from different things. The next door neighbors happen to enjoy the entertainment of getting a rise out of me. They are admittedly difficult to ignore but I've made it a practice.

When we change, other people around us don't always take kindly to the change.

Noticing that I haven't reacted for a long, long while and, apparently, having spare time on their hands, the neighborly drama has escalated. Knowing that loud noise bothers me, this past weekend, they parked a cheap radio in their driveway, pointed directly at my house, 5 feet away. Not getting a rise from that in two days, they've turned up the volume and propped the radio so that it's pointed directly at my studio.

If it weren't so annoying, it would be funny. Actually, it IS funny. So what if it makes it difficult for me to work? It won't go on forever. Eventually, they'll find another target. In the meanwhile, I do have earplugs.

I can't change them. Combatting the situation only makes matters worse. All I can do is deal with the discomfort and change myself. As a friendlier neighbor down the street advised, "Rise above. Rise above."

Be uncomfortable. Rise above. That's what spiritual growth is all about.
"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers." — M. Scott Peck
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