Monday, August 5, 2013

Comfort Zone?

The weather is glorious. It could be Spring or Fall. The humidity is low, temperature mild, and the sky clear and blue. It's confusing because this is August in Maryland and normally it would be oppressively hot and humid. 

I'll take it. This is my kind of weather. Maybe I'll actually get to the Howard County Fair this year. My excuse is that it is always far too hot to even think of leaving the house.

Excuses. I think everyone makes them, to some degree. Excuses can be helpful when setting necessary boundaries, but sometimes they can take on a life of their own and reproduce like coat hangers in a closet. You turn around and discover you have hemmed yourself in with a sticky web of excuses. And then where do you begin to find your way out?  And how?

"What makes us push ourselves to overcome our fears? There has to be something bigger prompting us.... Cutting through the fear...requires a radical change of mental state. Without that, we may struggle, or try, or attempt. Only when our thinking changes can we "do" it." 
   (Letters to Myself from the Beach, Day Three)

This past Spring I did something that I was completely unable to do. I ran for a seat on the CA Board. I was able to articulate quite clearly why I couldn't do it, but the overriding feeling that something had to change pushed me forward. I just did it. 

In some ways I think that, despite plowing ahead to do the thing that needed to be done, I never experienced that radical change of mental state. I steeled myself. When the election was over, and I lost, whatever armour of might I had put on melted away and I was more entrenched than ever in my previous mindset.

I pushed too hard on the elastic band of life, and wow, did it smack me back.

I am just now beginning to accept the knowledge that the pushing in itself was a victory for me. Win or lose, pushing back against my fears and excuses was declaring war on my comfort zone. People close to me know how I love my comfort zone. I don't always realize how much work I put into preserving it.

Or how much it has come to control me.

I have been mulling over this post (  by AnnieRie for much of the summer. In "Givers and Takers" she highlights the activities of the communities she is involved in to expand the notion of Columbia Compass' #summerofneighbors theme. This is the part that bothered me. "Are you a giver? Or, someone watching on the sidelines? Step up." 

I felt defensive. What do you mean I'm a taker, just because I'm not taking on a lot of extra activities? Why does being on the sidelines make me a taker? I'm not actively taking, maybe I just want the right nothing.


I went back to the post today and realized I had not fully processed her statement in context. She goes on, "Find your passion. Invest in Howard County. Your home."

I feel lucky to know so many folks who are doing this every day. Some are in the local blogging community, some in community service, some are neighbors and friends. All inspire me to learn more, think more, and yes--do more. I can't think of a better invocation to a summer of neighbors, and beyond.



Sent from my iPad

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