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The Joy of Being Comfortably Uncomfortable

Blessed greetings! Ba wo ni? (How are things?) I pray, as always, that you are well and bright as you read this. I’m fully enjoying the energy of this summer season and looking forward to celebrating my birthday in Vegas next month. Hey!

You know, for some of its ills, I love being in the university environment. It is truly exhilarating to be around so many bright, interesting and diverse people – which is also why I love being with all of you here at Ase Ire *smile* One of the things about learning – whether in elementary, middle or high school, undergrad or grad school, or your own personal school of self improvement– is that you are often challenged to step outside of your comfort zone. To learn is to think about things in a way you have never thought about them before and, of course, to take in a whole lot of information you never knew before. It seems like the amount of information grows exponentially the higher we move which is exciting but can be daunting all at the same time.

During my training as a peace and nonviolence coordinator with Creating a Culture of Peace , I was reminded that it’s alright to be a little uncomfortable. In fact, it’s good to be a little uneasy when we are taking in new information because that’s where the most learning and growth takes place. If we are too comfortable, there’s no challenge and we continue to see things exactly as we did, which means we really didn’t learn anything. On the other hand, if there is too much discomfort, we have a tendency to put up our defenses and shut down in which case, we also don’t gain from the experience.

The key to learning and growing, then, is to be comfortably uncomfortable. To feel challenged, but not attacked. To learn new things, but not at such a blinding pace that we are unable to absorb them. To be able to amend erroneous ways of thinking without changing the core of who we are. This is why I tend to present information to my students slowly and challenge them to go beyond where they feel they can–like those of you who had never spoken a word of Yoruba before and are learning the Mo Juba prayer with my ebook. I’m sure it probably felt daunting when you first opened it and saw ALL those unfamiliar words and sounds–and that’s ok! The key is not to let the discomfort stop you from trying. To let it challenge and motivate you instead of making you shut down.

My prayer today is that we will regularly find ourselves in state of comfortable discomfort and that we will each learn and grow immensely while we are there. And, as I mentioned in my latest newsletter (sign up here if you don’t get it!) and in following with our message for the month, I pray that we have an abundance of JOY throughout the process. Let us each blossom beautifully! Ase!

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