Why do I use the word addiction? Because we can use comfort to cover over something we are trying to avoid, we develop a dependence on it to the point that if it is taken away, we have extreme reactions to it as if we were in withdrawal, we limit ourselves and our lives while inside our comfort zone and yet we continue to stay in it even when we know it is harming us. This is in fact the criteria for an addiction.
As people (especially the older we get), we spend our time justifying staying comfortable and justifying where we are. Justification is like the jail bars keeping you in this comfort zone and keeping you away from a better life. If you went to jail willingly, without the beliefs you associate with jail and without other convicts you could see how jail would feel pretty safe. You know what you’re going to be doing every day, you get regular meals, and you have a routine that protects you from uncertainty and risk. No one new is coming in or going out. That is what life is like inside your comfort zone. But it is not self-loving to stay there because no matter how comfortable it feels, it is still a prison, it keeps you from your true desires, which require risk and it keeps you from your true self, which requires change. Most people on earth live their lives in this kind of prison to one degree or another. Some of these prisons are more ornately luxurious than others, but they are prisons all the same.
We have to learn to recognize the jail bars. To do this, we have to take a good look at our justifications. The very rational, mature reasons we give ourselves for why we cannot do something we feel inspired to do or even know we must do. When we justify, we are more committed to proving that where we are or what we are doing or have done in the past is right than we are to things like happiness and love. We use our reasons and justifications to deny ourselves expansion. And so we have to decide if it is more important to be right or more important to feel joy.
For example, I could feel compelled to paint. But the justifications I could use to not act on that inspiration enough to actually paint is that I don’t know how, It would cost money to get paints, I was never an artist type, I wouldn’t know what to draw, I don’t have enough time, I am just too busy to have gotten around to it etc. And these justifications seem very reasonable to me, but all of you listening to this can feel the limitation or prison bars I am imposing on myself and my life. Take a look at your life; what areas are you the most unhappy about? If you can recognize what is unwanted, this means you have already given rise to the idea of what is wanted instead. And the minute that happens, new ideas and opportunities happen upon you. Why aren’t you acting on those opportunities, why aren’t you doing that thing you want to do? Take a look at all of those justifications and either question them one by one, finding thoughts that contradict them enough that you can let them go, or simply see them for the prison bars that they are and walk right through them. If you need a fresh outside perspective, go get it… offer up your resilient justifications to other people and allow those justifications to be slaughtered in front of your eyes. Just make sure you don’t pick someone equally imprisoned who would like to use you and your justifications as a justification to stay in their own comfort zone prison.
Beware the trap of preparation. Preparation is as good as it does, I don’t need to explain the obvious merit in preparation, but preparation can be yet another ‘reason’ you give yourself to stay in your comfort zone prison. One day you will reach the point where you realize you can’t plan anymore and that planning itself is keeping you from living today. And I’ll tell you a secret, the most fulfilling experiences in life, the real stuff of life, you’ll never be fully prepared for or ready for no matter how much you prepare.
Admit that you’re scared. Name your fear. Guess what, we’re all scared. We do not need to fight our fear any more than we need to deny it. We need to metaphorically pick it up like the crying child that it is and carry it with us tenderly while we move forward anyway. Pain and fear are a call to become more present, conscious and aware, not an indication that what is occurring is wrong.
Let’s get this one out of the way quick… you’re not going to get everything right. For all you perfectionists out there, you’re in good company feeling absolutely terrified at what I just said. But if you think about it, it is also a kind of freedom. If you’re not going to ever be able to get everything right, I mean if it’s literally not possible because the game is rigged because you don’t have all the information you need to play the game perfectly, then what’s left to do? To give up on the pressure you’re putting on yourself and simply chose what you think is the most right for yourself in any given moment, knowing that you could be right or you could be wrong; but you did the best with what you had from where you were and that’s enough.
People don’t want to be vulnerable. But this is what we are. We are vulnerable because life itself involves the possibility of uncertainty, risk and hurt. The people who live the lives worth living here are those who own that vulnerability instead of push it away because there is gold inherent in vulnerability too. With vulnerability comes the possibility of love and joy and expansion. Also, nothing makes us feel more vulnerable when it comes to getting outside our comfort zones than uncertainty, for this reason I want you to watch my video on YouTube titled “How to Deal With Uncertainty”.
If you want to practice getting out of your comfort zone, begin switching up little things. Throw a wrench in predictability. Do them differently. For example, take a different route to work, learn something new, eat something different for breakfast, and take someone up on an offer you’d usually refuse.
A good technique you can use as a tool until you learn to fully embody your own unique expression of source consciousness and be confident in yourself is to pick someone that you feel is totally confident and brave and free as a role model. It could be someone alive or deceased, someone real or make believe, a famous historical figure perhaps and ask yourself what they would do and model your behavior according to that. For example, let’s say your role model was Albert Einstein, if you’re faced with a scary decision or stuck in the prison of your justifications, ask yourself, “What Would Einstein Do?” And then do that!
If it were up to me, you’d live your whole life free of the justifications that keep you from your dreams but for today, I give you a challenge… I want you to select one thing that you have been keeping yourself from doing because of your justifications and do it this week.
We so often live our lives as if there will always be more to live, we put things off until tomorrow, and then tomorrow and then tomorrow to avoid the discomfort of facing them. But what if there is no tomorrow? What is the point of the lives we are living today if tomorrow never comes? So many people live their life sensibly, only to arrive at death carefully. This is a waste of life. You are going to die one day and you never know when and so must know somewhere deep inside you that you did not come here to live a careful life. So break down the jail bars, lay aside your justifications and go in the direction that your heart is calling you. Any bumps and bruises you could possibly accrue along the way, will all be worth it.