Life will tug at you, inner voices will whisper loudly…”Is this all there is?” You will feel a desire growing within you, wanting to experience something more. For me what once felt “safe and comfortable” increasingly felt limiting and uncomfortable. And so I knew, it was time.
Time to leave my comfort zone!
And the minute I begin to imagine stepping out of that safety zone, I feel the ping in my stomach. It is a ping of both excitement and fear. Excitement for what is yet to come, fear over it too.
Because just beyond the comfort zone lies the unknown zone. The unknown although inviting, is scary. I wrote a poem about it back in 2008; me standing at the edge of a cliff… click here to read it.
Here I am revisiting it again in 2012. I step out of my comfort.
I’ve come to know that life is a series of cliffs; a series of moments where you are faced with decisions to step out of your comfort zone or remain unchanged in what seems safe or familiar.
Smaller decisions: such as eating in a restaurant alone, speaking in front of a group, or taking up a new hobby. Larger decisions: such as beginning or ending a relationship, or quitting or starting a new job. Change no matter how big or small can feel uncomfortable.
So do I jump? Step out of that comfort zone? Would you?
In order for me to change, expand, live something new and different than I have been living, I have no choice but to jump.
As I find myself once again in the ‘Unknown Zone” I realize that it’s necessary to quickly make friends with my vulnerability. Vulnerability and the unknown go hand in hand, and if I don’t embrace my vulnerable side, and I choose rather to fight it, I will suffer by dragging out the process of that change I so desire.
I can only take a deep breath, and give my vulnerability a hug. Somehow find a way to relax into the uneasiness.
Last summer, for example, I felt uncomfortable dining alone in Little Italy. Watching and listening to the tables around me, I felt self conscious eating my meal, especially because everyone was involved in happy table chatter! As I ate my meal I had no one but myself to tell how delicious it was. It felt slightly weird not to have a dinner companion in this fine Italian restaurant. But there I was, being served an enormous salad appetizer.
I relaxed into the uneasiness of dining alone, and soon my tiny personal line that I allowed myself to cross felt much better to me. I was completely involved in the experience of the food: appetizer, main course, dessert, and what I once considered uncomfortable felt new and enjoyable.
This was a small cliff I jumped from, yet it was freeing.
I have a larger one in front of me now. As I stand at the edge I do my best not to look down or worry about the fall. The side of me who feels safer in the familiar would like to keep vulnerability at bay. But the side of me who seeks change already knows that is impossible. This voice loudly whispers, “Jump!” So I do.
It’s not the first time, and I know it certainly won’t be the last.
Stepping out of the comfort zone, into the unknown zone…..it’s what makes life ever expanding and exciting.