Comfort and No Joy

mugDuring his marvelous recent gatherings, The Elephant Sessions, Robbie Schaefer talked about how “when we say we’re crazy busy, what we’re really saying is, ‘I can’t find myself.’” He then mentioned a Sanskrit saying, “Comfort destroys ease.”

Wow. That last bit resonated deeply with me. While it feels easy (on the surface) to stay in our comfort zone, that choice often is deeply uncomfortable at our core. Real comfort is about connection—with ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities. How often do we create a comfortable nest of behaviors for ourselves that is actually an insurmountable obstacle course preventing us from pursuing our dreams and fully engaging with our lives? How often do our comfortable habits create routines, which then become ruts?

As a person who has resisted structure in the past, I am experimenting with renaming habits. When I call these behaviors rituals, they sound exotic and enticing to me. When I regard them as supports for what matters most, rituals become necessities. To me, routine sounds restrictive and boring. Rituals have an entirely different flavor, one that is rooted in conscious choices and pursuit of passion.

One of my favorite rituals is drinking warm beverages. I start my day with coffee, often sipping it when the sun is still in bed. While afternoon caffeine does not agree with me, if I substitute decaf, tea, or warm lemon water, I can still embrace the ritual of a pause for self-care in the midst of a busy day.

What are your favorite rituals?

[All words and images copyright Paula J. Kelly, unless otherwise credited.]

2 thoughts on “Comfort and No Joy

  1. Fred

    I love dipping a cookie in warm coffee, in the afternoon! Yummm; caffeine and sugar after 2:00 p.m. make the rest of the workday zoom by.

  2. Susan Kuhn

    This is a wonderful post, Paula. It reminds me of the monastic practice of creating a rule of life. There are different approaches by different orders of monks. Some specify daily practices and others provide general guidelines. The idea is just as you describe, to stay connected to what matters.


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