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Today is the day January 23, 2013

Posted by phoenixhopes in Comfort Zone, life, thoughts.
2 comments

Today is the day.

Today is the day I stop playing games with myself, thinking I can pretend I don’t know what I’m doing. If I say my goal is to eat healthier so I can lose weight and BE healthier, then I need to reach for that goal. Eating cookies for breakfast is not a healthy choice. Cookies are a treat, a once-in-a-while, special occasion treat. They aren’t breakfast food (and they weren’t that exciting either).

Today is the day I clip on the pedometer and notice how much I’m moving, even if I happen to be working from home and only moving from my chair to the coffee pot and back. If at 2:00 the pedometer tells me I walked only 344 steps, then I need to face the truth that I walked only 344 steps. Pretending I’m somehow being more active does not help me on my journey. I need to be honest about how much I’m moving or not moving today because then maybe I will see the need to change.

Today is the day I begin to learn to do only one thing at a time. Multi-tasking is well and good when it means the dishwasher is running while I’m working because I loaded it when I took a break. Multi-tasking is the enemy of peace when it means I cannot focus on any one thing because I’m trying to do too many things. I cannot participate on a call, format a report and respond to e-mail at the same time and do any of them well.  I need to be in this moment, giving myself fully to whatever I am doing now. When I attempt to do too many things at once everything is shortchanged.

Today is the day.

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On Comfort Zones and Finding Magic September 3, 2012

Posted by phoenixhopes in Comfort Zone, life, thoughts.
3 comments

On occasion, when my pastor is preaching, my mind wanders off on a rabbit trail. It starts with something she said, but then, well, I stop paying attention and go off on my own little tangent for awhile. It happened again yesterday. Clarissa quoted from the book If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Gotta Get Out of the Boat (or maybe she just quoted the book title – I, uh, stopped listening for a bit) and said our Fears are our Boats. That got me thinking…. What is it I’m afraid of? Really, truly afraid and not simply unnecessarily worried? Probably just one thing/person – my ex-husband. This is the only fear that causes nightmares and it’s a healthy fear, born from reality. Although I cannot let it control me and limit my life, I am wise to be aware and to be wary.

There is so much more than true fear that holds me back, so much more that keeps me in the boat. It’s not fear but instead it’s that damn Comfort Zone. Last night, as I was falling asleep I wondered… Is there anything inherently wrong or dangerous with wanting to be comfortable? Wrong or dangerous, probably not. But it certainly is limiting. If my goal is to stay comfortable there is so much of life I will avoid. If I’m avoiding things in life, then I’m not really living it to it’s fullest.

Of course, there are some things I’ve tried and know they are just not my cup of tea. Rollercoasters. The last time I went on one, maybe 8 or 10 years ago, I decided I was old enough to embrace the fact that they do not bring me even one tiny ounce of joy. I know the scare is part of the appeal but I just don’t get it. I spend the time in line with a knot in the pit of my stomach and spend the ride with my eyes clenched shut, screaming in panic. There is no release when it’s over. I just want to collapse in the bushes until the waves of panic are done, and never, ever do that again. I feel no compulsion to challenge that comfort zone.

Or Lima Beans, the nastiest food God invented. I will never willingly eat a Lima Bean. Please, if you ever invite me for dinner, don’t serve Lima Beans.

Beyond those few things I’ve tried and know they just aren’t for me, what do I gain by staying comfortable? Perhaps the better question is – what have I gained by pushing my limits?

My Comfort Zone keeps me safe. I know what to expect. I don’t have to think much. When I’m living here I tend to eat the same foods, read the same blogs (the ones I know I’ll agree with), work on easy projects, think the same thoughts and hang out with the same people. Living in my Comfort Zone is easy. I’m not challenged (or if I am, I put my fingers in my ears and sing “La, la, la, la… I can’t hear you”).

Sometimes, living here is what I need. I pull my Comfort Zone over me like a cocoon protecting me from the outside world. It can be a place of healing and restoration after one of “those” weeks. It is the solace of an old friend who knows me almost better than I know myself. My Comfort Zone is rest.

If living inside the Comfort Zone is rest, stepping outside is growth. This is where I learn to listen, to let go of my preconceptions, to really see. It is challenging myself to try new things. When I step outside I meet new (and usually interesting) people. My world gets bigger. I learn I am braver, stronger and smarter than I ever imagined was possible.

Stepping outside my bubble is not always my choice. Sometimes those who know (and hopefully love) me “volunteer” me for responsibilities or activities I would never choose on my own. Sometimes the crap that happens in life shoves me out and barricades the door. Living outside my Comfort Zone does not always feel magical. It can feel lonely and painful and insecure and I don’t like being there. I might not choose to step outside my Comfort Zone and it may take a while to find my way back to that safety and rest but, when I am outside, in the unknown, I will always learn and grow. The bonus is, if I look hard enough, I’ll also find the magic.

Just remember, I implore you, no Lima Beans.