I've been to four years of therapy, done two weeks of silent meditation in the jungle of Brazil, sat through an intense peyote ceremony on the beach in Nicaragua, engaged in rituals with shamans and sisters, broken my heart open in yoga classes with gurus, chanted ancient mantras with monks, cleansed my aura (and my anus for that matter). I've danced, screamed, stomped, and cried my demons/chains off. And I will say ALL of these are great teachers and have their place in my heart and my current experience of life. However, if bringing your full self to the world is what your soul wants, there has only been one thing that has truly brought me to that place. And that is S T R E T C H I N G myself everyday. I don't mean literally stretching myself (though that certainly has created a lot of release and freedom in my life). I mean stretching myself outside my comfort zone, and doing that consistently.
Stretching myself consistently has re-wired my brain to see the world in a very new light.
Stretching myself consistently is what allowed me to spend six years teaching awareness practices to incarcerated youth in New York City (where I initially began to unravel how freedom is simply a mindset). It's like Nelson Mandela said when he was leaving prison, "As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.”
Stretching myself consistently has expanded my mind, my body, and my abilities to see the possibility, rather than the problems. It has made me innovative, rather than resentful. It has made me curious, rather than fearful.
Stretching myself consistently prepared me to hire my first coach (I even moved to a cheaper place to afford her - yep!) and then doubled my income that year.
Stretching myself consistently empowered me to get out of my own way, leaving an unfulfilling job after receiving a significant raise and promotion, only to follow my heart. This decision lead to some challenging moments, and it also lead to living a life full, rich, and meaningful. I'd have it no other way.
Stretching myself consistently is how I let go of old beliefs that were keeping me showing up in relationships in a less than desirable and loving way and attracting people who fueled that behavior. This letting go is what allowed for me to meet my incredible, mind blowing partner that I am with today. Love is the highest gift we can give each other. I am certain of this now.
Stretching myself consistently encouraged me to invest in myself in a way that allowed for me get clear on my values, my standards, my deepest dreams, and the thoughts and actions that were holding me back. This alone has been one of the best decisions ever for my growth as a human being.
Stretching myself consistently has taught me to be willing to listen to that small, still voice inside me that often asks me to leap without certainty, but in the end, always steers me towards my highest good.
I could go on and on about how stretching consistently just outside my comfort zone has freed me from all the lies I use to tell myself and live: I'm not good enough, I'm not lovable, I'm broken, I don't deserve it yet, People don't understand me, I don't belong, I'm better off alone, I'll never be okay.
And I could also tell you how life gets really good when you no longer believe those lies because you keep proving them wrong over and over again with your courageous, consistent stretching just outside your comfort zone.
The truth is...it's a choice that many won't make because they are addicted to their patterns, compulsions, and stories. They say they want change, yet they don't want to do what it takes for that change to actually occur. This path of consistently stretching outside your comfort zone is both awesome and scary. It's marvelous and it's messy - and that's why it takes courage. The consistency part is what re-trains your brain that 'scary and messy ain't no big thang.' Consistency makes this game easier, by making it more familiar. It's what separates those who are living the life they want from those who are not. Ultimately, It is not your resources that get you to where you want to be, it's your resourcefulness, and that takes your willingness to S T R E T C H.
>>> In the comments on the blog, please share what is one thing you can do today to stretch yourself outside your comfort zone? <<<
Start there. Then wake up the next day and ask that same question again. It's a choice. So make the choice to get out there, take action and make your dream life, real life.
Bring Your Full Self to the World,