The End of My Comfort Zone

485350_451084468293716_1497208874_n“Self-sabotage is just misguided self-love.” ~ Brad Yates

I’ve been thinking this week about clutter.  Clutter in my heart.  Clutter in my home.  Clutter in my mind. I realize that I need to do some deep cleaning of my inner life. I need to root out the areas of resistance I have to taking action. I must do this in order to see the progress I claim I want to see. This is particularly true of my quest for companionship/love/affection and my desire for better health (including improved diet and exercise).  It also encompasses my need to finish a number of long-standing, stalled book projects.  (Six, to be exact.  Three of which will probably never see the light of day. I should file them away in the “What I Learned from Failing to Complete this Project,” folder.)

Take Risks or Risk Regrets.

There’s a reason I’m stuck.

There’s a reason I’m procrastinating.

There is some sort of pay off in staying stuck, or I wouldn’t do it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this — and about our human tendency to do this — recognizing that at the root of the root of the root of it, I am afraid. I am afraid I’ll be hurt again — badly — if I stick my neck out and go after love, or a book contract, or a more healthy way of being in the world.

Of course, in a way that doesn’t make sense.  I claim I want to give my heart.  I claim I am willing. But I don’t do it.  So, there’s that.

I have to look at that. I have to get my shovel out, and start uprooting the parts of my resistance that indicate that movement on these issues will make me vulnerable to pain, rejection, loss.

Even if it’s true.

Yep. If I get out there, I may be rejected.  But if I don’t, my life will continue to shrink.  And as much as I do not want to be brought to my knees by love once again, the alternative is not without risk. Standing outside the swirl and drumbeat of life might feel safer, but, really, it’s no life.  No life at all.

Love is the Juice of Life.

I worked all week on an issue on my online magazine, Kalliope.  The topic?  Love.  It was both sobering and illuminating to see the various ways that my young students think about love.  Many of them still believe in the wild-eyed, Disney version.  Others see the humor in our fumbling affection for one another.  For still others, it is a topic that they clearly hold at arm’s length.  Self-love is a blurry figure, walking in the distance, right at the edge of their vision.  They don’t see it as the foundation for all other love.  They don’t see that what you can’t give yourself, you can’t give to others.  They want love to come wrapped up in the gaze of another person.  And who doesn’t?  Who doesn’t want to be the object of someone’s blind affection?  It’s lovely.  It’s the best thing ever.  Until it isn’t.

I guess this week I am getting the reminder wallop:  Love yourself first.  Trust that you can handle what life sends you.  Don’t worry incessantly that if you open your life up again — if you send out your manuscript or offer your heart  — that you will be shattered if your gifts aren’t openly or enthusiastically received. Life asks us to take risks so we will grow.  Staying in the same small clay-pot-of-a-life, simply because you might not immediately feel comfortable in the bigger, more sunlit part of the yard, is counter-intuitive.

Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying.

So, as uncomfortable as I might be in terms of pushing myself to get out there, get out there, I must.

I want a big life. Less than a full-throated answer to life’s call will not do.

© 2013  Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved

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8 thoughts on “The End of My Comfort Zone

  1. Walking with you on this one! Take little steps: best advice I ever got and most helpful when I actually follow it! This past summer, my husband lost his eye in a bungee cord accident. Horrible left hook to his life, let me tell you. AND…it has also offered him an opportunity to totally reinvent his life, which he’s begun doing. When we hoed out the downstairs of our split level house, his “man-cave” which was heaped with so much old stuff, it was as if a stone came off his chest. He’s applying to an MFA program in Digital Media and it’s like he’s a new person–more energy, focus, attention. Feng Shui, likely, but I also think it’s the little step that allow the next one. And it’s inspiring me…as your blog posts always do! Keep on truckin’!

  2. No life at all is so true for me, for the past 13 years. It was safe, but very sad and lonely. I finally broke from my “safe” shell, so far life has been wonderful. Don’t know what the future might bring but now, I am brave enough to take a chance. I might be down on my knees, who knows, but as of today i am simply enjoying this wonderful ride. Your articles are inspiring, thanks.

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