How to Deal with Discomfort

Feeling too uncomfortable to practice?

That’s normal!

You don’t have to practice if you don’t want to!

And when you feel ready, take a few minutes and simply notice what comes up. Be present to whatever happens.

You may notice yourself…
not wanting to think or feel whatever you’re thinking or feeling. Keep noticing that. Stay with it. Stay present. Remember that whatever you are thinking or feeling will change eventually. EVERYTHING does. And if you stay present with it, and don’t try to change or fix it, it will naturally change (on it’s own) even faster.

You may notice yourself…
diving into the stories around why you are thinking and feeling those things. You may notice yourself adding fuel and building up the pain! Keep noticing that. Stay present, simply observing yourself doing that. It will change on it’s own eventually, especially if you stay present and just notice versus try to change or fix it. And if you do start changing or fixing it, simply notice THAT!

It is the noticing that is the key. The more you can simply notice, the more you allow whatever is here to be here. If you try to change or fix, inevitably you repress it and that locks it into place. Things that we’re repressing, we are holding and thus we can’t let go of them. If you can wait it out, simply observing, you will reach a point where you don’t need to repress any of it and your innate wisdom will surface with the answer for how to solve what ever is happening. It will not feel like repression or denial. You won’t feel that you need to make it stop. Instead, you will see the wisdom of what is happening, the undercurrents and the reasons and often the situation will reveal itself as useful and helpful… it will usually naturally end at that point.

Eventually, you may cultivate the willingness to notice whatever you are thinking and feeling… Not because you like it or want to be thinking or feeling whatever you are thinking and feeling… Simply because it is here. You will stay present because you will know the wisdom of this process.

Play with it and see if this works for you.

The Usefulness & Release of Denial

Denial is a natural, healthy part of human life. When a situation is overwhelming, our brain represses part of the experience for processing later. We do this so we can be functional at the moment.

This is how we can walk away from the burning car on a broken leg. Shock numbs us and we can perform in the moment, save ourselves & others… And not feel the agony of our broken leg until afterwards.

Mental and emotional pain are similar. We repress part of the information in the moment for processing later… when we’re safe.

When you are in a safe place, you can sit and be present with your pains.

Several things will happen. First, as you allow them to surface, the energy you were using to to hold them in place will be released. Your body and mind will relax the tension needed to hold them in.

Second, you will begin to experience them. They may seem HUGE as you let them come up. Or they may go numb. Or or or. Many things can happen. Stay present and notice what is happening. Be curious. Let the process take its own time and trust the wisdom of your system, of your Being. Stay present, aware, mindful.

Third, they will begin to release on their own. As you stop holding them in, they are free to go. The processing will take its own time, and they will dissipate naturally.

If you feel overwhelmed, get help. This may be too big for you to handle on your own in a healthy way. Lot’s of people can help.

Fourth, as it all completes, you will feel lighter. You will have freed yourself of needing to hold onto pain. Yay! Enjoy!

Acceptance: How can you accept things you don’t like?

Acceptance“I think that if you do spiritual practice correctly, it reflects and undoes your habits of closure so that when you stop doing those habits you are left in your natural state, which is wide open, loving, radiant, happy, sane.“ -David Deida

At some point I stumbled onto the realization that neither running away from my problems (suppression, denial, distraction, etc, etc) nor the opposite extreme of wallowing in the drama of them was terribly useful for making them any better.

What did and does help is first noticing that something is happening and then being in that objective part of me that can notice how I am in it – while I am also fully feeling it. The exact results of this are variable, from the thought/feeling passing quickly to a lengthy succession of difficult experiences happening one after the other… pain, crying, etc.

And it is not that these things go away and never come back. Indeed they are always available. The one thing that is consistent, though is that they get easier and easier to be with. I get more comfortable with them to the point that when they come I do not immediately react with running or wallowing, but have a choice about how to be in them… “Wow, I’m really frightened. My belly is a rock and my throat hurts. I can see an entire drama arising in my mind about this. I think that I will watch that drama like a movie playing in my mind and not act on it. I can see that it is not true, just what my mind is creating to make sense of this fear that I am feeling.”

This kind of liberation is an immense blessing. Not being ruled by fear, jealousy, greed, anger, pain, etc. is wonderful. And of course, sometimes I am able to notice and accept and sometimes I run or wallow long before I ever realize that something worth noticing is even happening.

In the mean time, I am reassured by the Buddhist idea of The Middle Way, which contrary to its name is not, as I understand it, about staying in the middle, but about balance, about allowing everything as it arrises. The Middle Way says that we should accept all parts of life, all ends of the spectrums; that sometimes you will need one extreme or another and sometimes you will need the paces in between. The Middle Way, or Middle Path does not embrace just one way, it embraces all ways, it stays at the centered in acceptance and accepts everything.

Acceptance is a big deal. It is difficult for me to do. It is hard to accept things that I don’t like or want and yet it is one of the best practices I have found for helping me deal with those things. Acceptance doesn’t mean I have to like those things, it just means that I acknowledge them (versus trying and ignore them) and then let my mind move on to something else (instead of focusing on them and creating drama). Acceptance means that when thoughts and emotions float through, I say hello and let them go.

One thing that you can try is something that I’m using a lot lately to get me through a really tough spot in my own growth. I’m struggling a lot with overwhelming thoughts and emotions about my own self worth and I remembered a Buddhist practice I learned a long time ago in Thailand.

In this practice, when you notice a thought or emotion you say what it is, you name it, and then let it go by actively looking for the next one. In this way you are first acknowledging and then letting go. This is a beautiful way to practice acceptance.

This time, I’ve been thanking what arises as well. A thought will arise and I realize, “Ah, you’re trying to protect me. Thank you for trying to protect me.” This little addition of gratitude makes a big difference. It helps me acknowledge the thought or emotion for the good that it is trying to do, which goes a long way towards accepting it and letting it go versus resisting it or wanting to dwell on it, figure it out or turn it into a drama.

Elena Maria Foucher writes about personal growth on and teaches Meditation Made Easy, simple tools for relaxation, over Skype. Contact her at

(This article first appeared in the online magazine

3 Steps to Empowerment, Step 3: Empowerment

Once we can see and accept ourselves, we begin to have choices about where to put our energy. Do we keep doing what we’re doing, or do we focus our energy on something else?
The empowerment to make this choice comes from the clarity of awareness: knowing what we’re doing, and the openness of acceptance: allowing whatever we’re thinking, feeling, doing to be here.  Because we’re open to our thoughts, feelings and actions (and not denying, resisting, and contracting around them) they can shift and change and thus we are in an empowered space… we have choices about where to focus our energy.
There are many ways to reach this stage of empowerment, of being in a space to make real choices about what we’re doing… to go from fine to fantastic…
I’d love to know what you’ve done in your life to get to this place of fully aware choices?

3 Steps to Empowerment, Step 2: Acceptance

As we become aware of ourselves, our daily thoughts, feelings and actions, then we can start to accept them… most will be easy to accept and some will take a bit of compassion. For some we will want to step out of denial and out of resistance and into compassion, non-judgement and acceptance.
Why might this be useful?
If we want to go from fine to fantastic then we want to accept all of ourselves… step out of denial and resistance of the parts that we feel we don’t like and into acceptance. Then we start to know the truth of how fantastic we already are!
Can you accept all of you?
Some days I’m better than others… I’d love to know what kinds of things you’ve done that helped you to accept parts that were “unacceptable”?

Speaking From the Heart: Accepting Emotions 7 Day Challenge

(video) Most of us are uncomfortable with some of our emotions… to the point that we try to deny or ignore them.

It can be challenging to try to feel all of them! Take this 7 day challenge and see for yourself!

Are you comfortable with ALL of your emotions?


Speaking From the Heart: Expressing All of You

(video)  Is it a good idea to express everything that you think and feel?

Should you actually tell someone that you think that their ideas is crazy?
And can you be vulnerable enough to admit to someone when you are afraid?
Is the alternative denial and misery?
What do you say?


Broken to Joy: How to Recognize Resistance & Make Friends With It

(video) Resistance can be tricky to recognize… if it is working properly it is designed to distract you from the pain underneath it. How can you recognize resistance and how can you deal with it once you do? This video shows you one way that I’ve found works well.

What’s your experience with resistance and making friends with it?


Broken to Joy: How to Let Go, Part 2

(video) Once we’re ready to quit the cycle of denial and reliving our pain, we can acknowledge it and let it go… Oh happy day!
Here’s one technique that I use with clients for acknowledging pain – without denying or reliving.

What’s your experience?


Broken to Joy: How to Let Go, Part 1

(video) We tend to do a mixture of two things when we’re faced with something that we don’t like: we deny it and we relive it in our heads over and over. Neither of these are terribly helpful for letting go of the pain.

What’s your experience with these things?