Disrupting Discomfort

Text for grand reunion (May 2021)
“Give yourself permission to be uncomfortable and to make others uncomfortable in your truth” — Rev. angel Kyoto williams

Being in discomfort is inherently…uncomfortable. Urges rapidly emerge to quell said discomfort. What about longer lasting discomforts, or discomforts which we don’t have the ability simply to dispel? Or discomforts resulting from a change in or reduction of habituated comforts and freedoms, such as during this pandemic. Or the discomfort that comes with confronting long-standing social injustices? (Change is not always comfortable, even when one is aware that the outcome could be beneficial personally, or even globally.)

What if instead of trying to get rid, we actively choose to practice staying with discomfort? Or, as Donna Haraway would say, staying with the trouble.

During the process of May’s Grand re Union edition, we began having conversations around this topic. We wondered together what would happen if we invited curiosity and encouraged a focus on the wonder of what may emerge. We considered how we might disrupt our learned patterns, so geared towards production and solutions. We realised we could discard imposter syndrome and projected expectations and instead embrace the (yet) unknown.

For those who have experienced trauma (arguably everyone to varying degrees under white-supremacist, patriarchal-capitalism) it can be particularly difficult to discern the difference between discomfort and danger. Although there can be safety without comfort, it’s hard to conceive of comfort without a level of safety. We collectively imagined our climate for conversation, a frame of invitations that facilitates our feeling safe enough to engage in disrupting our patterns of comfort, and practice moving at the speed of trust (adrienne maree brown.)

We choose to trust that the party is made by the guests and that we are enough as we are. We shall turn up for each other, for a conversation on disrupting discomfort, hopefully… with you.

“Discomfort is where liberation really emerges from, just like the Buddhist symbol of the lotus that emerges from the mud.” — Lama Rod Owens

Creating Our Climate

For our conversation together, we invite everyone to enter with curiosity, and to position ourselves alongside each other, neither above or below.

We will coat-check any desire to jump in with agreeing or disagreeing, and abandon all binary positions in favour of embracing complexity.

We listen to understand, not simply waiting for our turn to speak. Silences may be uncomfortable at first, and they too are welcome.

We invite you to relinquish the urge to impress, or validate or justify your contributions, and to trust that your being here is enough in itself.

We embrace not knowing yet, and accept clumsiness as a part of expressing the not-yet-known.

We will leave at the door, that which does not serve us, including buts, or the reflex to become the rescuer, saviour, teacher, preacher, doctor or therapist.

We invite folks to add to, or expand on, what is being said, rather than negating. And as adrienne marie brown says, we will move at the speed of trust.

For our conversation together we invite folks to leave behind interpretations, labels, judgements and diagnoses, and to notice when these tendencies arise.

We invite everyone to be present with each other and ourselves, and to acknowledge what moves in us, tickles, or disturbs us.

May Team
Disrupting Discomfort