Wow, how time flies. It’s the uncomfortable time of the year again. Lunar new year. A time where Chinese families reunite, catch up with one another and feast on delicious food.
It is also a time where you have to smile at the nosy aunty displaying her gold assets, from head to toe, and play diplomatic tai-chi with the other obnoxious aunty interrogating you, on your marital status. Ah, uncomfortable times.
I am never a fan of new year. I am not considered the black sheep of the family, for no notorious reason. As a child, I found out about my adoption all by myself, and endeavored since then, to be a sulky and uncooperative child. The adults in my family was exasperated by me.
I ran away from home to be a model when I was a teenager, and spent many years disconnected from my family. As I grew older, I became more appreciative of the fact that I actually have a family, and made effort to reconnect. At some point in my rescue mission, I lost heart, I freaked out and I ran away again.
It was more comfortable running away.
Now that I am in my late thirties, staring at my parents’ wrinkles, which I never remembered seeing, I wished that I could have been more comfortable, being uncomfortable.
I was never good at it. I will never eat alone in a public place.
I feel … exposed.
I never like networking events. It brings out the awkward nerdy little girl in me, who preferred the company of books to humans.
I never like venturing beyond my table of friends in a club, because I will look alone and unsophiscated. I am truly not good at being uncomfortable.
During lunar new year, the practice in my family is to visit my maternal grandmother on the second day of new year. At some point in the afternoon, the third generation (which is mine) will declared that we are leaving and scurried off together. That was always my favorite part of the day!
I never even quite know what to say to my own grandmother and I have trouble even looking at my aunties in the eye. There is just too much turbulous emotional history going on, at least in my head.
This year, when it was time to flee, I surprised myself. I decided to stay, the only one from the third generation, still sitting on the sofa. I assured you that my every instinct to take flight was screeching. My whole body was reacting badly to my decision. I was uncomfortable. I stood my ground.
I sat there and felt all of my dismay and discomfort.
My body cringed and my heart shrunk from fear. I said to myself, “Hmm… very uncomfortable isn’t it? But it’s going to be ok love. It is safe to be here. I will just sit here and I don’t have to initiate anything that I don’t want to. But I won’t leave. Not until I am comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
A radical inner revolution was raging within me.
The part that wanted to flee, was outraged by my betrayal and snarled angrily at the part that was proud of me, that I stayed. I felt all the rage and the tension between my inner divisions. I just sat there.
No doubt it took a while, then my body slowly melted into the sofa, truly back in the moment. I looked around. Nothing dramatic was going on.
The television was on, I heard the noises from mahjong table, my aunties were trying to figure out how to use watsapp and my mother was sitting on the floor, contentedly patting my dog. It wasn’t so bad now is it?
Amazingly enough, I was actually starting to enjoy it.
No way I hear you say.
But I did. Neither did I flinched, which I sometimes do, when my mother came to sit beside me.
I spoke to her and helped her to update her phone. I taught her about wifi and data plan, inconsequential and mundane conversation that actually brought me joy in that moment.
And I sensed her unspoken happiness, that I was still here, and helping her sort out the trivial that can bring some ease in her daily life. Who would have thought that being uncomfortable, could bring me such
peace, joy and connection.
I sat there for two hours, until I became satisfied, that I have won my inner revolution. Enough victory for a day. I left. This year, I walked out knowing that mother did not feel I was fleeing again. Because I was not.
I walked out as my heroine.
No one likes feeling uncomfortable. Because it feels threatening. Because it is biological. Never mind that there are logical and biological reasoning to back up why we should avoid feeling uncomfortable.
I dare you to go out there,
and be uncomfortable,
as often as you can.
Unless you stretch and pull and test the reality of your self-imposed limitations, you will always think that that is all there is to you, about you, of you. That’s a soul-threatening lie.
The more you are uncomfortable,
the more your comfortable space expands.
The more your comfortable space expands, the bigger are your dreams, your desires and your inner sense of who you truly are and the magic you are capable of conjuring.
You are a true magician and
magicians always push their boundaries,
doing what seems unthinkable.
Get uncomfortable and may your magic begin.
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With all my Shakti love.
Here’s to your soul elevation!
Thanks for reading.
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