Riding the Waves of Discomfort- Article to be featured in the Spring Edition of Maui Vision Magazine March/April/May 2018
Life inherently is filled with both pleasant and unpleasant events. Duality is a part of the human experience, yet oftentimes people react to unpleasant events in harmful ways. We all hold beliefs and opinions on how life is “supposed” to unfold, how others “should” behave, and how we “ought to” feel. Whether you experience a divorce, chronic illness, accident, or anything that elicits uncomfortable emotions, the common human response is usually one or more of the following: blaming someone for “creating” the distress thereby redirecting the inner turmoil into outward anger, avoiding the distress by zoning out into electronics, alcohol, or some other escape, or disengaging from people, activities, or situations where there are possibilities of feeling distress.
"If you want to learn how to surf the waves of discomfort then simply learn how to practice mindfulness meditation."
Major problems can arise when we resist reality, but there is a neutral way to handle life’s difficulties without struggling against the current. The profound choice you can make is to open up and make space for distress. To cultivate a radical acceptance of life events is a bold decision. You don’t have to like it or passively accept it like a doormat. The proposition involves a choice in which you allow the facts of the moment to be exactly the way they are. The waves of life will become difficult sometimes, but as they crash down you can permit and accept the waves, knowing all the while that this too shall pass. The tides will inevitably change just as feelings will rise and fall. The ability to thoroughly accept distress is a skill that is attainable by everyone. Only when a situation, person, or emotion is accepted fully can change begin to occur. If you want to learn how to surf the waves of discomfort then simply learn how to practice mindfulness meditation. And when better a time to start then now.
Tanya Gabriel, MA, LMHC provides affordable counseling and mindfulness instruction. She is passionate about teaching present moment awareness to her community.