Friday, August 30, 2013

Comfort is a Killer


noun: comfort
a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint.

things that contribute to physical ease and well-being.

prosperity and the pleasant lifestyle secured by it.

synonyms: ease, relaxation, repose, serenity, tranquil

It is in our nature as humans to seek comfort, to shy away from the things that displease or make us feel uneasy. In the winter, we seek the comfort of warmth, and in the summer, a respite under a shady tree.  During times of sorrow we seek the comfort of trusted friends and family. Comfort is needed sometimes for survival, but it can be insidious in nature when we are not careful. We are conditioned to seek ease and flow in our lives to steer clear of things that hurt, but it is the need for comfort that can create the very dis-ease that we seek to avoid. 

My life has been comfortable to say the least: outright cozy and plush! But through a series of lessons in this master class called Life, I have learned that in seeking comfort and ease, I have often hindered myself from enormous growth. In my experience, during times when I allow myself to feel uneasy, I flourish the most. The choice to bend and stretch past my current capacity has often created amazing opportunities and rewards. Much like the strengthening of sinews pushed beyond their comfort zone, a new world of ability is opened when we allow ourselves the gift of discomfort. Discomfort is a gift that brings unrealized potential to all those who melt into its sticky, icky messiness. It's in the being in it that our power is realized.

There is a saying that I often think of when I go about my daily activities, be they small or large: "How you do anything is how you do everything." The lesson of this quote became clear to me while working out the other day. I was doing an exercise called a plank and had maintained the posture for my usual average time. (If you're unfamiliar with the plank exercise, it's essentially holding yourself in the top part of a push up.) It doesn't seem like much, but after a minute or two, it is killer! I was looking at my stopwatch, and as I was rounding the time when my muscles would usually give out, I noticed myself already preparing to get out of position. I was ready to give up at my usual point of discomfort. Well, I was feeling ballsy on this particular day and decided to hold out past my usual time; to my amazement, I lasted far beyond my usual record! This experience brought about a few thoughts. The first was: "Holy crap, I'm pretty much a super hero!" and the second: "How often have I chosen to give up just before creating a new personal best in other areas of my life?" 

If how you do anything is how you do everything, there must be countless times where things got uncomfortable, and instead of easing into the discomfort, I let go instead. Comfort is a killer, because it murders potential. What I was letting go of was not uneasiness or pain, but actually a chance to be a better version of my current self. With the insight gained from this particular experience, I've chosen to commit myself to getting uncomfortable as often as possible. The deliciousness that awaits on the other side of the creepy, crawly uneasiness is far too wonderful to pass up! 

So I ask, where in your life have you become a little too cozy? What things have you left unsaid or what opportunities have you left untaken? Stretch beyond your normal. What I hope for you, dear reader, is to have a life full of uncomfortable moments. I wish for you to be pushed beyond your personal best on a daily basis. Create miracles in your every action by going beyond what's easy. Comment below and share one way you plan to get uncomfortable.