Last week I worked in Sydney as part of my hospital research job. Let’s just say that the work I did was a type of ‘audit’, it involved long hours, limited breaks, was emotionally, mentally and physically demanding (who would have thought sitting at a desk for 13 hours straight would cause so much body pain!!). I was one of 5 people who as part of a team had a specific job to do while in Sydney and a timeline in which to get the work finished.
I have talked before about pushing through comfort zones. Now that I am through the other side of my one week of intense outer comfort zone and had 48 hours to sleep and relax and recover I am getting some insights about what it is that our comfort zone (or lack of one) does to us.
Having a past history of chronic fatigue syndrome I had to learn techniques to put up boundaries around my energy. I only had a limited amount of energy to “spend” each day and I had to choose on what activities I wanted to use that energy. Most of the time I chose family time and forgoe any other opportunities that were around and did not give them my attention and time. This is a very good strategy to manage chronic fatigue but it is not always a good strategy to manage life. When I started getting my health on track, the mentality to protect myself was still there and has been a long and difficult step to move through.
Many people call this safe zone “comfort zone”. It is the life that we are comfortable with, where we feel safe and we know we can handle, it is predictable and usually plays out how we expect.
When we move out of our comfort zone we really don’t know how we will handle things. There are so many elements that are unknown. There is usually very little that is predictable or that we know will happen. It is here that we are truly “living” though.
Every time I move out of my comfort zone and do something that I haven’t done before or don’t know what to expect a few things happen.
I live in the NOW. When you are doing something that is unknown you don’t have these pathways set up in your being that predict the next step. This actually keeps you in the moment because you can’t project forward to the next thing, because you really don’t know what that is going to be. Life seems to unfolds rather than progresses step by step, so living in the now moment is quite natural and easy. You also can’t rely on your past experiences to dictate what will happen next as everything is unknown and new. Again this keeps you in the NOW. Going away on holiday is a great example of living in the now when we are away from our daily routine and usually in an unfamiliar place. Living in the NOW feels good, which is why we love going on holiday!
The other thing I notice is that I make interesting decisions on my next steps. When you do something that you never thought you could do (outside of your comfort zone), it makes decision making about choices in your life much different. Once you have accomplished something outside of your comfort zone, then your future decisions are not based on fear; fear of unknown, fear of failing, or fear of what your capabilities are. Because you have just survived the unknown by living outside of your known comfort zone and capabilities, it opens up a whole new expansiveness of possibilities. The safe environment and routine that I am used to no longer seems like the best idea, and decisions to move outside of this and try new things just comes naturally and without fear or questioning.
Living in the NOW feels great! But it takes a big step to move out of comfort zones in order to live in the now. Even just the simple steps to try new things helps you live in the NOW!
I believe that knowing who we are at our unique soul level holds the key to living an authentic and joyful life. Once we know who we are, we can begin to BE who we are, and then BECOME who we were always destined to be.
Copyright 2023 Paula Vanderzon