I love the Fall season. I've talked about it before, that I love the weather, I love the foods, I love the clothes and I love that sense of new beginnings that comes with the start of a new school year. Even though I've been out of school for awhile.
But there is always one part that is a pain. Like a literal pain. It's putting boots back on. I love my boots, don't ever get me wrong there, but after a summer of sandals and being bare foot convincing my now very relaxed feet to get back in to a boot can be a bit rough. Boots are confining. They are structured. And my feet are flattened out and wider at the end of summer than they are at the beginning. The first few boot days are a challenge.
Which of course is PERFECT for a metaphor...
We tend to do the things that are comfortable. Easy. Relaxing. And we steer away from those things that aren't. Even when we know that we will like the results if we just deal with the discomfort for awhile. Even when we know that it's only temporary pain for a longer lasting gain. We (or at least me for sure) like things easy. But the problem is that growth needs discomfort. Yeah, I know I'm sort of flipping the imagery here, but bear with me.
To grow and stretch creatively or intellectually or physically we need to reach that point of discomfort, that edge of where we live, and push past it. I do it at the gym. When the work out becomes easy I add more weight or more reps and you all get to hear me bitch about it for awhile until it's manageable and then when it goes from manageable to easy we start it again. We have to do it whenever we are learning something new. To learn you have to figure out what you don't know. And for a lot of us that area is uncomfortable. That ability to say, "I don't know" makes us feel vulnerable. Now, I'm going to be honest here, I am not part of that group. I am really comfortable saying I don't know. But I came to that space years ago. I realized that I wasn't seeing big picture things by staying in my comfort zone and I started venturing out in to other areas. And I discovered that people LOVE to talk about what they know. So saying to someone, "I don't know what you are doing here, and I don't understand it, please explain it to me," isn't usually met with "YOU IDIOT!" it's more often met with "OF COURSE I WILL!" and then you learn something new.
Creatively I tend to hover in my comfort zone more than I should. But I break out here and there with a poetry month, or a give me random writing prompts time. And really comfort with creative writing is pretty limited. I call it my comfort zone because I have a style and a voice I can fall back on. But actually writing and then letting you all read it? That's still a little nerve wracking. Even if I have my speed writing style and I get good feedback every time I send one of my darlings out in to the world I'm just waiting for you to tell me it sucks and I should throw my computer out of the window. That's as comfortable as creative gets.
But that discomfort? In any of those pursuits? It's important. It's how you expand your world. It's how you get better. It's how you learn, how you grow, how you create. No growth comes without change. And change is almost always a little uncomfortable; even good change.
Besides, if you only wanted to stay comfortable how would you rock those boots? And we do love to rock a good boot!