My rant post…
Oh 2020, you will be remembered but not missed. I would like to thank you first and foremost for pushing me out of my comfort zone.
I remember February so clearly, I was standing on a beach in the Dominican Republic thinking about how island nations might be able to harness the energy of the wind, tides, waves and the sun in a sustainable way without ruining the land and thrusting huge machines into the air or sea. Hopeful. Covid was hovering but still far away.
In March, I was in Houston, taking the light rail to go to the rodeo with my daughter and granddaughter, stepped off and found they had just shut it down and were not letting anymore people in. After that it was the domino effect and one thing after the other got shut down. WTF. Drifting without an anchor and no way to chart the waters. Bumping into disbelief and uncertainty.
I felt like I was being slammed around like a loose beach ball in a hurricane while dealing with fires, from Australia to the Pacific Northwest. I was further floored by the thousands stranded at borders and ripped from families, stupidity in the name of politics, lives of millions dealt with a head in the sand attitude about something virtually invisible but deadly while Bangladesh, The Maldives and other island nations are being consumed with the water level rising.
I felt hopeless for my inability to do anything to help. Oh, I sent money and I talked with my Australian friends who assured me it wasn’t the whole country on fire, but still. A big hole in my happiness balloon.
I got dark. My mood, my outlook, my day to day attitude. For about a week. Then, I got over my little pity party and got to work.
I had been living in my comfort zone for about a year. I had become complacent and looking at life through the rose-colored glasses and my own narrow lens on life. Sure, it was really comfortable there and I knew it well. I partied there, had friends there and spent too much money there.
So that March in 2020 slammed me down like a giant wave, pushing the air out me and filling my mouth with gritty reality. I’m thankful now but I sure as hell wasn’t then and we all know the worst hadn’t come yet.
The turning point for my waking up came in May, when Darryl Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis and a wave of protests started and moved around the world. That comfort zone just became more uncomfortable.
I realized that I didn’t want to be comfortable all the time. I wanted to push into those places where I felt vulnerable and raw and naked. That is where I become stronger and resilient and challenge the dark places inside me. And yes, I have to embrace my darkness if I want to know the light. I have to be willing to be uncomfortable and challenge my assumptions about things and I needed to learn more about compassion and waking up to what is really going on around me.
But hey, this is getting pretty heavy and that isn’t what I want to express either. I wanted balance. I wanted to wander in my comfort zone for a hug during the day and on the weekends and when I needed it. But I didn’t want to live there.
I just bought Pen Chodron’s new book titled Welcoming the Unwelcome and she talks about a model describing the process of growth from the psychologist, Lev Vygotsky in the 1930s. Picture a circle with three parts. The smallest inner circle is The Comfort Zone. Then comes the Learning Challenge Zone and the outer circle is The Excessive Risk Zone. I sure as hell don’t want to slip into the Excessive Risk Zone too often although I have and am still here so it if I can make it most anyone can.
So, I would say I am happy with a balance in the Comfort Zone and The Learning Challenge Zone and live there about 90-95% of the time and find myself in the Excessive Risk Zone about 5-10% of the time.
Because I am a morning person, I am happy as a pig looking for mushrooms doing research, reading and writing in the mornings and up until about 2:00 PM. Then poke me with a stick because my brain is a sandwich short of a picnic after that.
Around 3:30 or so I love to fall into my comfort zone with some salty pleasure- Turkish dry, soft olives, roasted salted almonds from Trader Joe’s and maybe a glass of wine, coconut water or my favorite, water.
But sometimes, I need something sweet. Then, my happy place is eating one or two or yes, more sometimes if it has been a rough day, of those dark chocolate, creamy mints also from Trader Joe’s. Now my nearest Joe’s is an hour away so those have to last me for a while but I just noticed I can now purchase that minty goodness on Amazon so who knows what the future holds. Auto-ship? Yum.
Mainly, take care of yourself. Don’t ignore those shadowy dark places that are part of you and reside in your being. Lean into them and make them work for you. But when you need comfort then by all means, have something that satisfies you to the max and lets you know you are amazing.
Thanks for listening…