“The Limiting Belief of Comfort Zones”

“The Limiting Belief of Comfort Zones”

 

There is a lot of discussion and coaching that centers around the concept of “comfort zones”. We’ve all heard sayings like, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone,” and “Outside the comfort zone is where the magic happens.” So what is a comfort zone?

A simple google search provides the following definition:

com·fort zone (ˈkəmfərt zōn/) noun

  1. a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress.

There are countless articles, books, programs, and workshops that offer the “Science behind Comfort Zones”. Some profess how to help us “Identify our Comfort Zones” and others explore “Reasons to step outside our Comfort Zone”. Depending on your eagerness level, you can find advice from the world’s leading experts on how to get out of our comfort zone in as little as ten and as many as fifty-two ways.

We are taught that our limiting beliefs are what keep us stuck in our comfort zones. Beliefs, many of which are formed in our childhood such as, “I’m not worthy”, “I’m not good enough”, “I don’t deserve that dream”, “I’m not capable”, or “that’s not who I am” serve as anchors that keep us within a zone of comfort that we eventually believe we might not be capable of leaving.

But what if a comfort zone is nothing more than a story we tell ourselves? What if the comfort zone itself is the limiting belief? How might we change the story?

For the entirety of my adult life, I have been uncomfortable seeing and hearing myself recorded. I’ve avoided photos, videos, and facetime conversations because the experience is extremely uncomfortable. At times I’ve been forced in front of a camera for work or school and I’ve praised myself for “stepping outside my comfort zone”. I’ve told myself that the more I practice, the easier it will become. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. I practiced and practiced and learned how to look into the camera and read a script better but the process never became something that I enjoyed. However, recently a still small voice inside my head was heard to say, “it would be so much fun to make a video and put it out into the world!” And for the first time, I listened. I listened and I allowed myself to feel the excitement without shutting it down, judging it, or labeling the idea “outside my comfort zone”. Instead, I opened my computer, walked out to my deck, and without a script, said what was on my heart. And in the process of looking into that camera and speaking my truth, I began to relax and enjoy what I was doing.

I realized in that short three-minute timeframe that the idea of a comfort zone was just a story I had made up to keep me from playing big in the world. I had let myself believe that making a video was outside my comfort zone. My comfort zone was limiting how I showed up in life. It had been a convenient excuse for not listening to what my soul’s purpose was trying to express. Today I know that my soul wants me to feel comfortable connecting with people through video, facetime, zoom calls, and whatever other technical tools show up along the way so that I know there is no limit to how big I might be in this life. So, I changed my story.

As a little girl, I loved being in front of the camera. I was called a “camera hog” and over time began to feel that wasn’t an acceptable way to be. But what if the things we loved doing as children were never judged or labeled as good or bad? What if we were never made to feel uncomfortable for expressing the truest versions of ourselves by an insecure world that wasn’t capable of holding space for the enormity of our authentic passion? What might happen? Who might we be? Change the story.

What are you waiting for?

What are you waiting for?

“If you’re going to be a writer, you have to f%#&’n WRITE.”

I go through life with words, phrases, sentences, messages swirling around in my head, bumping into each other in a chaotic mess that vibrates and echoes often leaving me exhausted and dazed. I’ve waited for the words to arrange themselves, thinking that was a necessary step before written expression would be possible. I’ve given up that idea. Whatever comes of this exercise is no longer of importance but only the act of release that matters, for without that, I fear I’ll soon be rendered permanently STUCK. Stuck in this plane of life, unable to move beyond what I am now.

And what is that exactly?

Aware. I am aware, aware to the possibilities before me and aware of the struggles behind me. Accomplished enough to know what I am capable of yet inexperienced enough to remain fearful of failing. Aware that failing is a natural step in the progression of personal evolution. Starving for the next step on this journey, I’ve seen glimpses of what is to come. In my mind’s eye, I’ve lived brief moments of this destiny. Through dreams and visions I’ve felt what is possible, just enough to whet my desire and leave my soul craving more. Nanoseconds of realization experienced with a divine truth signaling my soul, “this is IT.”

And what is IT exactly?

Physically, IT is adrenaline rushing through the body creating a rapid flow of blood and a pounding heart that invigorates, stimulates, and inspires. It is a flush of heat that starts in the chest and spreads up to the head, down to the hands, and radiates out in what I imagine is a visual display of vibrancy. My body feverish and my palms sweaty. My ears, clogged with a slight ringing noise that distorts the sounds around me, not unlike that feeling of floating underwater.

I imagine the physical body’s vital signs might register like those of a runner after crossing the finish line and yet inwardly, calm. There is a knowing that all is well, a beckoning to relax and let go. I’m standing at the edge of a magnificent cliff. The air is crisp. The sun is warm. A slight breeze passes over my body and sends a chill up my spine. This is the edge of destiny.

“Breathe deeply and let go. Trust that this is who you are. Everything that has happened before has prepared you for the next step. Take it. Embrace your destiny. You are worthy. This is your path. All else is a dream. You are the observer. This is your reality.”

And what does IT mean?

It means creation has already taken place. Communicate that which the soul has created.

“Step out of the way and let that which IS be received.”

It means I have only to quiet the noise and trust in the message.

“There is no doing to be done. There is only being. Trust what comes in and let it pass through without thought, judgment, or interpretation.”

There is a fear of madness, a fear of letting go and losing control. Like an addict, never knowing when the point of no return might be crossed, the high is intoxicating. To lock one’s self away and let go without timetables or commitments, abandoning all worries or ties to a world that is constantly demanding and distracting, that is the lure and there in lies the fear. But what exactly is that fear?

Loss? – Fear that connection to everything held dear might be broken and I might find myself alone and with nothing. It occurs to me that I’ve faced this fear before at another crossroad in life, only then the fear was much stronger and the outcome much less predictable. Desperation propelled me forward, not awareness or courage. The pain of the status quo at the time was far greater than the fear of change. It felt less a matter of choice and more a matter of survival. Regardless, the fear was faced and the outcome was growth, confidence, trust, self-love, expression, and ultimately, the experience of a love greater than I have ever known. Had fear won that battle everything I now hold so dear would not be in my life. This realization causes me to pause, the “what if’s” screaming inside my head. Images of the person I was never becoming the person I am makes me feel sad. Ironically, who I am now, living this beautiful chaotic life that resulted from the ashes of what was, is exactly what I am fearful of now losing.

But what if instead of losing, I win again? Instead of desperation pulling me away, what if intuition propels me forward? Imagine the power of that energy. If out of desperation, this beautiful life could emerge, imagine what might be birthed through the energy of inspired creation.

There are two choices: to rest in what is or to evolve into what might be. When what IS no longer fits, there will be no choice but to evolve or to die.

What are you waiting for?

 

Love trumps Fear

Across the globe a plane crashes, families mourn, leaders speak. Questions swirl as answers come in slowly. Countries are angered. Accusations are leveled. Once again our humanity is highlighted as our hearts go out to those we will never know and yet somehow feel akin to.

Across the nation, the climate is contentious as leaders from both political parties ramp up the rhetoric in efforts to energize their base, hoping to garner more support in the days to come. Chosen topics are those that divide us, the extreme on either side becoming the loudest voices and thus, the most likely to be heard.

A presidential candidate stirs up fear with predictions of “the worst depression of our time” and “more terrorist bombings to come. ”The news media circles like buzzards, zoning in on the ugliest, amplifying the effect and serving only to widen the chasm. A state convention filled with passionate citizens is reported as violent and suddenly the face of an entire group is painted as hate filled and ignorant. Idealists pledge commitment to a movement, refusing acceptance of the status quo, and are demonized and disrespected. Votes that have yet to be cast are dismissed as irrelevant by candidates who declare victory before the process is completed. Arrogance in place of humility widens the chasm.

Frustrated, individuals seek those who share their concerns, a sympathetic ear willing to commiserate, to feel even in the slightest way that they are not alone. Emotions intensify and voices are drowned out. Thoughtful arguments are passed over for the more sensational and ridiculous. Soundbytes replace facts. And the chasm widens.

Bombarded by the ugliness and inundated with negativity, a feeling of helplessness begins to seep into the collective consciousness and with it, fear. Groups of people organize in efforts to affect change. Speaking out for the less fortunate, the marginalized, and the minority, hopeful that the power of numbers will create a voice loud enough to be heard over the buzz of mass media and fear mongering politicians. Private businesses boycott against discrimination and citizens protest in larger numbers. Facebook profiles fill with colors representing the country of a downed airliner as individuals seek ways to show solidarity across continents. Airline security lines lengthen and for a day or two, everyone is patient.

Beyond the hysteria of the media and the passion-filled rhetoric of the political arena is where our collective humanity lies. When the veil of difference that divides us is lifted, what remains can serve to bring us together.

Closer to home, a box of doughnuts carried through an airport elicits smiles and spontaneous conversation amongst strangers. Laughter fills the air carried on the aroma of the freshly baked pastries and no one asks for party affiliation or religious beliefs. Jokingly a security guard insists payment in the form of one original glazed before passage is granted. Once onboard, fellow passengers express playful gratitude that someone brought “snacks for everyone.” It matters little if or when the person in the adjoining seat last attended church. No one seems to care how their neighbor is planning to vote or even if they are registered. In this moment at least, any concern about terror attacks, disenfranchised voters, or discriminatory laws are out of mind. The veil that separates has been lifted if only briefly and only love remains. And where there is love, fear cannot dwell.

krispy-kreme-photoPerhaps what the world needs is more doughnuts.

Welcome Universe!

I wonder how many other writers hide from the world.  The absurdity of it all makes me laugh.  For years I have written.  Each day I compose in my head long essays, short quips, letters, notes, poems.  Some days, I manage to transfer these compositions from my head to my computer but even when I don’t, I am writing.  I’ve gone from saying, “One day I want to be a writer.”  To saying, “One day I will be a writer.”  To saying, “I am a writer.”  Baby steps over the course of my life, 48 years in the making.

Two years ago, in a brave and bold moment, I created this blog.  With excitement I chose the blog name, the website, the cover photo, the typeface.  I created my profile and painstakingly decided what image I would put on display of myself.  As I went through the process, excitement morphed to fear.  What was I doing?  Who did I think I was?  Did I really think that people would want to read what I would write?  And if they did and it wasn’t good…

So I wrote my first blog post in August of 2010.  I wrote it and I saved it.  For days I opened it up and reread it then saved it again.  I couldn’t post it for the world to see just yet.  I needed to write a few more posts.  I told myself that I needed to get in the habit of posting on a regular basis before I made my blog public.  Because, heaven forbid, I were to start blogging and then stop.  I never did actually try to reason with myself on this point.  Did I think that the world would end if my blog wasn’t a success?  Who knows.  There really was nothing rational about my thought process at this point.

My blog sat for over a year with only a few posts entered and only one follower, me.  This was understandable because even after I found the courage to hit the publish button and send my blog out into the universe, I was not able to bring myself to actually share my blog with any specific people.  My thought was to sit back and see if perhaps someone might stumble across my blog and comment, thereby giving me safe feedback.  Feedback from an anonymous person with no idea who I was and didn’t really matter.

I had visions of my blog being highly successful and readers anxiously awaiting my next post followed immediately by nightmares of readers unsubscribing automatically.  I was paralyzed.  So here I am two years and three months later with a blog that no one has seen.  To make matters more bizarre, the things I have written for the past two years are not even on the blog, they are saved in a Word document on my computer waiting to be copied and shared.

Occasionally I open my blog to reaffirm that I still love it.  And I do.  So why don’t I share?  What exactly is the basis of this silly fear I have?  I read other blogs, very successful by the way, and I know that I can write equally well.  I have content that people would relate to and I can make words flow (most of the time).  So what grips me every time I think that I’m ready for someone to read my writings?

A recent opportunity to attend a workshop with my literary idol has given me a chance to explore this fear and I may have figured it out.  Dreams are scary things when you dare to make them real.  There is the fear of failure and looking silly.  It has been easier to play it safe, to write for myself, to be a writer in my mind without the chance of someone else telling me that I’m not.  Today that changes.  Today I know that I am a writer.  And today the fear of not seeing this dream become real is far greater than the fear of looking silly.

So welcome to my blog, Universe!  🙂