May 2019

Out of confort zone

The moment you are not afraid of the pain, you will be able to face all of life’s situation without fear. -Michael A. Singer

Last week, we had an assignment of talking to a stranger. it was so difficult for me to initiate a conversation with a stranger. I had to schedule an appointment with a staff in the career center to fulfill this assignment. However, honestly, I thought this was not talking to a stranger, and I really wanted to overcome this barrier. I went to a happy hour this week, which was the second time in my life because the first one in five years ago left me a terrible memory. When I was a master student at the University of Florida, I went to a department happy hour with my friend. I struggled to follow their conversations surrounded by loud background music, and even worse, the persons in front of me started to speak in Spanish with each other. I sat there for only one hour and could not bear the loneliness anymore and left. That terrible experience made me afraid to go to such events for a very long time.

Recently, I read the book The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, and it says, “real growth takes place when you finally decide to deal with the pain, relax and release instead of avoiding it.” With this in mind, I challenge myself to go to the happy hour ignoring strong resistance in mind all the way to the bar. The experience turned out to be fantastic! Although I was not familiar with any of the students there, I talked with the persons next to me happily and did enjoy the happy hour.

After five years, I realized that my English listening and speaking skills had been quite improved. The more significant change was that I intended to stop judging how well I speak and feeling upset when I cannot follow. This time I merely smiled or asked them questions if I didn’t understand and participated in the talking as much as I could. After that event. I felt happy because this was actually talking to a stranger.

According to Michael Singer, we tend to avoid challenges because they trigger a pain deep in the heart, such as the feeling of loneliness. The only way to be free of the pain is “to be present right at the place of the tightness and pain, and then relax and go even deeper.” I took a baby step on the journey to a profound transformation.

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