For most of us our passion, joy and playfulness lie outside of our comfort zone.

Reality is not absolute, it is unique to each of us. Reality is nothing more than our excuse for staying right where we are – in our comfort zone. If we can’t come close to guaranteeing a desired outcome, few of us act. We don’t trust ourselves to emotionally navigate all that may arise so we limit what we allow. When we start to get too excited about a prospect all we need is a good reality check to shut us down.

Reality has become synonymous with pessimism and for most of us it has made our comfort zone anything but comfortable. Within most people’s comfort zones you will find disproportionate amounts of depression, anxiety, frustration, stagnated relationships and dead end jobs. Yet we stay within its confines because somewhere along the line we made the cosmic calculation that what is known is preferable to what is not. We find comfort in the fact that we can handle what we have even if we don’t particularly like it.

Going outside our comfort zone, no matter how minutely, is a risky business always punctuated by some permutation of fear. Not so much the fear of success or failure but fear of experiencing emotions beyond what we believe we can handle. We actually fear our emotions about an event or experience more than we fear the experience itself. This is because the event is finite, but the emotions persist and grow. If we fail at a new job we fear that will not be able to handle the emotional ramifications of guilt, shame, self-doubt, regret etc… Anticipating the magnitude of such feelings is paralyzing to us. We simply will not risk the possibility of us reeling out of control into some form of psychic disintegration.

Try as we might to hide in our comfort zone, life will not allow it. We contort ourselves to stay in marriages that have stagnated, jobs that stress us out, environments that make us sick, and commitments that drain us. Despite the agony, most of us only leave our comfort zone when we are outright ejected by a major life event, illness or trauma. But it doesn’t have to be that way – instead we can choose to step out a little each day or better yet invite more in…

Beyond the comfort zone of our limited reality is all possibility, the vast unknown, all that has yet to be experienced and explored. A concept that makes control freaks freak out. If only we can see our way through that mindset of fear to the excitement, wonder, and curiosity that lies just on the other side, then our experience of life can change in an instant.

Shedding the limitations of our reality on a daily basis is the only way to live a fulfilled life. I am speaking to that part of us all that knows that we are playing small – way beneath who we truly are; to the part of us that is passionate, powerful beyond measure, limitless, and an expression of pure love and joy.

How many times a day do you experience those parts of yourself in your current reality?

Peace Practice:  Expand your comfort zone

  • Notice where and whenyou use the ‘reality’ excuse to keep you in your comfort zone.
  • Notice what is in your comfort zone -Loneliness? illness? depression? anxiety?
  • Notice what lies just beyond your comfort zone, and gently start inviting it in.

By Jill Lankler

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