Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Growth Is Optional

Photobucket


“The lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then becomes a host, and then a master.” – Khalil Gibran

The rain pounds down on the house in torrents throwing speckled shadows across the walls from gray-lit windows. I can’t help but relax in a state of quiet enjoyment, while watching the pellet stove fire blaze crimson and burnt umber. Solitude is preferable these days after the mad rush of holiday glee and New Year symbolism thrust upon me. Not to mention the changes that wrought themselves into the mix of realism.

Changes you say, surely for the better right? Not if you’re a creature of habit, who likes her comfort zone a little too much.

If we want to get downright literal about what exactly a comfort zone is, the Collins World Dictionary gives this definition – n a situation or position in which a person feels secure, comfortable, or in control. Now why in the world would someone, anyone want to give that up? The self-effacing answer - your comfort can become stagnant to the point of imprisonment, locked in a set of safe guards that block any chance of growth. When we get too comfortable, we stop challenging ourselves, don’t aspire for much, and our boundaries shrink considerably.

Turns out, our prison guard is none other than fear rapping against the bars whenever we consider trying something new or challenging. I’m sadly familiar with my prison guard – me. No one else can step over the boundaries I created for myself or sequester me away from knowledge, want, fortitude and growth. We’re supposed to build safeguards to protect ourselves, not to hinder us from enriching our lives.

The latest computer virus tested the boundaries of my comfort zone like you wouldn’t believe. Favorite programs were outdated and disabled. I had no choice, learn something new or stay locked into a system of fail going nowhere fast. Here’s the thing, as much as I don’t like change, I resent the ‘boxed in and giving up’ option even more. I learned a valuable lesson adapting to my deafness – I own my choices, they’re mine and mine alone to make.

Sometimes the simplest things wreak havoc with our comfort zones. There’s nothing wrong with simple days and moments of contentment, as long as you don’t use those very tools to keep you from moving forward and living in fear of what’s around the corner. Honestly, there are days I’m afraid to walk out the door, I’m afraid of newfangled programs on my laptop, or keeping up with technology, and silence, and love and loss, and yes, there are days words and my ability to wield them frighten me. Fear is an ingrained part of us all; don’t let it be your prison guard. Life is far too short to limit the breadth of your accomplishments.

Today…amid the comfort of a roaring fire, with a warm pup at my feet, I brandished words against my fears. I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone in search of knowledge, life, mystery – the list is endless. Words still scare the hell out of me, but I’m determined to conquer each one in a tableau of prose. You are what you want to be, I’m a writer, I broke out of my comfort zone…did you?

*On a side note: I stopped using IE (Internet Explorer). Readers who are using IE are encountering problems leaving a comment on the embedded form. One option available is to download either Google Chrome or Firefox as a backup. If you do download one or the other and still want IE as your prominent browser, don’t click the default option when you download and IE should still remain the default. You will simply need to switch over to either Chrome or Firefox to browse Blogger. I hope this helps my IE readers.

I’m always open to receiving comments through email at ravensquietscreams@gmail.com . In addition, I can now reply to comments left in the comment section, thanks to a new option for Blogger users using the embedded comment form.

Image from here.

Photobucket

44 comments:

  1. I'm not a huge fan of change, either. You might say I've been dragged, kicking and screaming, to some of them. But still, one of the wisest prayers I know is, "God, may I never be so blind that all I see is my own small world, nor so self-satisfied that all I am is all I ever want to be."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beautiful prayer Susan. Thank you for sharing. When I first became deaf I was determined to never allow myself to get boxed in by assumptions and to continue to be all that I could be despite that. I admit some days it's all too easy to want the safety of my comfort zone, but I wouldn't be me, if I never ventured further.
      (Hugs) Indigo

      Delete
  2. Isn't it strange how fear can be a motivator or a prison. In a dark city park when we notice something untoward, we are motivated to get the hell out. MOVE MOVE MOVE. When we find ourselves edge of something perilous, fear says "don't move" "wait". Even fear requires contemplation and a judgement of move, don't move. Your judgements are sound Indigo. I see you being brave.

    ((Hugs))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Annie, my dear brave friend, so are you. It all comes down to choices. We own the choices that carries us forward, as well as the ones that turn out to be learning curves. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  3. I used to let fear keep me head down, complacent and not trying anything new. Until my health incident that nearly killed me. After that, the voice that said "you can't paint, you're colorblind, you're not rich and you're ugly so you'll never meet anyone, you can't go back to school, you'll drop out the first year like you did when you were 18"...

    And here I sit now almost done with college with a 3.966 GPA, in the house we bought, my watercolors on the wall, looking at the pictures in frames of me and Miss A getting married at the courthouse a couple years ago.

    I firmly agree with Wine and Words - fear CAN be a motivator or a prison!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you didn't allow your fears to imprison you. You and Alaina have come so far and continue to shine in each others lives.

      I also know sometimes life changing experiences end up becoming the push needed to move beyond those fears. For you it was your health incident, with me it was my deafness.(Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  4. Boxes of our own making are the hardest ones of all... but not beyond us. Hugs to you my friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So very true! Sometimes we don't even realize we've boxed ourselves in. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  5. I love Google Chrome. Now that I'm used to using it, I rarely go back to Internet Explorer. There's just too many issues with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same here. I got tired of IE blocking page views and not loading. So not worth the hassle. I think eventually they'll shoot themselves in the foot. All too often lately, I'm finding upgrades to be detrimental. Instead of improving on a product they're destroying a loyal customer base. (Hugs) Indigo

      P.S. Thanks for the information on my last post. The computer tech had already installed Malwarebytes by the time I got my computer back.

      Delete
  6. I'm just breaking out now. I've been in a slump for a while, but I'm shaken up my schedule and things seem to be working. *fingers crossed*

    I hope your risk works for you too! You use your words beautifully. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Carolyn! I think we're both going to shake this year up. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  7. Yes, you are, if nothing else, a Writer. As for 'breaking out'? Not likely, given the hectic pace things seem to have adopted recently. But then, if you slow down too much, they can pick you off - and we don't want that, now do we?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I believe as long as we continue the forward momentum we're safe from getting picked off. Hoping amid the hectic pace you still find some room to breathe dear friend. (Hugs) Indigo

      Delete
  8. Change tends to unsettle me, though I recognize the necessity of it. It would be too easy -- too comfortable -- for me to stagnate if something didn't shake me up every now and then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, trust me, I have to shake the tree almost daily to see what falls out. Thanks for stopping by Linda! (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  9. "Sometimes the simplest things wreak havoc with our comfort zones."

    You had better believe it :-)

    I am working really hard to step outside of my comfort zone as often as possible. I am such a work in progress.

    And Internet Explorer can bite me. I gave up on it a long time ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The strange thing is I never had trouble with IE until I got the computer virus. After it was re-installed forget it! Nothing would load and if it did I had blank pages.

      We're all a work in progress sweet Kristin. Makes life interesting. I love pushing the buttons of predictability...(Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  10. Firefox is lovely. IE has become a real asshole of late.

    I am one of the most easy-going, flexible people on the planet... until I have to get out of my comfort zone. Then I can become a full on BRAT. Especially when it comes to technology and my limited understanding (and patience) for it. Ugh.

    I hope things got resolved for you, and that your comfort zone expanded its size just a tiny bit bigger than it was yesterday. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Tracy! I'm hoping to blow my comfort zone out of the water this year. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  11. Change is a beast, my friend. But once you get used to the "new", it quickly becomes the old. :)

    ps: I love firefox! :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. This post speaks right to the burning center of me. I also tend to fall into my comfort zone and relax there for way too long. Any time I step outside that comfort zone, I'm first met with feelings of sickness and anxiety, only to adapt to the new situation, and eventually wonder, "what was I so afraid of?" And yet, the next time is just as hard. Interesting how our brains work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We'll just have to nudge one another out of our comfort zones. I think it's easy to become stagnant and lazy in the cold winter months. I'm trying to break out of that mold.

      As for how our brains work, perhaps they'll cooperate more if we challenge them. ;P (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  13. IE sucks. Eventually we get tired of the hassle, and switch either to MACs or FF (which has never given me one day of trouble) or anything else.

    I find myself at an age, with more time and enough money, to try all sorts of new things. Since I was a workaholic for over 30 years, I'm playing catch up now. Feeling fearless!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like the perfect time of your life to be adventurous Lou.

      I was the same way with work, hard to break the habits. I need to be more creative with the winter months to keep from getting sluggish. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  14. Good read Indigo. I do not like change at all. And this past year I had my share of it. Yeah, I prefer Firefox over IE any day. Thank you for sharing. Blessings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes the momentum of every day life can thrust change on us whether we're ready or not. Blessings to you to sweet friend. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  15. I think this is just so beautiful.
    I used be crave change, and now I'm noticing I'm becoming complacent and OK right where I am. I think there's good and bad in that -- depending on which extreme you choose.
    XO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I do believe there is a level of comfort we're content to remain in. I think it's different for all of us, for some it imprisons, for others it provides a safety net, and then there are those who are completely content.

      For me, I have to cut the strings of the safety net once in a while or I won't challenge myself.(Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  16. Life is funny, change can be the spice of life, or the dreaded enemy. It is all a matter of perspective.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Your writing has provided me with a thought experiment since spending so many years going through the quirks of brain atrophy has greatly changed my concept of growth. At present so many growth points are absolute unto themselves; quite incoherent are their attempted transmissions of lessons to each other. At times a little devolving has benefited my overall, eventual growth. Resetting impulses & conditions to their default before the tension & flow, winding & circuitous climb up through the tangle.

    Ok, now that I feel as if you have given me a writing prompt ;o...~Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't wait to see the results of the writing prompt sweet friend. In the end, I do believe we each measure our own growth in different ways. I've had people say I was coming out of my cocoon, when in reality I felt like trying to climb back in. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  18. Sometimes it's good to step out of your comfort zone. Getting shoved out of the zone, not so good. At least you've made it through and it sounds like you've settled into your new and improved zone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree getting shoved into something new is always daunting. Sometimes those are the things which challenge us the most and in the end tend to bring out the best in us. (Hugs) Indigo

      Delete
  19. Hope your computer problems are over. That can be very disruptive.

    Comfort zone... Sometimes I think writers have never needed to be braver than today. Luckily we have lots of support though. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know a good share of my courage to continue to write comes from a few brave souls sharing my world (you included). And I agree, writers definitely need to be braver in today's world, but we're learning to bend with the changes.
      (Hugs) Indigo

      Delete
  20. a very thoughtful post. i, like you and everyone, enjoys a routine loaded with comforts. there are some very good benefits to comfort. i think it was alfred hitchcock who would never direct a scene unless he was physically comfortable. in the summers, sometimes that means him sitting in an air conditioned limo. but i can relate. i do my best writing when i am in a routine and physically comfortable at the time i write. if i am cold or hungry, i just don't write nearly as well. at the same time, i also benefit from pushing myself. there are inevitable opportunities to unfurl myself in ways i don't necessarily have to, but the only reason not to is to submit to that prison guard you mentioned, myself. if i reach too far past my comfort boundaries, i tend to isolate for a while, so i'm still learning what a good amount of discomfort is for me and at what intervals of my life. one of the best discomforts i imposed on myself was moving to different parts of the country, without friends and support systems in place. alien soil can be nourishing, but so can returning home, too. fabulous post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never knew that about Alfred Hitchcock, what an interesting man.

      I tend to need everything done around the house in order to write, or I can't concentrate and start obsessing with what isn't done. I'm getting better at carving out my niches of time. I'm also stubborn about needing my view to the woods. There is something calming about routine and comfort. The thing is I've never been a creature of habit and need to be challenged on occasion.

      I envy all the experience that goes with moving to different parts of the country. Sounds like an adventure. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  21. Fear: don't let it be your prison guard... Very well put Indigo... Thank you for stopping by my blog. Great to hear from you again dear friend...

    God Bless,
    Mik

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great to see you here Mik! (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  22. Indigo, I have been out of my comfort zone in the last 24 hours. I have been down to the bottom with beating myself up. Now I'm going to stop that, own my part and my humanness and know that I am okay.

    ReplyDelete
  23. You are right, we are very much alike... even if my ears still work (for now). ((Hugs)) -Loraine

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for giving my silence a voice, my muse your words, and taking the time to discover my prose.