The Un-Comfortability of Comfort Zones

I make a rotten housemate. There’s either the loud sounds of music or a movie playing, and I’m constantly being reminded to “use your indoor voice…” I’ve been told I’m a close cousin to a germaphobe, and things are placed exactly where they are for a reason: all hell can break loose if they’re not. To be fair, I’m deaf in one ear except for the tinnitus, so everything has to be loud or I can’t hear. Apparently. And, yeah, we have 3 dogs in here with 4 adults, friends, more family, and lots of smaller 2-and-4-legged critters in and out of here all the time. And since I hate dog hair in my toothbrush, yes. I clean.

My home is my nest and my most sacred space – my primary comfort zone. It’s where I feel the most safe, where I can just be. It’s the only place where I can fully relax, recharge, and rejuvenate, where I can let myself think and feel things that I can’t anywhere else. It’s where I get to decide to do something, or not, where I get to make the rules (at least about me, mostly). That’s why it’s my most sacred space. I do a lot of stuff here, including my putzin’ (hobbies, repairs, upgrades, and other stuff nesters do), and all those other tasks like eating and sleeping. Plus I work here. Nuff said.

Home isn’t my only comfort zone, and probably not your only one, either. We all have spaces that given the right conditions afford us the capability to let our guards down: family and friend’s homes, office cubbies, and vehicles. We also can turn our favorite grocery store, jogging path, neighborhood park, and many other places into comfort zones.

Comfort zones are important, critical to our survival some say, with lots of good things to be said about them. I’ve always thought that the whole street could hear my melodramatic grunts every time I walk through the front door after I’ve been gone a while. There’s an immediate sense of familiarity, relief, and safety that comes with being in your own space, and a host of other sensations, emotions, and feelings.

That familiarity and safety, those feelings, senses, and assurances let you do some amazing things. That’s what’s so cool about this whole thing. These zones provide the perfect space to connect with yourself, to discover. You can be sillier than a 3-yr old with the giggles, play the wickedest air guitar, and sing as loudly and off-key as much as you want. You can explore the depths, boundaries, and limitations of joy and happiness, and disappear (for a little bit) into disappointment and despair if needed. Consider that for a second. The special gift of comfortability and relaxation brings unlimited possibilities for what’s inside.

Ok, now here’s some more really cool and spiffy stuff: comfort zones are the perfect place to be uncomfortable, to Grow, to get OUT of your comfort zone. To explore the light and the shadows. To walk down that infamous dark hallway after one door closes while you’re looking for the open one.

You get the idea. What an incredible realization. I say that as one who has spent many weekends, saved-up vacation time, and other unpaid 3-and-4-day weekends, plus thousands and thousands of dollars on retreats, seminars, and events that put me through the ringer, as mom loved to say. Depending on where I was, they insisted I survive without caffeine, on starvation diets, on sleep deprivation, on pushing me so far out of my comfort zone that supposedly the wanted growth would just magically appear. And to be fair, I did have some very cool experiences and came away significantly…improved. After coming home for the nth time, I was decompressing the next weekend with a glass of wine, a good meal, and an Oprah rerun when I made several phenomenal, crazy breakthroughs. The first two are for another time, but the third one changed my life:

Discovery, awareness, change, and growth DOES NOT HAVE TO HURT so damn bad. I can leverage my comfort zones to step into Witness Mode, to be aware of what’s not working, to create momentum for my journey, to build anew, to take responsibility for the ugly, and willingly embody and embrace transformations.  

How spiffy is that? Our most sacred spaces can afford us the opportunities to do our most sacred work – to be able to step out of Victim Mode and move forward purposely, intentionally, without judgement, recriminations, or guilt. And what’s even more spiffy, is that once you create momentum, it’s damn near unstoppable. The more you grow, the more you want to grow. The desire to confront all that isn’t working anymore to find what will becomes a powerful stimulus for creating more peace, balance, and harmony in your life.  

So, go ahead and take your favorite toys, knick-knacks, and memorabilia to work. Ramp up your nesting activities at home, and paint the walls that funky lime-green you’ve always wanted. Turn your comfort zones into exploration areas, and unleash the possibilities.  

Yes, retreats, seminars, and events all provide incredible value, and I’ll most definitely be enrolling in more than a few in the future. But now, I’ve learned that business, professional, and personal growth can be (gasp…) even FUN! Yup, I know that sounds crazy. And, I promise you, totally doable.

Let’s rock this.               

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