Challenge yourself, try something new, get out of your comfort zone, step out of autopilot – in my view, these expressions all mean the same thing! They will make you feel different and allow you to learn something new. To really live life (if you want to), I believe it is beneficial to keep one of these expressions in mind so that we don’t get stuck in our ways.
People often think that going out of comfort zone means jumping out of a plane or walking across Greenland or something like that, this is not what I am referring to! Just do your own new thing, no comparison to others needed.
A passage from one of Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön’s books comes to mind. In it, she describes how she was told by her teacher to always place her teacup far enough away, so that every time she wanted a sip from her cup she would have to reach her arm out further than what felt comfortable. A parallel to never get too comfortable in life, to stay awake.
In the eight-week mindfulness meditation course, one of the weeks focus on going out of auto pilot. This could mean parking your car a different place than where you normally park it, choosing to sit somewhere else than usual at the dinner table, placing your mat down at the other end of the room in your yoga class… Notice how you respond to these small changes, and also how other people around you react as you’re choosing to do things in a different way. Try something new, it doesn’t need to seem like a big deal, but it may end up being one. You open to a new experience, you change your perspective, you bring wonder into your life when bringing less of the attitude of “knowing it all” and your habitual pattern into what you do. You are opening for a beginner’s mind!
I am in Menton in South of France writing this, and two things come to mind that have allowed me to learn something new, to change my perspective. This morning, it was floating in the sea on my back without moving. I know, a really small thing for most of you, however I have never been able to do it! I “knew” I couldn’t… Today I suddenly wanted to try it, I was simply lying there trusting, letting the water support me, and then it just happened! There I was, floating. And it was SO MUCH FUN!! It made me laugh, it made me happy, and I’m still smiling at the thought of it.
Another thing is that every time I come to Menton, it takes some time for me to walk barefoot on the pebbled beaches without it hurting under my feet. Today, nearly two weeks after arriving, I noticed that I just walked normally as I stepped out barefoot on the pebbles. That made me smile too, and also filled me with appreciation and wonder for how amazing the body is at adapting. Learning something new!
How fitting that this quote caught my eye as I was scrolling through instagram earlier this morning, having already planned this article: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle”. Albert Einstein
Your life is precious and filled with so many miracles. Perhaps making the intention to notice them? Let wonder enter your life, it easily happens as you step out of your habitual patterns!