Pain. Pain to heal. Pain to get to the other side of an issue. Physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual or just a pain in the buns, they range from fierce to annoying. The pain can be short-term or linger for what seems like forever.
First learning about the concept of the Comfort Zone in a language class, the teacher said that the best speakers would be fearless in trying the language in new settings, and would need to move out of the comfort zone of the class. Since then the picture of a bull’s-eye comes to mind when my gut tells me to get out of the center and move to the far edge. Now, even knowing that for about a zillion years, being fearful in some form, or for some lesser emotion, is still a heard in my ear and felt in my body.
Since all of us humans are fairly alike, my assumption is that, unless you are a practicing Buddhist monk or nun, you feel it too. What I have learned, is that visualizing that bulls’ eye helps. The yellow has lots of room in which to wiggle around and still be ok–the get to the edge and move slightly into red, and so forth. Imagine a child jumping off a diving board for the first time and then at the end of the summer when they are flipping like crazy people. All the chemicals from the brain warning us of danger and the physical reactions to that danger are the same ones that make us crazy with anger and fear and strike first or run.
There are lots of fearful and angry people in the world. And there are lots of people who love to blame anything or anyone who makes them feel pain…the pain of loss or unfulfilled dreams or lack of self-worth or shame or embarrassment for the way their life has gone so far. To become an extraordinary elder moving from the things you know to some activities or people or places you are not immediately comfortable with is a goal to set for yourself. Ask around about new places to do a daily walk. One year I went to eight parks in Denver where I had never been. I also found three new places for ice cream around the parks. If you are concerned for health and safety, tell someone where you will be and check in when you get home.
When did you last make a new acquaintance? When did you last shop at a different store for groceries? Do you always go to the same type of movies? These are all basically low pain activities to get you comfortable with spreading your wings and moving to a different color on the eye. You can always run (well, walk) back to the center of the yellow. But, if you are out on the blue ring for long enough–it becomes your new yellow and you start your push to fearlessness again. It takes practice and you are not too old to learn this trick.
If you have children in your life you can watch them and see clearly how they push out and fall back and start over and over again to gain power over the pain of the unknown. We also see the children who have a high need for safety and moral support before they can flap those fearless wings. There is pain in doing and there is pain in not doing.
Some of those choices are yours.
Enjoy the summer–we could be having snow in Denver in 5 weeks.