There is no growing in the comfort zone. (Except maybe growing complacent) Our comfort zone is basically an ensemble of parameters with which we can function almost on automatic pilot. It’s a paradigm. No matter what it is and what it encompasses, we all have one. Unfortunately for those of us who want to grow and learn, always further, always more, looking for what we can envision ahead, it can not be done while staying comfortably inside this paradigm.
Not to mention that sometimes the comfort zone is in itself including a certain amount of discomfort! Not a great job, lack of money, lousy relationships… But still, as it is our regular day in and day out reality, it is where we live by default.
Life is all about growing, evolving, composting, transforming and nothing is meant to stay unchanged under the sun. Paradoxically, even though this is universal truth, we, as human beings don’t seem to do well with change. At least not in the second half of our life. As toddlers, and later on teens, even as young adults, we go through change in a fluid motion, a continuum, that doesn’t disturb us much. At the contrary, we rather enjoy it. Our appetite for life is high and our desires are big motivators, therefore we keep on discovering, learning, experiencing new things and new selves in the process, most of it without reluctance. Except for some romantic misfortunes, heartthrobs and other relationships disillusions, we go along with lots of change offering small resistance.
But somewhere along the line of maturing, we seem to find a groove, to settle for average, to make do with not perfect and to hit a virtual ceiling under the protection of which we lull ourselves with what we know and do, putting our dreams and our highest longings in the back of our mind, as quiet as we can. It might take some mighty medicine for these to stay quietly in the back our mind… Sometimes it takes anti depressant, or alcohol, drugs, busyness, binges of all kinds… lots of TV may do the trick for a while or getting invested totally in other people’s lives, like in raising kids. Yes. But then, dreams and longings are very resilient. They keep nagging us. They keep tugging at our soul. So much so that eventually we acknowledge them at least partially, we voice regrets, we dream of more, we remember moments of great exhilaration and wonder if we’ll feel like this again… We think about it and most of the time, it would take so much energy, so much decision making, so much routine disrupting… so much CHANGE, to get closer to what we dream about, that we stop short of the first step toward it. We stay in our comfort zone. What we know. What is predictable. What has been in equilibrium for years. What feels deceptively secure. But we do so with a pinch in our heart. We would love to leap out and feel limitless, unbound, free, powerful, happy…
As a matter of fact, in our minds, and no matter what the circumstances are, we can choose to be limitless, unbound, and happy. There are very few situations that can not be changed with the use of our amazing minds.
Most of us have only one thing between our dreams and our walking toward them: fear.
Fear will thwart our efforts, argue with our planning, stand tall between us and the path to another kind of life. Fear will make us wait, hold tight, endure, delay, forget, settle… Fear will make us put up with an abusive boss, accept a partner’s behavior, die slowly in a soulless job, stay away from anything that would rock the boat, upset the apple cart… Fear stands along the path of our growth, and there is no denying its powerful presence.
But then, we have more tools than we think we have to go pass our scares and walk a little freer every step of the way.
We are resourceful beings, we have a great asset: our imagination. That same mind which is weaving nets of threats around our deep desires can actually make us leap over them!
We can start by imagining what we would be and what we would do, if we were living those dreams. We can choose to look at all the little things that are constantly supporting growth and expansion around us. We can choose to focus on everything that we do, are, have that is pleasurable and that we truly appreciate: a cup of good coffee, a visit with a dear friend, a walk in the park, cuddling with a pet… We can choose to be the masters of our minds. We can choose to deliberately think our favorite thoughts, the ones that make us feel buoyant instead of the ones that rule us with fright. We can actually train our beautiful, powerful minds to contemplate every single thing that feeds our dream, every little opportunity that answers our longing. This is where getting a mentor is crucial for that will power us through the bigger blocks. Mentors are there to get us further along than we think we can go. And they do.
When we do focus on all the good, and all the opportunities, when we decide, in a consistent manner, to take steps even miniscule in the direction of our dreams,we call upon ourselves all kinds of serendipitous situations. We just need to be alert and aware enough to see them for what they are: portals opening to our exploration, our transformation, our realization… Of course fears will pop up and challenge us, and sometimes it’s a good thing because they’ll call for caution, and greater awareness. Of course there can be set backs, and detours. Of course we will have doubts, and we’ll wonder if we are crazy in this world where normality is so revered. But through all of that, and no matter how long it takes, no matter how far it goes, no matter how much it costs, through all of that we will become someone closer to whom we know we can be. Not only we will reach a different stage in our existence and get to do things that seemed unattainable before, but we will be different and happier people. Because we will have walked through our fears, again and again, proving to ourselves that we don’t have to settle, we don’t have to give up, we are part of this beautiful universe, we are animated by the same source that keeps millions of stars up in the sky. We have Life coursing through us, never ending miracle that it is.
So tell me, what’s a little bit of scare compared with being a child of the cosmos?