The Mythtery of a Comfort Zone

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I’ve always been big on having my comfort zone clearly defined (I’m a Capricorn).  It isn’t a destination I can find using my GPS…unless GPS stands for Gastro-intestinal Panic Syndrome.  That’s usually when I know I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone.  My gut tells me immediately.  Nervousness…butterflies in my stomach.

But the love for my comfort zone has changed…was it yesterday? …or was it a week ago — perhaps even months ago, years ago…somewhere along the line I became aware that my comfort zone really wasn’t all that comforting.  It was more like the feeling after a nice toke.  Those of you who know about tokes (one toke over the line, sweet Jesus), know what I mean.  That feeling of ahhhhh.  I have nothing to do and nowhere to go.  In fact it’s not that I have nothing to do, but I that I don’t WANT to do anything.  I don’t want to go anywhere, except maybe a trip to the kitchen to see what I can dream up to squelch the munchies (peanut butter and marshmallow fluff on…well…anything.)  But I digress…(nice memories though).

The alleged comfort zone is not a mystery, it’s a mythtery.  It doesn’t exist except in our heads and we concoct it as bait to catch our own sense of self-denial or self-loathing or insecurities and let them snuggle in all nice and warm.  (Another toke would be good here.)  Comfort zones are the adult version of a binky.

I turned 62 this past January.  I went to the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers concert at Summerfest last night — stepping out of my comfort zone.  I don’t like going to Summerfest at night…you know…the hoodlums, and the thieves, and the people who only come out at night will be there.  Ha. Did I see any?  Nope.  What I saw were about a million 50 to 70 year old men and women (some taking that toke occasionally) who seemed to have found their comfort zone.  So I decided to settle in, too.

Then I had to go to the bathroom.  The concert was supposed to start in 30 minutes.  It took a lifetime to get to the bathrooms (evidently the kiosks had run out of beer, so the 50- and 70-somethings were left to stand mortified in the middle of the walkway causing a major damn, I mean dam-up.  Holy cow…really…I got the sensing of what cows must feel like who are being herded into a small contained area.  It was ridiculous.  Comfort zone?  I think not.  Smelly, sweaty people (me being one of them) being pushed in one direction with a whole ‘nother grouping swarming and pushing the other way.  Not a pleasant sensation when one has claustrophobia.  

I finally made it to the bathroom…only to have to stand in a line with 14,000 other women who had swam their way through the morass of sweaty humanity…oh and did I mention that it had rained…no, poured…just moments before, so the air was heavy with (pot smoke) moisture — and the grounds and bathrooms were filled with puddles of (hopefully) water.   I’m standing behind a woman who had Farrah Faucett hair — really gorgeous.  She turned around and I was caught off guard.  Her face was brown and leathery, although she was attractive in a chain-smoker kind of way.  She made a comment, using her best gravely voice, about her 70’s hair-do going to hell and what was she doing here at her age.  I laughed and said, “yeah, I know, I’m 62”.  She gasped out that she was 45 and said “you must not be a smoker.”  It actually took everything I had not to gasp back at the fact that she was only 45.  She looked 20 years older than 45 — which would put her pretty close to my age, so I probably have to add that I don’t look 62 (at least I don’t think I do…part of my comfort zone).

Everyone made it back to their seats, the concert started, I danced and head-banged to the music and felt that youthful satisfaction of rockin’ out (deep breathing in the wafting pot smoke from the 50- to 70-somethings).  

Back to my comfort zone…or actually the lack of it.  Someone moved it.  They didn’t ask if they could, they just moved it.  And to date I haven’t found it since my GPS (not the one used in a car) seems to be on stand-by, lurking about, making itself known.

I like it though…I read on one of my Facebook friend’s posts that the butterflies, the nerves and nervousness lets her know that there is magic awaiting…

As much as I used to enjoy my comfort zone, I’m much more fascinated with the possibility of magic happening.  So whoever took my comfort zone, have fun.  You can have it.  Magic it is for me.

Abracadabra!!!  Did I mention that I teach Nia?  (www.nianow.com)  

 

 

 

The Gift of Awareness

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This is about my encounter with fear and my gratitude for the gift of awareness.

I have for many years touted the magic and wonders of alternative healing techniques, herbs, and nutrition.  I have not gone to a regular medical doctor in over 7 years.  I know my body.  I trust that my body will let me know when something is not right.  I live with the aches and pains of osteoarthritis in my hands and knees (and probably other areas of my body, although it seems to center in those two areas).

I teach Nia.  For those of you who are familiar with Nia, you already know the abundance of education — somatic and academic — available through Nia.  I’ve been teaching for almost 12 years…I’m forever grateful for the amazing benefits of being in my body — the awareness of sensations, the clever imagery, the deep and cleansing feelings and emotions, the plethora of creative opportunities to express my unique spirit — all contained within one hour of a Nia class — and also in everyday living.

So, with all of this, and more, to support my experience of being fully in my body, why is it that at the first sign of something unfamiliar in my body I sense, feel and imagine FEAR?  Fear is not something I am opposed to or am devoid of…certainly not.  But when it comes to my body, I’m pretty darned aware of what’s going on.  I know when I eat wheat…my belly will bloat and I’ll be uncomfortable.  I know when I eat sugar I can expect a rush followed by a distinctive low.  I know if I attempt to maintain a Level 3 energy level for an entire Nia class, my body will let me know I’ve done too much.  

This past week, I came home Tuesday night after a great Nia class. There was nothing experienced out of the ordinary all day, nor anything out of the ordinary in my Nia class.  Yet when I got home I noticed a severe pain in the index finger of my left hand.  By morning my hand had swollen, in particular the first two fingers (my index or desire finger and my middle or balance/power finger — just an interesting sidenote).  Not only swollen on the knuckles on the back of my hand, but on the pads of the palm of my hand around those two fingers.  Not just swollen, but in SEVERE pain.  On a scale of 1-10, the pain was a 10.  I thought I had broken my finger(s) somehow. The pain radiated down my entire arm into my elbow.  I was fine at work on Tuesday, fine during Nia, fine driving home.  It was really a mystery.  What to do?

By Wednesday late morning it was apparent that I needed to see a professional.  I was going to have to cut my wedding rings off if my hand continued to swell.  My husband drove me to an Urgent Care facility.  The doctor asked me the usual questions.  I couldn’t remember hitting my hand, I couldn’t remember an insect sting or bite.  He was concerned about “gout” (Gout??  Really?  My grandfather had gout so bad that his leg was amputated and 2 weeks later he died).  The doctor wasn’t sure it was gout since I didn’t have all the symptoms.  The next suggestion was that perhaps it was an “infection”.  (Oh great.  I’m in a hospital with an infection.  A friend of mine had gone in to the hospital with a routine infection and died from sepsis.)

Let the mind games begin.  Fear loves mind games.

I have not taken antibiotics for a multitude of years.  They destroy the good flora in the intestines.  I grew up on antibiotics, being a pretty sick kid most of the time.  I was done with that scene.  Yet, when the doctor suggested antibiotics, I jumped at the opportunity.  Fear said YES, you must. 

I took 2 doses of the antibiotics and my body said “NO, stay true to what you know”.  That was the message.  By Friday morning I was still in pain, the swelling had not diminished.  I called my acupuncturist, not expecting to be able to be able to get in.  She was leaving town later in the afternoon but she had an available appointment.  

No fear.  I know acupuncture and how it works with my body.  I trusted.  An hour after the acupuncture, the swelling AND pain had diminished 50%.  Shortly after the acupuncture appointment, the pain was SIGNIFICANTLY reduced.  The swelling was down 75% but the end of Friday.  I could freely move the joints in my last three fingers.  The middle finger was moving quite a bit, still a little stiff in the index finger, but it no longer looked crooked, I could straighten it almost all the way out.  Hallelujah.

I want to also mention my husband’s relentless love and caring; the wonderful compassion and enfoldment of many of my Facebook and personal friends who offered many suggestions and Reiki/energy distance healing.  Gratefulness to the Universe for reminding me to listen to the voice of my body.

Today is Sunday and although there is a bit of a “pins and needles” feeling in my index finger occasionally, I can fully extend it and there is just a teeny bit of swelling on the “pad” on the palm of my hand beneath my index finger.

The gift of Awareness.  Listening.  Being.  Responding. Choosing Love, not fear.

So what was it — the swelling and the pain?  Who knows?  Maybe it was a spider bite.  Maybe it was gout.  It’s a mystery.  My mind wants to know EXACTLY what it was.  Spirit says let it go.  This morning, I’m drinking my Mayan Mojo (a coffee alternative), some Nettles tea, alot of water, taking my Celery Seed, my anti-inflammatory enzymes and my probiotic.  

My body thanks me.  The Universe thanks me.  And I am grateful.