Accept Discomfort and Notice it Change

I’ve been studying Resmaa Menakem’s “My Grandmother’s Hands” for the past two months. The center piece of the book—almost literally the middle chapter and page, is the Five Anchors. The center piece of the Five Anchors is: accept discomfort and notice it change.   

The first step to really learning something, of course, is being able to remember it. I was recently working on memorizing Five Anchors. I tried to remember them in reverse order. Sometimes that’s a way I jog my memory).

5. Discharge any remaining or excess energy 
4. Stay with the ambiguity and uncertainty of the experience 
3. ??? 
2. Notice the sensations, vibrations and emotions that come up
1. Sooth and calm my body

It’s interesting to note what won’t stick in my mind. Sometimes it seems like it’s just a quirk of my memory. Other times it seems like something in me is being avoidant. With the third anchor, (accepting discomfort and noticing it change), it felt avoidant.  

Resmaa calls staying present with and accepting our experience “clean pain.” Dirty pain, is simply discomfort we avoid—it’s pain procrastination. It’s human to procrastinate and avoid from time to time—The lesson in dirty pain is it’s nearly always preferable to be present to and accept pain and be done with it.  

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