For most of us, deciding to make a change in life is a decision to leave our Comfort Zone: We sell our house and move to another state; we say “yes” to a committed relationship, we quit our job or accept a promotion with new responsibilities.
Sometimes without consultation, life simply boots us out of the Comfort Zone: We get fired; someone who “wasn’t supposed to” dies; an unplanned birth turns you into a parent.
Consider how many “disasters” in your life have ultimately proved to be gifts in disguise.
And…What is a Comfort Zone? Is it really a place of “comfort”?
It’s been my experience that what I thought was a Comfort Zone was in fact a Familiar Zone. And life in the the Familiar Zone had its share of despair, anxiety, fear and unhappiness.
When we leave our Comfort Zone, where do we go?
Dr. Ron Hulnick calls the new territory into which we find ourselves exiled “The Divine Unknowing”.
It’s “unknowing” for obvious reasons, and it’s “divine” because this is often when unexpected things happen, things that were not in our plans. Life in the Divine Unknowing instinctively invites fear in most of us. So, successfully coping with fear requires faith – an understanding that ultimately, “It’s all going to turn out okay.”
“The secret of navigating the fear of the unknown is that you must be willing to … (do) whatever it is that you are afraid of doing—all while being fully afraid of doing it.”
Integral to my faith practice is the notion that my life is playing out in concert with a higher power. That this higher power is what shapes my life when “I am busy making plans.” Adopting this view lessens my fear and frees me up to do the work of growing through change.
Amazing things can happen when you decide to “get comfortable” in the Divine Unknowing. Some describe it as “facing your fears.” Jack Canfield”s quote is a favorite of mine, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” In other words, if you have fear about doing something different in your life, then it’s probably what you should do.
As you make the Divine Unknowing your reality, you might ask yourself, “Is there really such a thing as ‘security’ or a Comfort Zone? Or is this entire human experience one of Divine Unknowing?”
“In our experience, fear of the unknown—be it expressed as comfort, security, control, or any other ego pattern—is the single dynamic that stops more people from moving ahead in their lives than any other factor. This is why it is so difficult for many people to break addictions and other habits that do not serve their aspirations. They are unwilling to be with their fear long enough to allow it to run its course. The familiarity of their habitual addictive behavior is stronger than their intention.
Now here’s the good news. The secret of navigating the fear of the unknown is that you must be willing to run the experiment of venturing into the unknown, doing whatever it is that you are afraid of doing—all while being fully afraid of doing it. It is through this experiential process that you demonstrate to yourself that there really was nothing to be afraid of in the first place.” – Hulnick Ph.D., Mary R.. Remembering the Light Within: A Course in Soul-Centered Living (pp. 108-109). Hay House, Inc..
I invite you to describe an experience of leaving your comfort zone. What happened? What did you feel? What unexpected life change came out of it? How did you deal with fear and uncertainty?