Increasingly I find that tension and discomfort is implicit in the human experience. Whether I am hungry or overfed, hot or cold, insecure or overworked, self conscious or angry, the range of conditions under which I am explicitly comfortable and content is very narrow. It is only natural that I reach for ways to avoid this discomfort and yet, in so doing, I avoid some essential part of my being.
This condition is highlighted between people. I have struggled with self consciousness my entire life. At some point, this kind of insecurity becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. The irony is that the tension itself is the catalyst for connection – it is the common thread that I and the other share. In avoiding it, I avoid the one thing that we surely have in common – the discomfort of being human. As I bring awareness and presence to the tension, my experience opens to deeper levels of connection and relatedness. I often find this process to be extremely uncomfortable – something that I have to practice over and over.
In today’s conversation my guest and I explore this tension in real time as it comes up between us. What emerges is a deeply honest examination of the inherent tension of being.
Paul Morris is the Bay Area Director of Pathwise, a leadership development program that emphasizes self awareness and deeper understanding of human nature through a year long small group driven learning experience. Having served as strategic advisor to the Pathwise founders since 2007, Paul joined full time in 2011 to oversee the advising process of the Pathwise community as a whole.
Paul is no stranger to anxiety and, even after years of teaching, finds the experience of walking into a classroom physically distressing. Paul shares his approach to dealing with this discomfort in a way that creates spaces for vulnerability and openness. We explore the source of this anxiety and how it offers opportunity for empathy and deep relatedness.