For the past few years, I’ve seen more and more things about how everything magical and meaningful happens in our comfort zones. Injunctions to get out of our comfort zone. And it’s indeed so true, growth certainly doesn’t seed there.
As an old friend used to tell me “There’s no comfort in growth, and no growth in comfort”.
But constant growth is in no way healthier than avoiding growth like the plague.
It is just the two sides of the same coin, that could be named “Hindering development”.
Wether we are trying to accelerate growth by only focusing on it, or trying to slow it by staying hidden in our comfort zone : we will hinder the natural course of our development, and we will suffer from it.
Growth is only part of our development. Rest is another. Reflection yet another. Ambivalence is one too. Resistance, totally a part of it as well. Planning? Another one! Letting go and shedding what doesn’t serve? Yes, you guessed it… Another one. Even death is one, the end of a cycle, before decomposition.
The idea that development is an either/or concept, something we are either doing or not is ludicrous and way too simplistic to be realistic.
You can simply observe biology or the weather to know about that, Nature is always a great teacher about what it means to be alive.
A flower will have many stages of development between being a seed, growing, blooming and wilting.
Spring is the season where everything bloom, explosive and intensely living, Summer the one where things slowly grow and mature, Autumn the one where trees are shedding and lots of harvest happens, Winter the one where Nature is resting, and preparing for next Spring. All parts of the cycle are crucial and interdependent.
This is why, when I am (or my patients are) overwhelmed and lost, I love to start from our comfort zone to get back to ourselves, to take stock and prepare for what's to come. This can mean many different things depending on who we are, and what we grow comfortable with.
For me, I feel safer and more comfortable in three kinds of environments :
- watching TV shows/movies/books that will remind me how loving people, family and community and how life can be beautiful (uplifting stories)
- taking online classes on writing/painting/drawing or learning about new concepts about psychology and sociology through talks/webinars/readings (learning about what matters the most to me)
- practicing the four sure-fire ways to connect to myself : meditation, journalling, yoga, art-making (trusty self-care + alone/quiet time)
These are three places I know what is going to happen, and I know I’m going to feel good in them.
I’m so comfortable there, than my very introverted self can even invite trusty companions from time to time.
Here, trusty means for me : they’re not going to be cynical or discouraging about what we are going to watch/do together, they won’t be overwhelmingly interacting with me, and they won’t need me to take care of them. (For some of those, it means choosing the right timing as well as the right persons)
Of course, someone else could read that list and feel almost queasy at the thought of one to all of those.
Someone could have told you “surfing, dinner with my loved ones, trying on my clothes with music”. Another “coffee with my best friend talking it out, walking in the city, reading something to learn”. Another one “clubbing, going for a run, binge-watching my favourite show”… That’s because comfort zones are as unique as we are.
No matter what they are, going to our happy comfortable places is an easy way to slow down and recharge.
After my tough day yesterday, this what I focused on today.
I let the day be as slow as possible :
- rested as much as I could; then practiced some of my favorite self-care routines, in a slow, comfortable, loving way, by myself because I felt peopled out by my long week;
- had a lovely meal with my favourite person; then spent some time by myself again, painting tiny landscapes with watercolors through exercises of an online class;
- then I did some restorative yoga in my bed (mostly stretches and twists, low to the ground) and wrote this;
- later, I will have another lovely comfort-food meal, take a slow short walk by night and watch an uplifting movie with my favourite person
- and will take time by myself or with him to read and do some resting self-care before I go to sleep early.
I would describe this as my “dream life, very low key mode”, it also included lots of silent and quiet times (playing cat : doing absolutely nothing more than being in the moment, not focusing on anything), petting my cat and avoiding social media and emails (my phone in general).
I am contemplating adding a TED talk I kept in my browser, but am not sure because I studied and experimented a lot of new things work-wise this week, so I promised my inner child (when journalling this morning) we wouldn’t study or work in any way. I’ll see what my intuition tell me, if I feel even the slightest queasiness, I won't.
Of course, I’d get quite depressed and anxious by having this program everyday for weeks or months on end. Comfort feels like rotting and being stuck when we are abusing it. But when we had a busy period, resting and showering ourselves with love is the most loving thing we can do, the most restorative too, and the most efficient way to recharge. So I hope, dear warrioring hummingbird, if you read that after a packed week, you will consider slowing down and giving yourself the gift of relaxation and recreation.