Tonight, I will begin my 40th or perhaps 50th meditation retreat. (I stopped counting after 30). I should be excited. Retreats are always helpful – even, or rather especially, the difficult ones. I always emerge calmer, gain insights, develop connections (even in silence), and sometimes unleash deep buried tears, clamoring to come to the surface.
My husband is leading this one and our daughter will be flying in from Berkeley to join us. It is being held at a beautiful local retreat center, surrounded by nature and hiking trails and there’s even a labyrinth on the property. I am looking forward to all of that and… I hear the familiar trope in my head:
- Part of me wants to go and it’s hard to sit still for so many hours.(Desire for comfort)
- Will my knees cooperate or will I have to (begrudgingly) sit in a chair? (Ego)
- What’s going to come up? Will I have to sit, literally, with difficult emotions? (Fear)
- Maybe I should stay home with our dog, Nola. She is so sensitive and attached to me. (Excuse).
And this is not the only context where I feel ambivalence. I still have resistance before attending personal growth events, presenting at big conferences, and even dancing in public. And these are things that I want to do!
What do they all have in common? In each case, I am stepping out my cocoon of comfort, into areas of potential discomfort – situations where my ego, desire for safety, and predictability can be challenged.
But, for me, and all of you, getting out of our comfort zone is the exact spot where our growth begins. We cannot grow if we do not expand our boundaries of comfort. Sure, we can stay “safely” at home but we would also be depriving ourselves of opportunities to grow and learn.
Is there something you know would be good for but that you consistently avoid? Perhaps it is saying “yes” to a stretch, leaving a stale community affiliation, or even breaking a habitual, negative familial pattern. If so, what’s blocking you beyond comfort? And, perhaps more importantly, what might you gain from crossing the threshold of comfort?
I invite you to choose something your wise inner self knows would be valuable and gently step into any area of discomfort. If you need some guidance and support, come to my upcoming Day of Embracing the Middle. You never know what gifts could be awaiting you on the other side.
Wishing us all strength and courage to embrace our resistances!