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Guest Post: Discomfort by Gayle Nobel, Author of SPACE OF LOVE: Understanding the Power of Thought and Wisdom in Living with Autism

Today I’m honored to introduce you to Gayle Nobel, an author and lifelong autism advocate, whose book SPACE OF LOVE is now available in audiobook format. In SPACE OF LOVE: Understanding the Power of Thought and Wisdom in Living with Autism (Nite Owl Books, August 2018) Gayle Nobel recounts personal stories of raising Kyle, like being uninvited to a party because she was bringing him, the anxiety of where he would live if she weren’t around, and Kyle attending a gym for individuals with disabilities. Nobel reveals the knowledge she learned from both her positive and negative experiences, as well as how it formed a deeper understanding of life. SPACE OF LOVE is a source of hope and inspiration for parents and caregivers seeking to gain a deeper understanding of raising a child or adult with autism. And what’s more, anyone who has ever faced a challenge in their life will appreciate Gayle’s insights. Enjoy!

Discomfort
by Gayle Nobel

I’m not comfortable with _______. Insert something. Anything. Lots of things. How many times do we tell this to ourselves? And say this to others? Throughout the day, there are so many things about which to be uncomfortable.

How often do we allow discomfort, or the possibility of discomfort, to stop us in our tracks? We avoid taking action. Or having interactions and conversations. Or we take an action that we believe steers us away from discomfort. Only to find it around the next corner.

Or, we experience the anticipated discomfort, and …

We see it’s not fatal and there is no permanent harm done to self. In fact, we might even feel exhilarated afterward.

We muck around in it, like something gooey that is stuck to the bottom of our shoe. Feeling bad, we try to get rid of it. We keep feeling it anyway. Until we don’t.

In fact, there is even a place we have designated as the comfort zone. We tiptoe around the edges of it as if a landmine exists on the other side.

Sometimes we accidentally (or purposely) step over the line, going outside the alleged zone. And hmmm, maybe nothing happens. Discomfort was not there after all.

The truth is, the line around this comfort zone is not real because it is made of the energy of thought. And at any moment, we are likely to think again and poof! the zone changes.

And when we look a bit deeper, we may realize there is no zone. It is merely a figment of our imagination that may keep us from engaging fully in life.

For me, there have been many times where discomfort, or fear of discomfort, has kept me from following my intuition. Discomfort can be very noisy.

There have also been many times where I have simply plowed ahead despite the icky, yucky feeling of discomfort experienced in my mental and physical body.

It’s easy to mistakenly believe the cause lies outside of us. A situation. A person. A thing. If only we could control or fix X, Y, or Z, then discomfort would vanish.

The truth is, nothing can make us uncomfortable.

‘If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.’ —Sydney Banks

What?!? (Pssst, this is good news.) Discomfort is a result of the power of thought. Thought is energy and looks and sounds like … personal thinking.

We experience thought as perceptions and feelings. And it creates our realities. It colors the lenses we wear. It literally creates each of our worlds.

We may hear it as chatter and stories in our head. It is associative in nature. One thought can lead to another. Pretty soon, we have innocently woven a fictional tale of woe. We latch on to it. And it certainly doesn’t look fictional.

Hello, discomfort. Hello, worry about the possibility of future discomfort.

Thought also brews silently, beneath the surface of our aware- ness. Like a snowball, it picks up speed (more thoughts) as it careens down the hill of our consciousness. And suddenly we know we feel bad but might not have a clue as to what lurks beneath. We just feel that strong, unpleasant sensation of discomfort.

A few weeks ago, I knew I had to have an important conversation with someone. For days, every time I thought about it (or even when I didn’t think I was thinking about it), I felt waves of discomfort. I imagined the other person reacting in a certain way. I imagined how they might feel. I did some mental gymnastics, justifying my point of view. The snowball got pretty big in the days leading up to the discussion.

Funny thing, when I stepped onto the stage of the conversation, even before I spoke, my thoughts seemed to fade, and discomfort dissolved. I said what I wanted to say. It was a two-second sen- tence. And to my surprise, the other person had the same opinion. Interestingly, that hadn’t been part of my snowball.

I found myself in the moment. Talking, listening, responding. The conversation took on a life of its own. A flow. Dynamic and fluid. Out of my control.

Like life.

Author Biography
Gayle Nobel has a life- long connection to autism through her brother and son. She holds a BA in special education and is currently a transformative life coach, parent mentor, blogger, and inspirational speaker. Space of Love is her third book on living with autism. Gayle resides in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband and son. You can find Gayloe online at https://www.gaylenobel.com.

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