I recently attended a burlesque workshop. But this post is not about the experience of taking that class. The story there is short: the workshop itself was awful - a full bait and switch routine. Due to this I left early and didn't return for the second workshop. The end.
What this post is about is the myth of comfort zones. When I signed up for the class I also posted on Facebook about how I was stepping way outside of my comfort zone by doing this. Immediately after I wrote this I felt a strange something in my belly. Something about those words comfort zone just didn't ring true.
We hear this and similar phrases so much that they have a way of becoming part of a vocabulary that we haven't defined for ourselves. So I asked myself if that was what I was doing - was I stepping out of my own life somehow? Disconnecting myself from it in some way? Is that even possible to do? What is a comfort zone anyway?
The more I thought about it, the more I knew that signing up and taking this class wasn't about stepping out of my comfort zone at all. Yes, it was something different than my norm, yet in some ways not at all out of character for me. I didn't do it thinking I would somehow become a burlesque dancer in my forties, I did it simply to say that I tried it. I thought perhaps it would be a fun way to tap into my sexy again after birthing my babies and a funny experience to look back on years from today. Yes, I was secretly hoping that not everyone there would be a Beyonce look-alike dressed like Dita Von Teese and the bodies to match, but I surrendered to the fact that if they were, so be it.
To imply to myself that I was stepping out of something comfortable would be to say that I had somehow cocooned myself into a false sense of what comfort is. A zone filled with limits and padding and fear and protection and a false sense of security and closed off to new experience. One that wasn't open to adventure or saying yes or expansion or life. No, this wasn't me at all and my definition of a comfort zone wasn't at all comforting. There have been times when I have retreated to that uncomfort zone, but not now.
I am not this person... and I bet neither are you.
I realized that by doing this I wasn't stepping out of anything, but rather stepping into possibility. Whether it was signing up for this class, (or submitting a class proposal, organizing a retreat, sending that email), I was simply expanding my space and welcoming opportunities for growth and experience. This is something we all do, each morning, just by getting dressed, walking out the door and being open to what the day will bring.
If you want to see stepping into possibility in action just take some time to observe how children play, discover and explore their surroundings. After observing my own girls daily I see that possibility is something they step into naturally, and that comfort zones only exist in our minds.
Once I realized that I wasn't stepping outside of anything by taking this class but rather stepping into possibility, the funny feeling in my belly calmed and the bigger picture became quite clear. Our whole lives are about stepping into possibility as a pathway to growth and expansion and we get to choose which steps we take.
Yes, sometimes stepping into possibility may feel uncomfortable, but there is nothing comfortable about creating false boundaries with no space to grow either. We don't disconnect from our lives by stepping out of it to grow, we step more fully into our lives which makes us more whole. I am therefore striking the words comfort zone from my vocabulary and embracing all the possibility I am stepping into. I think some fun new shoes are in order for the remainder of the journey.
Curious as to what areas of possibility you are stepping into?