I bet you haven't really thought much lately about what lies beneath many of your decisions and daily routines. What if you (and almost everyone else on the planet) have been unconsciously going for what is comfortable INSTEAD OF what enlivens you and matters to you?
I'm thinking about this now because I just finished a workshop about confidence. We were challenged to accept that getting out of our comfort zone was key. The challenge we were given (over the lunch break) was to step into the shower and take a freezing cold shower for 30 seconds.
Getting your body acclimated to the cold has proven health benefits (and a few risks for those not in great shape, so read up first.) I know this.
This was also a showpiece activity for the first part of the workshop.
Did I do it?
No way. There are lots of excuses I could make, such as we only had 20 minutes in which to do this AND grab lunch, I've done this practice before etc... but the cold (no pun intended) hard truth is that I was feeling quite comfortable and cosy and didn't want to douse myself in that icy water.
The result? Not to play full-out in the training. Not to discover what might come up for me if I followed the program - even if it was life-altering. I chose staying comfortable over learning something important and perhaps even discovering a healthy practice I would come to rely on in time.
I began to think about a time in my life when comfort WASN'T as important. A time when I would do what I though was BEST, instead of what was easiest.
In my 20s, when I just wouldn't eat if there wasn't something healthy on offer. I'd wait.
In my 30s, when I'd go camping for a week, hauling all my gear and food with me, immersing myself in nature instead of car-camping.
In my early 40s, when I'd travel overseas 'on the cheap' - no air-conditioning, no nice buses, no fancy hotels - BUT lots of authentic local experiences.
Huh. I realized that once I reached a certain age it wasn't an easy decision for me to give up a habit that felt comfortable and cozy, even if intellectually I could see the benefit.
It probably isn't for you either.
Like a comfort food that is DEFINITELY not helping you lose weight.
Like a morning routine that includes you looking at your phone while scarfing a muffin instead of fixing a healthy breakfast and spending 20 minutes on the exercise bike.
Like that afternoon coffee and cookie pick-me-up instead of a quick walk or set of stairs to wake you up.
Like watching TV collapsed on the sofa instead of taking the edge off a stressful day with a few minutes of yoga or breath work.
Like letting a little rain or heat or wind derail your walk.
And yet, with health, as with confidence and life itself, sticking to what is comfortable and easy is how we cheat ourselves.
The lure of easy and comfortable beckons. The siren song of the 'way I always do things' is strong.
But you, my friend, are stronger.
Perhaps it's time we take stock to see how far off course our very human desire for comfort and ease has taken us from our path to amazing health and vitality and really being able to engage with life.
And to ask, the next time we're doing the comfortable, familiar, unhealthy thing...
Am I really so fragile?
Is my desire for MORE ENERGY, LESS WEIGHT, MORE CALM really so unimportant?
Am I truly that delicate flower that can't withstand a little bit of a challenge?
I'll step up if you will.
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