The Bliss of Discomfort

  1. The Bliss of Discomfort
  2. Sensuality, Sexuality, Spirituality in Practice
  3. Finding Meaning in Relating
  4. The Power of Vocation
  5. The Self-Reflective Life — Self Reflection

The Bliss of Discomfort — I’d like to suggest that there are general areas in life that can be used as indicators for how our lives are progressing.


This article, like many, comes from a conversation I had with a friend. Some time ago, she read my book, This Endless Moment, and decided to embark on a self-responsibility project, doing this on her own. She’s been pretty successful. Darbella and I check with her regularly on her progress.

She talked about a conversation she’d recently had with her husband. He was injured at work, and is at home, and says he has too much time on his hands. Prior to the “conversation,” he’d spent the day obsessing about her sex life from before they met, 18 years ago. He went on and on, for 2 hours, about what she’d told him (a good idea, by the way – honesty rules!) about what she’d done, and with which, and to whom—which was pretty much everything.

My friend managed to stay curious and to encourage him to vent himself out. She noticed that she occasionally got defensive, and once swung into wanting to fight back, but managed, in the main, to stay one step back from his drama. Eventually, as he wound down, she asked what was really going on. He sighed and said that he wasn’t having sex often enough. She wondered why he hadn’t started there.

She then told us about the discomfort she was feeling regarding their communication, and how often one or the other starts in on the blaming and accusing and anger thing. She allowed that she’s doing better in this regard, but still has a way to go.

I agreed, and we talked about communication for a bit.

I then said, “So, you say you’re tired all the time, and aren’t enjoying sex much anymore, and I’m wondering if you’re interested in actually dealing with that.” She stopped, and then looked sad and rueful. “I am making excuses about that, aren’t I? I feel blocked and tight, and don’t know why.” As she said this, her hands moved from her heart to her lower belly, and formed fists.

Right at the tight spot – or so I inquired. She said, “Yeah, yeah, maybe I do know.”

So, what’s this got to do with the topic?

I’d like to suggest that there are general areas in life that can be used as indicators for how our lives are progressing. Much like working with chakras, our issues get worked out sequentially, while at the same time remaining distinct. It’s sort of like this—there is a subtle interplay between all aspects of our lives—how we live in the world. Each impacts on the other, and yet remains distinct.

Here are four general areas we’ll be discussing over the next few weeks:

1) sexuality and sensuality

2) vocation

3) relationships

4) self-responsibility through simple presence

What I want to suggest to you is that each of these areas provide opportunities for finding your centre. Notice that the direction is inward. Now, typically, people look outside of themselves for what they feel internally regarding issues in these areas. We feel what might be called discomfort (a feeling of “I am not comfortable” – typically felt as anxiety) somewhere in our bodies. Back when I wrote the chakra series of Into the Centre articles, I did the “location thing.” You can look here for that, but it’s not as important to our present discussion as it is that you locate your discomfort within you, as you look to your own patterns for the reasons behind the discomfort.

Again, the norm is to look outside.

Sex: We blame our partners (or lack of partners) for sexual distress or boredom. We blame “abuses in the past” for keeping us from healing in the present. We blame aging for lack of interest or performance issues.

Vocation: we blame “the company” for “the vibe.” We blame our boredom on the work we are given, and our anger on how our boss looks at us.

Relationships: Need I say more? It’s so convenient to blame our nearest and dearest – they are just not ‘doing it right,’ not cooperating, not making it easy for me. Don’t they know when we got together, they signed on to make me happy by changing anything about themselves I don’t like? And how dare they then expect the same from me?

Self: How can I get anywhere when none of the other areas in my life are OK? I can’t be peaceful until the other ducks are in a line, and all of those ducks are controlled completely by others. And besides, my father was a jerk, my mother was disengaged, my siblings used to torture me, and I’m tired and have no time for all of this navel gazing anyway. The best I can do is to add some “me” time to my “To Do” list.

Discomfort is a sign that I need to stop externalizing, and focus on my path. I want to look at these four areas, and find a way to bring each area into a state of neutral or better. The anxious feelings are there only if I’m “below neutral.”

Why neutral or better? Well, what are you doing continuing a situation you hate? As soon as you no longer are blaming others for your distress, you see, in full, that your choice of how you engage with your life determines your internal comfort level.

So, what does neutral look like? Neutral is a complete and deep acceptance of the situation as it is. In other words, I choose to be content with the situation I find myself in. Once I determine that I am where I am and am comfortable there, the anxiety goes away.


Moving beyond neutral requires that I change either my approach to the circumstance, or exit the situation, without complaint. Many of us get into a rut, or a relationship, based upon where we were in understanding decades ago. Internally, we’ve moved well beyond the situation or circumstance, but hang around anyway, even though the experience, approach, or relationship has, like old cheese, soiled and begun to smell.

Our direction is always toward more depth and meaning.

On the other hand, abandoning this walk is easy. If we choose to stay at neutral, we will feel better, but all progress in personal development slows to a snail’s pace.

Many people do a Come Alive, or Phase 1 at Haven, and then come home and apply what they have learned, expecting that things at home – relationships, work, etc. will shift and become more Haven‑y. They get quite upset when this does not happen. I wrote about this in my book, This Endless Moment. It doesn’t happen because the external situation back home wasn’t the problem, and the people back home didn’t go to Haven. They didn’t sign on to change.

Often, all a person can do is to leave the situation behind, no matter how harsh that sounds. The situation has served its purpose – after all, it was the discomfort that motivated the person to learn a new approach in the first place.

Sadly, most of the time, stepping away from an old situation is the only answer.

Then what?

You use the learning and the depth to do the thing another way. This will be our focus over the next few articles.

Make Contact!

So, how does this week’s article sit with you? What questions do you have? Leave a comment or question!

About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web\‘s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press

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