Sitting with Discomfort

I'm reading a book by Pema Chodron, a Buddhist practitioner and author of many books including this book, "The Places that Scare You".  She says when we're stimulated and have a strong emotional reaction we should sit with the discomfort, dropping both the story lines and the story that we want to tell ourselves about it... which would typically fuel the emotional reaction.  That we practice doing our best to stay with the strong energy without acting out or repressing.

I write about this because I've seen this work in my own life...

The best example I have is when my daughter was little and one night I was putting her on the toilet and she would jump off... repeatedly... she apparently wanted to do it by herself.  Then she looked at me, crossed her arms and peed all over the floor.  In my head came this thought: "9/10 parents would say this is a good time to spank". Since I had made the commitment not to spank... I just sat there for a little while... I took a few deep breaths... and the moment passed.  The urge to spank her... to hit her little body passed... then I thought, what needs to happen now?

Clean up!  I grabbed a couple of towels and we cleaned up the pee, together.

And that is what happened... I sat there and interrupted the urge to retaliate by sitting with the uncomfortable emotion until it passed.  I think she was just as surprised as I was that I didn't do anything to make the situation worse... it was like a challenge, and I actually PASSED!

Try it next time...

My Best,


Published: Oct 25, 2010 by Jodi Harvey (Santa Cruz, CA)


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