I am a runner. At least I like to consider myself one. I may not have the fastest race pace but my endurance is powerful and I can run long distances. I love weight lifting. I love big powerful loads of free weights. I love I can out lift my male counterpart. My ideal workout is the combination of fast moving, high intensity cardio and weights. Last week I decided to venture off my well-worn path of power and strength. I went to a Pilates class—which is not so much my thing. I struggle to move through the world slowly. I am comfortable with a fast pace. So, the idea of taking a class that encourages small and slow movements was a challenge for me. Boy of boy was it a challenge! I took a 45-minute class which left me sore and humbled for at least a week. I consider myself to be pretty strong…but far from strong in the ways in which this class required. Thankfully I also like a challenge and can laugh at my lack of grace. I nearly fell off the reformer on at least two occasions and was less than graceful in every last way. Yet, what I appreciated most (other than the killer ab workout) was the embodied experience of getting outside of my comfort zone. I am comfortable deadlifting my body weight and less comfortable holding poses from which my body was shaking and trembling. I am comfortable with moving a thousand miles an hour through my life and managing many tasks at once. The opportunity to slow down was a much-needed reminder of the importance of doing just that. I carried this lesson with me as I moved throughout my week. I even found myself stretching my limits when giving a lecture on the topic of shame—I welcomed the opportunity to get outside of my comfort zone and lean into vulnerability of the unknown, the new, the unexpected, and the emotional/physical stretch.
Getting outside of our comfort zone allows us as individuals to grow and to challenge ourselves. It doesn’t have to look like try a new workout class, but rather anything that stretches us to try something new. Learn a new language, try a new recipe, take up meditation, discover a new artist. Getting outside of our own comfort zone can look like anything that creates the opportunity for growth and discovery. If you’ve been wanting to try something new and holding yourself back NOW is an opportunity to let go of beliefs or thoughts that limit you. If not now, when?