18 Aug Comfort zone demarcations
When our boundaries are pushed + prodded, do we stretch, or do we contract?
(Not, mind you, those boundaries that respect our energy and values, such as saying yes to everyone but you)
The boundaries of our comfort zones. Wow that feels uncomfortable to even ponder.
Over many years of testing, I’ve observed that when I’m not stretched, I contract, much like my muscles.
I find it far easier in the safety of my cocoon, my shell, under my layers. I’ll even hide under rocks and under tables.
But my soul doesn’t want that.
My soul is yearning to soar. To express + create, to shape + shift.
She knows there’s far more to the richness of life than my mind’s stories and fears.
In stepping out, I’ve risked, and at various times felt:
-mortified: seeing a typo on an emotionally important email makes me want to scurry underneath the floor
-shaky and uncomfortable: touching strangers relatively intimately has felt awkward
-giant fear of fierce criticism as my truth through bursts forth like a blubbering volcano
-exposed: witnessing my words + website being seen feels like an intimate medical examination
-squirmy: hearing videos of me as they’re being watched makes me hide under the nearest desk
Even recalling these events now fills my legs with dread and dries up my throat.
And yet I do it.
But I’ve been doing it with my toes dipped in. I hit publish and I run away.
I don’t even look at follow ups and procrastinate them while I build myself up to look.
And while it gets easier + more natural as I see more souls receiving and benefiting, it is still effort. When it’s the first time, I liken it to dragging myself through barbed wire. There’s a way through, but it leaves a trail. At the moment, I’m swimming through honey. Slow and flowy, but still effort.
But oh, the freedom tastes sweet.
Because after countless times of being on the brink of sharing inspiration but withdrawing, I’m here sharing.
Now that my soul has spoken about this path, I’m embracing the awkwardness and edges as a means to further growth.
If I don’t move forward, I retreat.
That’s not to say I put type-A pressure on myself to always be doing something. A fellow yogi shared with me that he does something scary every single day. That practice is not for me. I don’t want to overwhelm and blow out my nervous systems into utter shock and fatigue. Needing a week of couch recovery time could perhaps be a symptom that we might need a different way. For sensitive softies, we want to play at our edges, not leap into the unknown with the parachute off every single time.
It can be the tiniest, safest of steps, but still be brand new space that stretches our boundary.
Currently, as I’ve been organising my own workshop for the first time, I’ve sent out sponsorship emails (something I was happy to never do in my life). And as scary as it was pressing ‘send’, I was then resisting and procrastinating opening the reply! (And the delightful tea company said yes!)
Some very recent conversation about an new yoga class which featured strangers doing partner work was also stretching beyond my comfort zone. And yet I recognise that it offers opportunities for growth:
-my own body acceptance: soft fat, hard bones, sweat and all
-humanising the other person as more than a yoga prop
-literally allowing myself to lean on someone for support
-shedding societal constraints & rules
-being vulnerable and open to the process.
All these made it an edge.
It softened over time, and my boundaries again stretched. It’s not an every day pastime, but if I faced this situation again soon, it would be less of an issue.
I’m also privileged to witness my clients start living on their edges: un-hiding a blog from her family (oh that’s a bit familiar!); saying no to a close sister after always saying yes (and how high?); allowing themselves to carve out their unique path at risk of disapproval; allowing space and time for herself in the midst of a busy working parent life.
These are all stretching. Tender. Uncertain. Playing at the edge.
And so rewarding, enriching, expanding.
Are you growing, being stretched, in any part of life? Is your comfort zone expanding? Or is your world contracting?
Or maybe you’re feeling entirely triggered by any of the examples in here?
I’d love to hear your thoughts – email me here or comment below.