As helpers, modern helpers, we have a lot to contend with. It's a busy world.
By taking it all in and nurturing the learnings that come our way, we are better able to help those we've committed to serving.
Getting out of our comfort zones gives us a chance to prove to ourselves that our practices work. For example, i have a certain understanding of Tadasana—Mountain Pose from yoga—and a certain sense of teen-age girls, both as father to two amazing young women, and having shared yoga for years with girls in their teens who have experienced intense trauma through Street Yoga.
When i go to share yoga with these young ladies who are showing up and trying hard to find a little peace, i am outside my comfort zone. I'm around fear, despair and hopelessness that i have strived for years to eliminate from my own life. But it's right there, raw, in real-time, and i have to deal.
Some things that i like to see about in my own life, you might try for yourself:
- a different story for yourself, one where you are your most amazing self. Tell that to you, over and over, as you fall asleep and first thing each morning.
- goto a different country, be a minority, use weird money, eat food your body is not used to. Study how that affects you with great curiosity, and a lot of self-affection and kindness
- goto a different climate. how does body deal with that, and what does mind make of new reality. What stories are you telling yourself to get througn infinitie humidity and constant heat, or cold so deep your bones crack, for real, in micro filements of enduring.... how do you sleep, and how's your appetite, among a zillion possible questions for self?
- hang in a different part of town; support local business. how does that feel?
- fly, drive or take the train to a different time zone. how quickly do you acclimatize to your new present moment?
There's not a lot of wrong answers in these questions, mostly curiosity fulfilled, and more... wondering spun off into present tense.
When i think of Grounding, say, and how it helps me feel both rooted to this earth in this lifetime, as well as freeing me to be less afraid, can i convey that to girls whose ability to trust the world around them is near absolute zero. Is Grounding even a real thing?
With my dear friend Lana Lontos, we are hosting a workshop in SW Cambodia, my first time in Asia—at the dancing edge of my comfort zone (and yes!)—and you are invited. More below.
For me, staying fresh in my journey, answering the big questions (why am i here? what should i do now? who am i?) involves teaching. It involves me articulating what i have discovered, and passing it along, with utmost humility, with deepest hopes that the information is useful. In that spirit, i offer 13 ways we can safely put ourselves out of our comfort zone, and in so doing, give ourselves the chance to better help others along the way.
There are many ways i have found, a few of those i'll elaborate... the rest you'll figure out yourself with a bit of earnest devotion.
Some ways i have found include:
- ride the bus, or a different bus line
- teach a class w/ people you're not used to
- teach a class w/ people you're not comfy w/
- offer a service class, to any audience
- add a second service class
- work on a side project of high important to you
- share a class you teach in a second language, or a third
- serve in a place that forces you out of samskara
- gently, put yourself in ways where you have to ask for help
- learn how to listen to things that we are not interested in
- build courage—courage to be happy or content of even just at peace in your heart
- practice shamata—how to stop and calm without 'additives', no extras, just you
- build courage to let go of controlling everything
- trust something
- know guilt, and grow humble
- touch your boundaries and mess with your expectations
- ask again, who am i? why am I doing this? where am I in all of this??
Comfort zones and holding space are not so much teaching as showing up, with truth and full-on yes, right now!
And enjoy, please.