Feeling comfortable, is commonly associated with feeling good and at ease. Specifically in movement when we are saying we are comfortable in a pose or moving through a sequence, we usually mean that we are. not feeling pain or that we’ve generally got it.
Or like last week when looking at balancing the forces running through our body, when we achieve that we can say we are comfortable. Can we though say the same for the journey to achieve balance? Pushing through frustration when things are not working out in our practice. Or even pushing through pain… Would we say that we are comfortable with what practicing entails overall?
I would think not… but we might need to start thinking about comfort in those terms.
Be Comfortable with being human
One of my dear teachers Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen the other day put up a quick post on how feeling comfortable may be misunderstood.
I will only share an excerpt of her post here with you:
“(…) comfort doesn’t mean not having pain. It’s that we are here in our body. And maybe we are totally miserable but we are here.”
You can read the whole post here if you would like. It is short and truly sweet!
Don’t be mistaken I am not suggesting that you simply accept misery and defeat. Quite the contrary, be comfortable with being angry, frustrated, stressed, upset etc…. (you fill in that gap). Once you are comfortable with that feeling you can more clearly decide how you are going to deal with it.
Let’s take a Tango example, though you can apply this to life off the dancefloor as well of course.
Say you are coming back to social dancing after Covid, you are thirsty for Tango, you have just missed so much!
You get to the milonga, and you don’t get to dance much… suddenly the bad memories are crippling in.
Rejection, loneliness, feeling left out… etc.
That moment what do you do?
Do you pep-talk yourself out of it, forcing yourself to feel ok about the situation?
Or do you try to push past it, not to let disappointment kill the night?
Maybe the third choice, the what-did-I-expect-nothing-has-changed type of reaction.
The above reactions do not really allow us to sit with the feeling that is bubbling up. And they are really distractions or leave-for-later options.
So what I am suggesting is that if you are feeling disappointed, rejected, alone etc. feel comfortable with that feeling. Feel comfortable with being upset! It is absolutely ok!
Once comfortable with the feeling itself, you may then see more possible reactions to it that may resolve the issue.
The solution may not be obvious and most likely won’t just pop-up. You might need to step away from the dancefloor, go the bar, just sit and watch or even call it a night. But you would have taken the first step by saying:
“I am upset about this and I am totally comfortable with that. Now let’s resolve this!”
A little challenge to put things to the test
Another way to test your levels of comfort is of course practicing, and especially practicing alone.
Working on the little things, on the subtle things that may though bring huge change to how you move and dance.
Are you comfortable when things are not really working?
Or when you are not getting it?
Are you comfortable with putting in the time but not seeing immediate results?
I invite you to test it out for yourself with this practice on posture!
And if frustration starts building up, which of course it is not my intention, but if it does…allow yourselves to sit with that feeling comfortably!
So you know, this is kind of putting two birds in one nest. Practice for the body and the mind/ spirit!
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