Don’t know about you, but I am most at ease when I’m in my so called comfort zone. And why wouldn’t I be… it’s the one place, or state of mind if you will, where I am in complete control, relaxed, and above all… tension free. Well… sort of.
To be perfectly honest, this comfort zone of mine is only truly tension free as long as I don’t venture too far from my center.
And for those times when I’m inspired to push the envelope somewhat, by maybe trying something new, exciting, or challenging, I quickly realize the same tension I claim to be free of is, in reality, trying its best, for lack of a better term, to imprison me.
You see… anytime I set sail to broaden my horizons, by trying to expand and maybe enhance this comfort zone of mine a bit, the minute I get too close to the edge, I begin to sense this uncomfortable force, or tension if you will, trying to push me back, as if to say… STOP…who in the hell do you think you are?
Well now, there’s an interesting question to ponder… one that will most certainly determine my next move. I can either muster up a little attitude, confidence, and determination to find a way through, or back off and grab my blankie, metaphorically speaking, and only dream of what’s on the other side.
Sound familiar? Have you ever tried facing down a deep seeded fear – considered quitting smoking – muddled through the day to day of learning to play an instrument – agonized over asking that special person out for dinner – envisioned persuading the boss that you’re worth more money – fantasized about making a career change – lost sleep wondering if it’s the right time to start a family? The litany of potential life changing decisions goes on and on. Yes… who in the hell do you think you are?
Well… there’s only one way to find out.
Listen… as far as dreaming goes, there’s nothing wrong with it, in fact, that’s where desire begins to burn. Though these embers are intense… they’ll soon flicker out without additional fuel. Sooner or later you owe it to yourself to push that dream through to the next level, by fanning those flames like there’s no tomorrow.
I can’t imagine how different my life would be today if I didn’t decide one afternoon long ago to dry my sweaty palms, calm my pounding heart, and go for broke by asking this beautiful girl, who out classed me in every way, if I could simply carry her books and walk her home from school. I figured for sure she’d come with some excuse to say no… but she didn’t. This wonderful woman is now my wife of over 40 years. That decision was a game changer for sure.
The day I finally decided to once and for all quit smoking was also a major turning point in my life… one which not only benefited me, but my entire family as well. Talk about getting through some tension… mercy! Talk about being worth it… beyond my wildest dreams! In fact, if I could somehow verbally paint a picture of how my life has been enriched as a direct result of not wavering from this one decision, I would, for sure have a bestselling masterpiece on my hands.
Okay… not every decision is as life changing as these… but honestly, many are.
Just think for a moment of that one decision you made over the course of your life, which ended up taking you in a completely new and wonderful unforeseen direction. Come on… everyone has at least one.
Now… ponder for a moment on what you would have missed out on, if for some reason, in that moment, you instead chose to turn back and play it safe.
Believe me, I realize to most of you who read my blog… this is no epiphany. On the other hand, there are those, who every time, when on the verge of pushing through to something new, exciting, and yes… maybe even life changing, quickly cave the very moment they feel the least bit of tension, forever re-enforcing their same old, same old… comfort zone.
Here’s the way I see it. Tension is like this bully standing between you and where you want to be… the more it’s feared, the stronger it becomes. Face it down with courage and tenacity and it loses its resolve, allowing you to push through.
I know people who stare it down on a regular basis, and man, they make it look easy. They simply relax, slowly move forward knowing they won’t be denied, and slither right through, as if nothing was there. Don’t you just hate those folks?
As I have written in a previous post, “Your Music Will Flow as You Trust and Let Go,” I have learned… that just beyond tension, there is a sweet release which opens up like a blooming flower to something completely new and exhilarating. Once you’ve experience this euphoria a time or two, there’ll be no turning back.
Listen…you were kicking and screaming when you left your first God given comfort zone… the womb, which released you to your second… your life. One day you will leave that comfort zone as well, to be released to your last, which I believe is eternal life. P.S. Kicking and screaming are optional.
Between those two bookends are endless layers of unique and wonderful zones of comfort in which to live. Each zone is separated by an energy force known as tension. This tension can either be accepted as a force which keeps you contained and content, or be manipulated as an energy source to propel you through wherever you dare to go.
The truth is… the size, color, definition, beauty, and every other amenity of your personal comfort zone, is determined by one thing and one thing only… you!
Ian Anderson, front man for Jethro Tull once wrote, “Life’s a long song”…. and for that very reason our dreams often end up taking a back seat in the comfort of our complacency. After all… there’s always tomorrow.
But Ian also wrote the second line to that lyric… it’s the one with punch… “but the tune ends too soon for us all.”
Boy, I sure process this song differently now than I did as a young man of 18. Click below and give it a listen.
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