• Tracy Gilliam

Comfort Zone

We all have been in a place of discomfort, anxiety, or even panic. That place where the adrenal system is running full blast, sweat running out of our pores, hands shaking, breathing fast and shallow with a heartbeat faster than some rock songs. Those times are easy to pull up in our memory. Sometimes just thinking about an uncomfortable situation puts my body back in tension.

For me the edge of my comfort zone is ringed with barbed wire, allowing me to easily see what is on the other side, but pricking, holding and keeping me from easily crossing over. That vast expanse of green, lush openness is just there, at the end of my fingers, but so far away. If I really want over, I start walking, looking for the gate that will let me through. Sometimes I take the wire cutters from my pocket and leave a gaping hole to the other side. It just depends on my attitude (I have a lot), my support system (which is wonderful), and my desire to reach what’s on the outside of my safe zone.

The more I walk around, through, over or under those perceived fences of my comfort area, the larger the zone becomes. Just like anything else, the more you practice the easier it becomes. Teaching classes, students tell me the challenging thing is meeting or talking to someone they don’t know. All those questions and fears running through their mind. What if they don’t like me? What if they don’t think I have anything important to say and ignore me? What if I say something stupid? What if they laugh at me?

If you don’t give them a chance to know you, you’ll never give yourself a chance to make a new friend. Don’t worry about making a mistake, we all do at one time or another. Being able to acknowledge it is a great gift – to yourself and to them. It gives them the freedom to make a mistake in your presence, to be accepted. Isn’t that part of Ortho-Bionomy – to acknowledge where we are (making mistakes) and not judging ourselves or others for those mistakes? You can’t learn what works without learning what doesn’t. That formula requires you to make mistakes so you become better.

When I go out to a crowded venue, there are always empty seats, but they are next to people I don’t know. I’ve learned to take a deep breath, smile, walk over and ask if I can join them at their table. I’ve met some very interesting people this way and learned about places and events to visit in the future. Another way I expand my comfort zone of meeting people is to find something I really like about them, then walk up and tell them. I met the most interesting couple the other day by commenting on her leg tattoo. It was a pair of baby footprints that looked like the ink prints from the hospital. She visibly glowed and proceeded to tell me all about her (now) almost three year old.

Do something today that is a little bit scary. Comment on something the next person in line is purchasing. Tell them you like the color of their shirt. Just smile and say Hello. See what gate opens up for you. Notice if your breathing stays even or how fast your heartbeat returns to normal. Or, if you’re like me, just take a big breath and jump out of that plane!

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