You know those little voices in the back of your mind? The ones that tell you about all of the wonders that are out in the world — and in turn you find yourself daydreaming about doing them? We sit there — our hearts fill up, our eyes get wide, and a smile starts to curve its way into the corners of our lips. We see ourselves doing these fantastic things we’ve been dreaming of, and for a while, we feel like anything is possible.
Then, out of nowhere, the other voices start to take control again. These other voices tell us that these absurd fantasies are never going to happen and we need to keep our head on straight and focus on what is in front of us. In other words, we give ourselves a reality check. We think that the voice telling us to stay put is actually our wiser, more reasonable self. And in turn, we think that the voice telling us to “go for it” is a sneaky little devil trying to stir up frisky business in our comfortable lives.
But that’s just it. We think this because we’re too comfortable.
We like to live in this little place called a comfort zone. A place where we not only know our surroundings but can predict what will happen in the next day, week, month, or year. We like this zone because with the ability to have control over all aspects, the fear of change is nearly non-existent and this leaves us feeling “comfortable”. I know that you are familiar with this place, but have you ever really thought about it?
When was the last time you got into bed and couldn’t wipe the smile off your face? A smile of which resulted because of the way the day had turned out to be nothing of what you expected when you woke up — but in the best way? When you were able to put away the agenda and go with the flow allowing life to happen before your eyes? When you allowed yourself to be completely spontaneous — with an open mind and heart?
I hope it was recent. I also hope that it happens often. But sadly, for a lot of us it doesn’t. Not because we choose to not, but because we can sometimes get so wrapped up in our day to day lives that we forget not only how much this feeling can enhance our lives and thoughts, but also how easily achievable it can really be.
Have you ever wondered why living this way brings us comfort, and leaves us wanting to stay? Because the truth is, most of the time, leaving your comfort zone shows you that you really weren’t all that comfortable after all.
Coming to the realization that you have the power to decide which voices get heard above the rest is one of the most empowering things a human can do for themselves. You can have whatever you want, and you can let yourself listen to the voices that tell you that.
Using yoga and meditation is one of the greatest tools we have in finding the courage to step outside of these comfort zones. Yoga teaches us that grounding is an essential part of life and of the practice, and without it we can often loose our balance — both physically and mentally. The only difference is that in our practice, we can find that root anywhere we are. We find comfort knowing that we can set up stop and drop into down-dog in the middle of any city, forest, or place that otherwise has a flat and solid floor. But this comfort is healthy because it promotes not only finding roots in the midst of change, but a reminder to not root down in one place so far that you’re branches can’t sway to any other place.
I challenge you to observe your comfort zone; all that it entails. The people, the stores, the foods, places, the music, the art, the morals, ideals, opinions. Look at them, actually think about them. And then realize everything that is outside of that. As near to you as a place in your own town you have never ventured to before, or as far as the other side of the world.
Now, next time you are in a muscle burning pose or simply sitting in a meditation, I want you to let the thoughts of stepping outside of your comfort zone take you to the next level. Actually envision yourself stepping out of it and doing whatever that may mean to you — big or small. Because the thing is, is that nobody is ever fully ready. And so to wait until you’re ready, is to sacrifice your own happiness. There is only now, and now is as good of a time as any.
So do it. Listen to the good voices and go get a thrill, go make your heart full and warm, go meet some awesome new people, and go impress the hell out of your own damn self. The way you view yourself and the way others view you will change in the best way — because your light will start to shine right out of you, and the brightness won’t go unnoticed by either. Small steps lead to big steps, and the bigger steps will be easier with every one of the little ones.
Do yourself the favor; give yourself the permission. Get out of your uncomfortable comfort zone.
Everything you want awaits you on the other side.