For the past 6 months most of my attention has been taken up with recovering from Gate vs Di. Confined to the house mostly, having to let go of life as I knew it up until the 24th April, handing over responsibilities to others – mostly my amazing husband who stepped up to handle the household, the cooking and taking care of my Mum! Recovery, rehab and learning to walk properly again were my focus. Many lessons learnt, new awarenesses, a deeper appreciation for life and health. Having had the second op I’m finally on the home stretch and my Christmas present should be being able to walk crutch-free.
What I have realized is that there is a “down” side to this process. It’s called the Comfort Zone and I am sure many of you are familiar with it.
I can see now how easy it is for a person’s world to become smaller and smaller. And safe. Life goes on around you whether you engage or not. In some way, with all the craziness of the world at present, that’s quite attractive. Almost seductive. Your time is your own. No demands. Nap when you want to. Decline visitors. Decline invitations. Have visitors bring meals. Stay in bed. Maybe spend every day in bed! Read. Colour mandalas. It’s heady stuff, focusing on your own well-being and putting yourself first. Especially for someone who has spent most of her life assuming responsibility for others and being busy, busy, busy.
I understand now why it’s so appealing to stay in the Comfort Zone. It’s just so easy. And, well, comfortable! I am not talking about the intense period that first occurs after an accident or trauma, those weeks when the body needs every spare ounce of energy you have to heal and become whole. When you have nothing to give and the most you can manage is sleep. I’m talking about the time after that when it becomes a habit to be disengaged from life as you know it. When you suddenly realize you’ve been in bed for 2 days and your hair needs washing, your pyjamas need changing and yes, you need a good hot shower! And you are perfectly capable of showering on your own so there is no good reason not to. It creeps up on you, this Comfort Zone, its boundaries close in slowly and quietly.
But it’s time to move. I know that. My wise inner self is nudging me. It’s time to move into the Learning Zone. Seth Sandler describes the Learning Zone thus:
Between the panic zone and the comfort zone is the learning zone. One can only make progress by choosing activities in the learning zone. The skills and abilities that are just out of reach are in the learning zone; they’re neither so far away that we panic nor close enough where they’re too easy. You can read more about Seth’s 3 Zones here.
I’ve learnt a lot of new things over the past 6 months. New opportunities have opened up, been offered to me, that I have thought about, planned, developed and started writing material on. Now is the time to take that knowledge a step further. I read this brilliant quote recently – “the effects of bathing and motivation don’t last – that’s why they have to be done daily.” A great reminder on both counts!!
It’s time to start engaging with life again, daily motivation IS required to break down those Comfort Zone walls and luckily there are fabulous tools like Kate Emmerson’s Ditch Your Glitch. I have started working through her book again and choosing activities that will help bring me back to myself. I have a serious urge to declutter. Being on crutches is a challenge but I’m starting small and slowly. Taking one step every day deeper into the Learning Zone.
It’s time to bring back the fun and the colour and to re-emerge from the cocoon I’ve created.
Watch this space!