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402 days. 402 (plus or minus… mostly minus) posts.

Month: July, 2013

Day 235: Beautiful and Heartbreaking

We live in an extremely complex country.

We are the same, in that we live here. But we are different in nearly every other way. We think differently and look different. We seek different opportunities and see success in different ways. We are protected under the same laws and enjoy the same freedoms, but we experience them differently.

And some of us are racist. Incredibly. Loudly. Publicly. In blog comments and on Twitter feeds. Sometimes we don’t care whether or not anonymity separates our words from our names. We know if we put our racism out there, someone, somewhere will agree.

But even more of us will disagree. Determinedly. Passionately. At our jobs and in our coffee shops. On our Facebook walls and in the laws we pass. We’ll have the conversations and remind ourselves that this is a complex country and we don’t all think the same way.

And isn’t that beautiful and heartbreaking.

P.S. A video:

Day 219: Discomfort over Comfort

I get this funny feeling that a lot of people’s lives are spent figuring out how to be comfortable. How to have a comfortable home, a comfortable job, live with a comfortable person, eat comfortable food, wear comfortable clothes, etc.

And I’m all about comfortable stuff—especially clothing—but I think it’s really important to be uncomfortable sometimes. Here’s why:

Discomfort opens up entire worlds that you’d never know about otherwise.

In yoga, for example, there are lots of weird, uncomfortable postures that appear to be designed specifically to make the practitioner feel like a total failure. But if you stick with those contorted shapes long enough, you start to understand the difference between pain (which is something that should be avoided like the plague that it is) and the uncomfortable sensations that come with growth. If you’re gritty and patient, interesting things start to happen. Muscles you were certain had deserted you kick back into action. Stiff joints become relaxed. Hard stuff becomes easier. Dark things become lighter. And once you’re comfortable again, you’re ready and eager to try something new.

Discomfort challenges you to define yourself. 

I don’t mean “definition” in the sense that you can say with conviction that you love dogs and hate mean people. On a much deeper level, discomfort forces you to turn inward and conduct an actual self-examination. Determining why discomfort rears it’s ugly-ish head in certain situations or with certain people helps you learn more about your insecurities and passions. And acting on that knowledge puts you on a path to actual happiness, not the comfortable, “these sweatpants feel awesome” kind of happiness.

Discomfort helps you grow. 

Humans are magically built to morph. Our neurological systems are constantly learning, reorganizing and building new pathways, and our bodies can alter themselves based on what we consume and what we expend. We can adapt to new stimuli and make snap decisions based on information that is never, ever static. We’re amazing, growing creatures up until the day we die.

But without challenges and pressures, our growth opportunities diminish. The beautiful nuances of life are left unexperienced and unexplored. A life of comfort is the life of an orchestra playing the same song over and over—never exploring all the other harmonies, melodies, dips and dives it’s designed to play.

A life of comfort literally sounds terrible.