A large scrap of packaging tissue paper had become wedged into some thorny bushes at the western edge of my property just within arm’s reach past an old wooden barrier. It had been forced into the shrubbery by gusty northeasterly winds that afternoon. I wanted to remove the paper because it was unsightly.
Instead of going into the house to fetch my trash grabber device, I immediately walked to the barrier, stooped down, and snatched the offending trash with my right hand. Then, backing away from the barrier and standing up, I strained a shoulder muscle. It was not a serious pain–only one to make me momentarily wince. I scolded myself for not using the grabber to remove the paper. Minutes later, inside the house, the easy chair beckoned, and I followed suit.
Settling into the chair with a steaming cup of coffee felt soothing. Lounge music was playing through the stereo speakers, which enhanced the comfort zone of the living room. The shoulder pain had vanished without needing to take an analgesic so I easily reached a state of sublime comfort.
I’m getting to the age when it’s more important to strategize before attempting awkward physical tasks. Fortunately, I was not injured this time–the sharp muscle pain was simply a reminder to be more mindful in the future. It’s common for folks my age to feel more aches and pains following from minor, trivial activity.
I understand the logical advice to remove ourselves from our comfort zones, but there are times when it’s smart to enjoy the comfort for awhile, too. While physically present in one’s favorite place, comfort is conducive to bringing about a contemplative mind state. Sometimes, when I’m especially comfortable I spontaneously hum or sing a tune. At first, I’m not aware of this. Then I realize that I’m singing because I feel happy. That kind of comfort zone is a good thing.
Like most everyone else, my life is not always so comfortable. I don’t suffer from any particularly painful health ailments nor disabilities. The discomfort comes about through existential scenarios and sometimes feeling powerless to make a meaningful impression on this problem-filled world we live in. On the other hand, each of us can say and do things that leave a helpful impact in some small way. One small courageous step can be contagious and start the ball rolling towards a more hopeful state of mind.
Comfort is an odd state of being for we humans. We’re not like cats who can seemingly flick a mental switch and instantly become comfortable. We purchase supportive, soft furniture and bedding. We read and listen to soothing, inspirational affirmations in our search for comfort. Oddly enough, we eventually discover that the more we seek out uncomfortable truths, the more able we are to become comfortable with ourselves. This is how we become inwardly beautiful, confident, and comfortable in our own skin. In the end, it’s about feeling comfortable with just being oneself.
We live in a civilization in which people find peculiar, existential comfort in believing we are victims. This mass attitude is deceptive in at least a couple of ways. First, it allows us to shift the blame for our unhappy lives to some type of scapegoat like the government, or “offensive” acquaintances, and minorities. Second, this attitude is harmful to those people who are actually, truly marginalized and neglected. The popular feeling of victimhood seems like a good reason to not stand up for oneself. This is one reason why contemporary society is unhappy and uncomfortable with itself.
Instead of feeling threatened by unfamiliar concepts and people, it is smart to learn about such things and people every day. Through understanding, we begin to feel more at ease in the Universe. We also feel more comfortable in our mental space.
It’s not difficult to allow our innate curiosity about life to fuel our path of discovery. Knowledge and skills provide a more solid foundation for all around peace of mind and comfort.
Meantime, the cushiony, soft pillow and cozy warm blanket help to provide the needed physical comfort that helps us sleep and rest. This enables one to wake up early to get a head start on the folks who are still asleep. The prior night’s comfort brings the strength to be more effective in creating what we need to produce. We are more able to take on the uncomfortable when we allow ourselves a certain measure of comfort in return.
The “good” kind of comfort is OK. One can take steps towards self-improvement and learn to become more comfortable with who we are.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes 20th century newspaper advice columnist, Ann Landers. “Class can ‘walk with kings and keep its virtue and talk with crowds and keep the common touch.’ Everyone is comfortable with the person who has class because that person is comfortable with himself.”
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Interesting that Ann Landers borrowed from Kipling! That poem is a favorite in our family.
She and her sister were known to refer to literature at times in their columns.