The safety net of our comfort zone is a powerful place. Oftentimes, we don’t have the slightest clue of the influence it has over us until we are put in a situation that threatens to breach its protective barrier. When we come to this place, we are given an opportunity to connect to choice. We can stay within the confines of the familiar or we can move beyond it. What might happen when we trade in feelings of ease and convenience to step into the vast unknown? Here’s a story of what happened to me.
I am, by nature, a bit of a recluse. I have a loving husband and children, two giant dogs, 80 millions books, a big jet tub, a vegetable garden I like to work in, a backyard full of flowers, a fire pit, and wind chimes. In my estimation of things, there’s not much more that I could need or want. Although this is incredible in so many ways, it also has a tendency to impede upon the greater wants and needs of my soul, which craves human connection, spiritual awareness, and community, just like everybody else. I have come to acknowledge that it has been my fear of being judged that has had a tendency in the past to keep me stuck in a holding pattern of routine.
A couple years ago, my routine was challenged by an incredible friend of mine, Chrissy. One morning, during our daily workout, she boldly suggested (and by suggested I actually mean demanded) that I move beyond my comfort zone and sign up to take a yoga teacher training. This suggestion was so out of the realm of normal to me that I’m pretty sure I actually laughed out loud and told her she was batshit crazy, to which she only insisted further that it was something I should definitely do. I left our encounter that day intrigued, curious, and completely 100 percent sure that I would never do it. Imagine my surprise then, when a month later I found myself signing up to take said training, heart pounding, head screaming a million reasons why I shouldn’t be doing it, every fiber of my being assuring me that this was NOT for me. Yet, for some reason I did it anyway.
I went through the training with no hopes or expectations that I would ever become a teacher. The thought of actually taking the knowledge I had gained and standing in front of a class of people to put it to the test literally paralyzed me with fear. I had a wonderful experience and I was content with knowing that and moving back into the confines of my normal life. Two days prior to my graduation, I was approached by the studio manager with an offer to teach one of their classes. I found the verbal agreement shooting out of my mouth way before my head even had a blink to consider the implications. All of a sudden, I was a teacher. Fuck. How the hell was I going to pull this off? I was sick to my stomach the entire week before my first scheduled class. I spent every single day freaking out, and yet, when the day finally came, I again stepped beyond my comfort zone and did what had to be done.
I have continued to step further and further beyond my comfort zone at every opportunity since that fateful day working out with my best bud. Most of the time that initial step still evokes the same physical response of disbelief, nausea, anxiety and terror, but what I have found is that the more I do it, the less these responses linger. I have begun to ask myself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” and what I find is that typically the worst thing isn’t all that bad. It’s certainly not as bad as remaining stagnant in a life that doesn’t fulfill the needs of my soul. I have found a community of loving, creative, positive individuals who help me when I face those initial reactions…who push me to take that extra step. I have found a career and passion that I love, both teaching yoga and life coaching. I have found more time to spend with my family and to write (my other passion). I have found a sense of peace and balance within me. And to think…it all started with fear of the unknown and taking that first step outside my comfort zone. Weird.
So take a look at your life. Where are you boxing yourself in? Where are you ignoring that quiet voice within you that yearns to have/be/do/experience more? What might open up for you if you were to listen to that voice and step beyond the confines of your comfort zone? There’s nothing worse than that feeling that there is something you are supposed to be doing and the knowledge that you are not doing it. It brings you completely out of resonance with your truth, causing anxiety, worry, fear and discomfort. How amazing would it feel to move back into alignment? You CAN do it! Now it’s just a matter of making the choice of whether or not you WILL.