The Stories I Tell ~ from The Word Cellar

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I love stories. I'm the one at social functions with a dozen new anecdotes. But I worry about hogging the conversation. Sometimes I tell myself that I'll be quiet and let others do the talking. But no matter how hard I try, my stories insist on bursting out! Here I can let my stories (the classics that I tell again and again, as well as new ones that unfold along the way) run free. I'm a professional writer and editor, and sole proprietor of The Word Cellar. I write for a variety of publications and clients on everything from green buildings and nuclear reactors to entrepreneurship and the arts. If you need words written, edited, or enlivened, I can help. Contact me.

5.28.2008

Comfort in the Unknown


"I'm excited and nervous about it," I said.

"Why?" James asked.

"Because it's outside of my normal milieu. Outside of my comfort zone."

There's a pause. I know what my husband is about to say next, and I know he's right.

"Yeah, but doing things outside of your comfort zone is part of who you are."

"That doesn't mean they're not still uncomfortable."

It's true. I do push myself to do things outside of my comfort zone, not because I'm an adrenaline junkie with something to prove, but because so often what I want is beyond the boundaries of what I know. I do these things because I know I'd regret not doing them:

  • Auditioning for college and community theatre
  • Living in a foreign country for a year
  • Going out to eat or to a movie by myself
  • Signing up for a five-day art seminar retreat
  • Putting my private thoughts out there for the world to read
  • Planting a garden
  • Going to conferences filled with other bloggers and writers
  • Signing up for a summer watercolor class
  • Learning to drive a stick shift
  • Mastering the insidious worlds of mortgage lending and credit scores
  • Taking a roadtrip by myself
  • Calling the mayor's office to ask for an interview
  • Going door-to-door to campaign for my candidate of choice
  • Starting a business
  • Trying scallops
  • Admitting that I've struggled with depression
  • Getting my first pet
  • Volunteering to be a Big Sister
  • Wearing pantyhose and high heels
I read this list and none of it seems very radical. Nothing on the list is shocking or so far outside of the norm that it would make news. But how many of our daily fears and triumphs do?

I picture my comfort and discomfort zones as slightly intersecting circles with just the tiniest bit overlapping in a shade of grey. But beyond that are more circles. Your circles. And they all intersect. What I fear, you may not think about twice. What I do with ease may send you spiraling into a panic.

What if we could let go of the fear, acknowledge the discomfort and just move on, knowing that our circles' boundaries will change; believing that others will be there to welcome us into their zones?

What if "Feel the fear and do it anyway" was more than a saying that has become trite from extended usage in certain circles? What if it's the only way to live?

I'd love to hear what your comfort zone includes and excludes. I imagine building this giant network of comfort and support, so that no matter what we have to do, we know someone who can tell us all about it and welcome us into our own unknown.

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add to kirtsy | 2:01 AM

5 Comments:

Blogger Nix Sidhe said...

My comfort zones have changed so much since I moved to Greensburg. They are not anything like what they used to be. I'm going to give this some long hard thought today and jot some things down. I'll post to my blog once I have the list compiled.

P.S. Watch your inbox.

5/28/2008 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

Hey~That road trip by yourself could bring you right to Dayton, OH :-)

Let's see...outside my comfort zone =

*giving up a full-time, way-too-stressful-but-making-great-money job to work part-time and start my own business(es);
*stop going to church and attempting to find my spiritual way in the world through other means and more authentic (aka messy) connections with the Divine and people everywhere;
*natural/holistic vs. traditional medical ways of dealing with depression and anxiety;
*the process of individuation (thank you Carl Jung!!!) and how that changes my relationships with my family and friends.
*unlearning old (aka not effective) and learning new (aka more serving to my highest good) ways to BE in the world.

Thank you for sharing yours and inviting us to do the same. We are truly blessed to BE in community with you!

Hugs,
Lisa

5/28/2008 9:44 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

"Not knowing is most intimate." – Zen wisdom

6/01/2008 11:04 PM  
Blogger GailNHB said...

LOVED this post and the comments people have added. I hope you won't mind if I link my next post back to you and write up a list of a few of the things that I do because I'd regret not doing them...

6/02/2008 11:17 PM  
Blogger Jennifer/The Word Cellar said...

*Nix~ Can't wait to read your list.

*Lisa~ Amen and amen and amen, sister.

*Karen~ That quote is working its way into me. I feel like I understand it without understanding it.

*Gail~ Would I mind if you linked to me? Of course not! Looking forward to your list, too.

6/03/2008 2:08 AM  

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