We’ve all got our edge, you know, the thing that sits just outside the comfort zone and usually doesn’t want to be pushed. Whether it’s running 2 more miles, or holding your leg out at 90 degrees for 5 more breaths– it requires effort, sometimes pain.
There’s also the mental comfort zone. The part of the brain that wants to take it easy, not rock the boat or create any upheaval. To push past this requires a shift in mindset. Maybe it’s convincing yourself to get out of bed for a 7am workout. Or have that confrontation with your friend who’s kid threw rocks in your daughter’s face at the playground. The circumstances can vary, but the attitude is the same… I don’t want to do this!
As an early bird, I prefer AM yoga. So when I was asked to do a write-up on an 8pm class, my initial reaction was I don’t want to do this! I’m usually cozying up on the couch at that hour – heading out to Brooklyn in the evening rush did not appeal!
I came across the Overshare Show podcast with director Catherine Gund. Her film Born To Fly documents choreographer Elizabeth Streb who’s dance performances could qualify as extreme sports. Her dancers take risks, big time. From jumping off the Millennium Bridge to crashing into cinder block walls, they’re testing the limits of force, velocity and risk while illuminating the idea of living life to the fullest. Gund said:
“We should all be adrenaline seekers. It doesn’t have to be something that risks your life, but there should be a way we can have a bigger life than most of us have.”
Our risks all look different. What may have high stakes for me, could be considered normal for you. And stepping out of the comfort zone doesn’t have to be a monumental endeavor like giving a Ted Talk or climbing Mt. Everest. It’s important to recognize your edge so you know how to stretch beyond it. Gund also said:
“Everything you do, make sure it’s a decision of choice so you’re not falling into habits that are limiting and dulling.”
Flying on the trapeze was a big break out of my comfort zone. It took months of me watching others go first–jumping into the fear of uncertainty –before I finally found myself on the tiny platform, 23 feet above the ground.
But that was last year. My edge has shifted as it should on the path of personal growth.
Today, pushing my limits could mean going green in my home. Or showing up regularly to an evening meditation group. Or swimming (I am SO uncomfortable in the water!) The point is: only you know which edge needs to be pushed so you can move forward in your life.
Oh, one more thing to keep in mind as you step outside your comfort zone:
“You can’t make risk transformational unless there is trust.”
Gund was talking about the dancers under the direction of Elizabeth Streb. But I’ve found knowing that someone’s got my back– either another person, myself, or even something greater — can be a considerable catalyst in taking that leap.
What can you do to push out of your regular routine this week?
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Whoa, Elysha. We must be riding the same stream in the unconscious. I just walked inside from sitting out on my front steps, musing about leading a bigger life and presto! here’s your inspiring post! I will not be joining the amazingly fierce and adrenalized Streb dancers, but I WILL be musing about your wonderful observations as I cook tonight’s dinner…spanakopita pie, which, come to think of it, was on my edge awhile back given the use of phyllo. Now, it’s just another comforting friend :). Thank you. xoxo p.s. Amazing shot of the amazing you! Love iT!
Look at you fly!!! Way to go! My edge has to do with sharing my creativity. I am comfortable NOT SHARING. That way it is safe in my brain and I like it. Nobody gets to comment with suggestions, tweaks or criticism. But after reading and rereading your blog I am going to take a risk and share. Thank you, as always!
ST, I’m so happy you saw this post as I was thinking about you, my dancing friend, when I wrote it. Sadly, I missed the film Born To Fly when it was here in NYC, but will hopefully get to catch it when it’s available to stream. I imagine it’s a feast for the eyes. So yes…living a bigger life…I’m right with you! Love that spanakopita is now another comforting friend! XXoo Your friendship means a lot to me, thank you for being here!!
Big risk, big payoff!! Go for it Girl!!
My edge? Wherever fear sits. Public speaking, things I’ve never done before. It used to be inversions in yoga, reverse parking and motherhood
I guess a sure sign of growth is when those things that were once feared are no longer scary. Glad you’ve got your reverse parking out of that category 🙂
My life is one great big routine. Fortunately, I schedule things that take me beyond. Sometimes it’s scary though.
Russel, It’s the scary part that keeps you at your edge– So good that you schedule in things to do this! Thank you for sharing here.
Yes, Elysha…you have brought a very nice perspective which we generally ignore or take it for granted…comfort zone is something that stops us from knowing and achieving our hidden potential…we all have and once we take that leap, we see what we can do…yes, the push and the leap out of our comfort zone makes the difference…break the barriers to make a difference in your and other’s life…loved this thought!!!
Nihar, Great point about how our comfort zones keep us from achieving our potential…this is so true! How will we ever reach our best unless we step outside of what we know to give it a go. Thank you for your kind words and comment.
All great things have happened in adversity…my pleasure!!! Thank you…