Don’t exchange your comfort zone for an icky zone and confuse that with moving toward magic. Magic NEVER feels icky! Exhilarating? Yes. Scary? Probably. But never icky. My pondering juices started flowing yesterday morning when I read two articles on yoga and how most people shouldn’t even be doing it. Many folks have jumped into yoga as the latest health fad without relying on the wisdom of listening to their bodies... A repeating result is that they end up injured and upset rather than invigorated and enlightened. My pondering continued as I had a discussion with a very wise friend around a diagram shared on Facebook which suggests one needs to move out of the comfort zone to find magic. While I heartily agree with this sentiment, I decided to create a slightly revised version (see diagram) and shall repeat: Don’t exchange your comfort zone for an icky zone and confuse that with moving toward magic.
Magic doesn’t feel icky. Like in yoga, if a pose feels bad or harmful (icky), back off! We are a culture of strivers. This means we put strenuous efforts toward our goals. We struggle vigorously in opposition and resistance. How magical does that sound or feel in your body? It resonates downright icky to me. Magic isn’t about striving nor is it always comfortable getting there. Magic movement is about operating in that sweet spot between icky and complacently comfortable (“Comfortably Numb," anyone?) In this discussion, comfortable speaks of familiarity... but is familiar always comfortable? It’s reasonably predictable, but is it satisfying and fulfilling?
So here’s a super simple example from my childhood of moving out of the comfort zone. When I was a kid, I only ate what I “liked” ... that is I ate what I knew I liked, because I was afraid of eating something that might taste yucky (a close cousin to icky). It seems ridiculous now, but it was a big deal as a child. My veggie comfort zone was potatoes, corn and an occasional carrot. No greens. No salad. Lots of starch. This went on for years until one evening I went to a fancy restaurant with friends and the dinner came with salad. Yikes! What was my 12-year-old-self to do? At home I could have refused the plate of greens, but here I was in public with generous hosts and an inner voice that encouraged me to not be rude. Small as it may sound now, it was a pivotal point in my risk-taking progress. My comfort zone shifted slightly that night. As we sat high above Oklahoma City in the upscale restaurant that slowly revolved as we dined, I decided it was less uncomfortable to eat the salad than to stay in my existent comfort zone and be embarrassed by my salad aversion. A nice surprise happened that twilight evening as I risked moving out of my comfort zone. I discovered I love salad—really love it—and this morning I sit here sipping my green smoothie while I play with these words ☺.
Magic often comes by taking the smallest of steps out of the comfort zone—one toe in front of the other. (Like trying salad.) It’s not about replacing comfort with icky. Even though the greens might have tasted yucky, I was willing to take the risk, and my body didn’t feel icky doing it. (Nervous? Yes. A little scared? Probably. But not icky.) Moving toward magic comes from the place inside where you know the risk is greater to stay where you are than to move out of your current zone. It’s the tiny step where moving toward your dream feels better than staying in the shell. Movement is the magic.
Where will you risk stepping out of the comfort zone today? What "salad" is ready to go on our plate? If you need a little push, let me know! ☺
diagram © 2012, Kayce S. Hughlett