24. Comfort and Discomfort
"Bite your tongue, get a cinder in your eye. When you feel good, you feel nothing." That ol' hedonist Buckminster Fuller said that. It's always made more sense to me than geodesic domes and dymaxion vehicles. We are sentient, sensual creatures (like the other earthlings) and our feelings -- physical and emotional -- control us, shape our lives. Our ability to deal with those feelings, to manage them and cope with how they manage us is the defining quality of our time here. Some of us are masterful, never show an emotion without intending to, others show too much, too many, inappropriately, inexplicably. Living with a small baby 24-7 gives me an opportunity to witness how he deals with feelings, frustrations, fears (doesn't have nearly enough in my opinion), hunger, anger. He is an even, sweet tempered little guy, but can swing wildly if provoked. And what provokes him? Being tired, uncomfortable and hungry are what get to him most and quickest, it seems. Discomfort is the tough one, because it is essential to keep us going, keep us vital, I believe, even while it can be enormously annoying. Too much comfort dulls us, fattens us, slows us physically and mentally, puts us to sleep. Too much discomfort makes us irritable, angry, skews our judgment. Where is the balance, how do we find it? Somehow we do, or can. Laziness is our greatest challenge when seeking that balance. Maintaining ambition, not fearing struggle is the divine path. When my 11 month old son sees my eyeglasses on our bed, he will exhaust himself getting to them (they fascinate him for some reason). Watching him try, drawing on every bit of energy he has, is an inspiration to me, and illustrates what it is that keeps people going forward when success seems impossible.