01: The Comfort Zone

“The Comfort Zone” – Susan David

The static chart is one of my favorite describing models to describe the chaotic growth process (I think it’s from Susan David ).

And even though we call it a Comfort Zone, it is hardly ever comfortable.

This is the zone where we choose to live inside the unskillful patterns, thoughtless stories, and unconscious habits reinforcing the wounds we already know. As they say, “The Devil you know is better than the Devil you don’t.”

As a result, this pursuit of comfort eventually jeopardizes our sense of safety.

And so we double down on the bad hand because it seems like the better bet than the risk and uncertainty of what we don’t know.

For some people, this imagined comfort zone is really a Gordian Knot of emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, and sexual practices tying us to our wounds.

Many people never get out of the tidal dynamic that pushes us out of the comfort zone into the fear zone and pulls is back into the comfort zone. Again. And again. And again.

It becomes an exhausting loop as we embrace patterns that don’t serve us and yet comfort us. Our choices are directed by the emotional Devil we know.

I’ve come to appreciate vulnerability cannot exist in the comfort zone. Vulnerability doesn’t really exist in the fear zone either. Reactions dictated by our fears drive a desire to get back to comfort. Unfortunately, I cannot be comfortable and vulnerable. Vulnerability demands risk and is defined by uncertainty.

Vulnerability begins when I move away from my comfort, and while fearful consciously commit to the discomfort defined risk and uncertainty of practice. Perhaps this is why the learning and growth zone requires such a large amount of resources.

As Pema Chodron writes, “We don’t hear much about painful it is to go from being completely stuck to becoming unstuck. The process requires tremendous bravery because we are changing our way of perceiving reality…”

People remain stuck in the tidal flow between the Comfort zone and the Fear Zone. As we fight the riptide we exhaust ourselves frenziedly fighting to push the pulls of the tide.

Growth required embracing uncertainty and risking it all to swim across the tides instead of fighting them.

My Experience.

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