I know I'm slightly strange, but discomfort and I are pretty good friends. I am used to it being present in several aspects of my daily life, and welcome it's presence. I fear that as a society we shy away from it and the benefits it can bring, opting instead for comfort and ease at the earliest opportunity.
Firstly I experience the mild discomfort of hunger on a daily basis. Years ago Helen suggested intermittent fasting to me as I had put on loads of weight and seeking a solution. I was my usual scathing and sceptical self, claiming that I needed breakfast and could absolutely not do without it. Discontent at my flabby figure, however, prompted me to give it a go in the school holidays and I was amazed and delighted. I used to eat a large bowl of porridge each morning and be hungry again by 10 o'clock. Now I eat nothing and am hungry by 10 o'clock the same as before. I don't eat before 12, and often enjoy stretching my fast out longer. I love to exercise empty, I feel more awake before I eat. The gnarly feelings of hunger that I used to fear, rushing for the bread bin to alleviate them before I starved, I now welcome as a normal part of my day. If I need to eat breakfast because I know I'll need the energy, or won't get chance to eat until 5:30 (work days) I have to make a real effort to do so. Hunger pangs are good discomfort if you know that you can eat well later. Not so if you are in a situation where you don't have enough to eat, granted.
Secondly in cycling and walking. The discomfort of heavy legs, tired shoulders, aching back, sore feet, we all know them. But we accept that discomfort as part of the deal. Cycling has left me hobbling around like a very old lady on many occasions after a long ride and there are parts of my anatomy that threaten never to recover. They do. I would not give up the sport that gives me so much pleasure because it also dishes up some pain.
Thirdly, yoga. Helen, frequent user of the term uncomfortableness, tells us to accept it as our current situation, that it won't last for ever. She is correct. There are several poses in Yin, and quite frankly the whole of this morning's Ashtanga class, that I find very difficult. Dragons cause me immense discomfort, verging on suffering, and I need to harness all of my skills with breathing and focus to stay in pose until instructed to move. I don't like dragons (my hips really don't like them) but I'd feel cheated if I didn't explore my edges fully in a class and hold myself at the edge of my tolerance. The recovery afterwards is heavenly, and the sense of wellbeing that it brings priceless. I love Yin, it smoothes down my frayed edges.
Right, off to play guitar for a while, even though my fingertips are monstrously sore at the moment. Got to build up those calluses...