Discomfort continued: A blinking light

A blinking light can mean a lot of things.

Danger ahead.

We’re recording now.

An execution.

A birthday party.

Photo copyright Tim Birchard 2011.

At the end of the day, a blinking light is simply designed to get our attention. “Hey. Look over here. There’s something you should see.”

Discomfort is a lot like that blinking light. It’s simply a signal. All it tells us is to pay attention. On its own, it’s neutral. Judgment free. It’s just a blinking light.

Once we begin to pay attention carefully enough, we can gather added information.

“Ah. I’m in an abusive relationship. It’s time to leave.”

“My pace is a little too quick right now. I’d better back off a little.”

“I just said something that this person doesn’t like, and he is letting me know he doesn’t appreciate it.”

If I slam on the brakes every time I see a blinking light, I’m going to cause traffic accidents. Likewise, if I assume the victim role every time I experience discomfort, I’m going to miss important opportunities to receive honest feedback about how my actions are being received. I’m going to lose out on opportunities to learn. To grow. To become.

Photo copyright Tim Birchard 2011.

If I simply relax and let myself become fully present in the moment, others around me may experience discomfort. As long as I’m staying in integrity with myself (not causing physical, mental or emotional injury to others or myself), I’m on the right path.

Another person’s discomfort need not by the measure of my own emotional state. Put another way, if you’re crying, I can help the situation by remaining calm. If you feel offended, I can add value to the situation by breathing and staying relaxed.

A finger pointed in my direction does not make me guilty of anything. A pat on the back does not make me a hero.

What we say about anyone reveals more about ourselves than anything else.



1 Comment

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One response to “Discomfort continued: A blinking light

  1. Texas J

    You are really on to something there. I think people should be offended. It wakes people from their TV, bumper to bumper, hive, consciousness. Sometimes If you can stand above a mass of people you will notice a lot of bleating and deer in the headlight stares. Drop a tortured and spired bull with a rope tied around his testicles smack dab in the center and you will see quite a few of these people will become offended on many different levels. While this is an extreme example( and I don’t recommend doing it) , you will see the blinders coming off, others putting their blinders on, but for a brief shining brilliant moment, the wandering zombie rubber mask will have been removed as they scramble for a safe place to put it back on. Are you offended? You should be. You cool aid drinking, fake smile, dead hand shaker, no thinker. That was intentional.

    In my art and in my voice, I intentionally offend my audience. I want that reaction from them. It makes me smile.

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