Nicole Havelka Consulting
in Antiracism - Change Leadership - Community - Mindfulness - Social Justice

Liberation in Discomfort

Light green background with a headline, photo and subhead. The headline is, "Liberation in Discomfort." The photo is of Nicole posing in front of the register at her first day a Starbucks. Subhead is, "defythetrend.com/myposts; link in bio"

In recent social media posts, you may have noticed that I recently started a part-time job at Starbucks coffee. The position offers me benefits and a little steady income while starting this coaching, training and organizational development business. (Being a single solo-preneur is hard, y’all!)

This past year of starting my consulting business has been a huge learning curve, but the learning curve at Starbucks happens at the hyper speed of caffeine. In just four shifts I’ve been trained on all different roles you can have on the team, which includes the register, making all the drinks (and possible special orders), making food and the support jobs that make all the other things possible. Needless to say, I am terrible at almost everything right now.

Learning all these new things at the speed of caffeine is uncomfortable at best, frustrating and maddening at worst. But about three shifts in, I realized that my yoga and meditation practice actually prepared me well for this situation. Not only do the practices help calm me, they have made me much more comfortable with the discomfort of learning new things. I was more able to accept that I was going to work more slowly, need more help, and even frustrate customers and team members with the mistakes I make and the things I just don’t know.

This ability to be comfortable in the discomfort did not appear magically. It has developed steadily over the many years of my yoga practice. If you want a simple practice in discomfort, I describe how you might work with it while you do a new thing or something you do badly in this video:

Working comfortably with discomfort is also one of the primary ways I live my values, which you can read more about on my website. I commit to allowing myself and the teaching, learning and healing spaces I create to be comfortable with the discomfort of calling out and dealing with white supremacy and other oppressive social constructs.

The heart of both yoga and Christianity —  the two spiritual/religious traditions I practice — is liberation. The work of liberation is freeing, but the process is uncomfortable because people must unlearn many habits that oppress black,  people of color (BIPOC); members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community; women; members of the disabled community; and many other marginalized groups.

Liberate yourself from confining, oppressive forces that entice us to avoid and squelch discomfort — a very necessary feeling whether we’re learning how to make a venti half calf iced carmel macchiato with oat milk and light ice for the first time or adopt new anti-racist practices into our everyday life.

Go Deeper: My friend and fellow yoga teacher, Kathryn Toussaint Williams, will be teaching with me in the five-part series, Turning Upside Down: Building Anti-Racist Muscle Memory Saturdays from 8:30 – 9:30 AM EDT from Oct. 16 to Nov. 13. This series is geared especially for white people who want to develop new muscle memory for relating to the world as an anti-racist accomplice. While we learn to do that, the world will likely feel upside down and inside out. The practice of yoga — a practice of liberation — helps us normalize the upside down/inside out feelings. Register for the early bird rate through Sept. 24.

Leave a Reply