Does Stepping Out Of One’s Comfort Zone Have To Be Uncomfortable?

June 9th, 2016 Debra Mann

This is the question I’ve been asking myself lately. “Does stepping out of one’s comfort-zone have to be uncomfortable?”  The desired answer to this question is a hopeful “No”. But, the obvious answer would seem to be a resounding “Yes”.  Yet, perhaps, another possibility exists somewhere in between, in a definite “Maybe.”

Personal growth, as an artist and spiritual being, has always been important to me and was much more attainable when I only had myself to think about.  For the past twenty years, my family has taken center stage in my life, which afforded me much growth as a mother to my sons, and partner to my husband. But, now, I seem to be bursting with an irrepressible desire to do things that, to some extent, had been placed on the proverbial back burner.

This year, I’ve become inspired to do a crowdfunding campaign to fund a new recording of the music of Joni Mitchell (one of my early musical influences).  I’ve spent months reading, planning, budgeting, thinking, and putting one foot in front of the other toward that goal. It’s been slow going, with starts and stops all along the way.  All I can say is that, as much as I want to do this, “It’s hard!”.  My desire has propelled me well out of my comfort zone and has challenged me to push myself in ways that I never have before.

It occurs to me that the discomfort I’ve experienced in stretching out of my comfort zone may be due to bumping up against a limited perception of myself, a perception that I had unknowingly accepted as the truth about who I am, and what I am capable of.

There is an old Buddhist saying that comes to mind. “Resistance is the cause of all suffering.”  The awareness of my resistance, and those small spaces in my thinking became a key to understanding myself and my process.

In my acceptance of the fact that the effort involved may be hard, though rewarding, I’ve discovered a joyful willingness to press forward with positive expectation, trusting in my heart to guide me through any perceived discomfort. And, as a result, this has opened the door to greater personal growth and freedom.

It seems to me, we are like the little seed, germinating in the dark soil, stretching up toward the sunlight which holds the promise of life.  Little-by-little, we find our way from seed to seedling, and bud to blossom.  But, what if the seed were to say, “It’s too hard”, and give up?  We would never know what thing of beauty awaits our efforts when we have enough faith as that little seed.


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