Some Like it Hot

Someone close to me went to an earth shift sweat lodge this week. It sounds uncomfortable doesn’t it? Apparently it is. This isn’t a luxury, sanitized sauna at a four-seasons resort. This is the real deal. You and twenty other people cram shoulder to shoulder into a tent, low to the ground, where you sit on the soil amongst hot burning rocks for two hours.

In the dark.

Dripping ceaselessly.

Confronted by reluctance. Fear. Resistance. Anxiety. And eventually surrender.

And when you surrender – that’s when the good stuff apparently starts happening. That’s when you feel reflective. Resilient. Courageous. Cleansed.

Anyway – that’s what I’ve been told. Which is a very different experience to trying it out myself.

Think about how often  we are ‘moved’ by another person’s story? Moved to tears. Moved to smile. Moved to consider.

Being moved is a valaubale resposnse but also a sedenatry one. Feeling something deeply doesn’t always lead to allowing that feeling to propel you.

Now think about how often you ‘move’ after being impacted by something you’ve heard or read? Move to to contribute. Move to change something in your world. Move towards participation.

You might well be intrigued by someone else’s life experience but if that intrigue doesn’t lead to inspiration, and that inspiartion doesn’t lead to action, then all it remains to be is – someone else’s experience.

Am I proposing that we all squeeze into a hot tent? No. But I am suuggesting that we become more open to being affected by other people’s lives. I am suggesting that we pay closer attention to what ‘moves’ us and then make a move in return.

I personally was fascinated by the idea of the sweat lodge. It left me pondering how much time and money and energy we expend in the developed world keeping ourselves ‘comfortable’ when there is much to gain from being confronted by discomfort. Whether that discomfort be awkwardness, anxiety, fear, trepidation.

It’s essential every once in awhile to drag ourselves out of our element and exist in a place that feels too hot or too scary or too new.

Staying safely cocooned leads to apathy. Not only apathy towards events in the world around us, but apathy towards ourselves. A numb sense of disconnection. Distance from the potential to truly and profoundly grow.

The ‘movement’ I’m imagining can be any size and take any shape.

  • Tackling a conversation you’ve been avoiding.
  • Taking steps towards launching a new project.
  • Signing up for a class or a workshop.
  • Trying something you don’t think you can do.
  • Volunteering at an organization that you believe in.
  • Beginning a diet or an exercise program.

It doesn’t really matter what it is.

Just as long as it makes you sweat.

Write about discomfort. What is it you need to do at this point in your life that will bring sweat and growth?  Remember it doesn’t have to be huge. Baby steps count too. Perhaps posting something here on Write To Be You can be your first attempt at sweating. Does writing make you uncomfortable? Post anonymously. Try it…

OR

Write for ten minutes about something you DON’T want to write about. Face the discomfort. Burn it or tear it up afterwards if you feel the need to.

 

7 Responses to “Some Like it Hot”

  1. Erin
    August 21, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    This is a perfect metaphor for me because I hate the actual physical kind of sweat quite a bit. My father used to make fun of me whenever I broke a sweat because it happened so rarely 🙂

    Which is true of the metaphorical sort of sweat as well. Lots of complicated things (like perfectionism and fear of looking silly or failing spectacularly) keep me from pushing myself very far. It’s something I’m trying to change, though. It’s just so darn hard!

    • Rory Green
      August 24, 2012 at 8:10 am #

      It is hard, Erin, I know! Embracing silliness is liberating – let’s start a ‘silly movement’!! You know, you should take a clowning class or something similar – it would be a wonderful experience for you. Very freeing!

  2. sophie james
    August 22, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    This is great, Rory – it challenges us to go from head nodding and making encouraging noises to actual action. Sometimes it can feel as if we have done something by the sheer act of thinking about it. But doing it means you get the glorious and lovely feeling of having done it, the event lives on in you, and you get to bask in the glow of your accomplishments – however ‘minor’ they may be.

    • Rory Green
      August 24, 2012 at 8:11 am #

      Sometimes it can feel as if we have done something by the sheer act of thinking about it

      I like that line, Sophie…

  3. Jen
    August 23, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

    When I look at my own life and those of my friends and family, I see that sitting still is often the great discomfort. We are all so highly and overly scheduled these days. There are to-dos on top of to-dos…nary a moment to think, to feel, to be. For some reason, sitting still is so undervalued. Is it because it’s boring not to do, not to achieve or are we afraid to discover what lives in the stillness?

    I see friends and clients cram so much into their days. Activity after activity, rushing from one thing to another, always “running” late. Running and running but running from what?

    As I grow and age, I see that we are running from ourselves, from the thoughts that make us uncomfortable, from what’s hidden in the dark, silent spaces. I run too. BUT, I make a conscious effort to come back to the silence, to sitting, to stillness.

    It’s easy to get caught up in the chatter of the internet, Facebook, Twitter, a webinar or another YouTube video. Television options are limitless these days. Obligations to our phones, computers, jobs, family and friends abound. More than ever, it is crucial to sit still, breathe, connect to what is real. There are plenty of ways to mask the pain, to shield oneself from the discomfort.The challenge is to stop, to sit and to just be…and that is the true discomfort.

    • Rory Green
      August 24, 2012 at 8:14 am #

      ” Is it because it’s boring not to do, not to achieve or are we afraid to discover what lives in the stillness?”

      This is a VERY important question, Jen. And especially important for parents raising children in the digital era. We need to find ways to offer them stillness…

  4. Frahnseen
    September 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

    Geez. Do I end things to avoid having the conversation I can’t seem to enter into? Is this what I’m doing in my life right now? Thinking about ending because going forward is too difficult, too scary, too hot? Is it easier for me to accept failure or limitations in relationships rather than do the really heated work that is necessary to break the glass surrounding us? Or is it just the natural end to it? Cancer, getting sober, cancer again, redefining self and relationship. Can the endings be natural events that allow us to move on to different phases and higher learning in our lives or is this just my excuse, my out? Is it possible for me to be honest about this with myself or will I be trying to justify my need to run. Fight or flight? Flight for sure. This is my modis operandi. But is this always bad?

    How do I determine my truth? My authentic path? I’m still searching for the answer to that question. For me it’s visceral. A feeling inside that pulls me, draws me and seduces me slowly and surely into the unknown. My truth is usually not a painting but a haze or beacon through the haze. For me it’s never a known entity. A sign of my truth is my pace. If I’m running, it’s usually running away rather than to. If I’m walking, observing, almost hesitant, then I’m more apt to be searching for the obscured path. The sign of my truth is being drawn, sucked in slowly without knowing what lies ahead. If I feel pushed, I’m not falling into the flow of my life; it’s being forced or invented. The sign of my truth is my level of anxiety. Increasing anxiety is my insecurity questioning my motives and actions. Calm lets me know I’m finding peace at least for the moment.

    Are conversations about endings even worth the discussion? What is a proper ending? Is it necessary to talk it through the reason and failures of the ending or is it enough to say our goodbyes and heartfelt thanks for walking the same path together for many years sharing, holding, and helping each other survive life for this time, these seasons of growth that change us into new beings. Is it enough to give thanks and move on or is there something owed, some explanation required? Endings are hard; always will be. Do they have to be heart wrenching and tearful?. Endings are part of my hula hoop existence on this earth as well as the beginnings and heart breaks and joys and laughter and tears. Another chapter to unfold and each builds upon the one before and the one before that. Life is a process of building upon experiences. Even losses become memories that forever change who we are. Letting go and not tackling the difficult conversations may be the kindest way at times. Words spoken cannot be removed from haunting memory. The unspoken words between us maybe the only real truth. A truth for each of us to discover in our own hearts.

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