We all refuse to push our boundaries to a certain extent, but there is a danger of getting too comfortable. Without a challenge, you will not grow. Without exploration, you will not learn. Without changing, you remain the same.
How will you push your boundaries today?
Every time I go somewhere I’ve never been before, there is tension. Whenever I face a new situation there is apprehension. In order to learn something technical, I have to push myself through it. If you don’t feel that tension, if you don’t experience apprehension, if you don’t push a little, you’re going to stay stuck in the same ol’, same ol’.
Are you languishing in your comfort zone?
There’s a lot to be said for being comfortable. It’s familiar. It’s not stressful. There is comfort in the familiar. However, if we spend our lives within the confines of our comfort zone we’re missing out on adventure and opportunity.
What are your parameters?
If you’re in a box, it’s a good idea to see what size box you are in. Are you in a job that asks enough of you? Do you hang out with people who encourage you to express yourself? Is your body as healthy as you want it to be? How are you deepening your spiritual awareness? Wherever you have set your boundaries, I bet you could push them out a little farther today.
How do you push your boundaries?
On the physical level, it’s easy enough to walk a little further, try a new healthier food, extend your Qi Gong practice or even take a stretch break every hour. However, that’s not pushing your boundaries, that is barely nudging the outer edges of your comfort zone. What can you do for your physical well being that will stretch you today?
On a mental level, look at what have you been putting off because you have to learn something new. Sometimes it’s as simple as learning to work your wireless phone better, exploring a new computer program, or taking a video for your family. Other times it’s about exploring an entirely new direction for your life. What do you need to learn today?
Push your emotional boundaries too. Fear, apprehension, uncertainty are all deterrents to moving forward. How can you connect more deeply with another person? Is there someone you need to forgive? Someone you need to ask for forgiveness? How can you allow yourself to be more self-confident? How can you love yourself more?
Expanding the boundaries of your spiritual expression is a simple matter of going within. That means setting aside time each day to meditate and journal. It means reading something inspirational. Most of all, expanding your spiritual expression requires that you are aware – of what you are and are not doing.
Where are you stuck?
You’re probably a little stuck on all of those levels but I’ll bet there is one area you’d like to start with.
I’m expanding my physical level by turning from vegetarian to vegan. It turns out that one new choice for my physical plane is also pushing the boundaries of my mental plane. I’m learning to do plant-based baking. I’m trying new grains. I’m learning to create my own versions of recipes. The act of pushing one boundary gave me challenges in other areas.
I’m changing the direction in my work boundaries. I have uncovered new ways to serve and new products to offer. I’m working with many of my established skills, but I’m pointing them in a slightly different direction. That has challenged me on the emotion plane (letting go of the old) the mental plane (figuring out what I do want to do/offer) and the spiritual plane (listening to the wisdom within in order to make the decision to change.)
As for expanding my circle of friends, I have become more aware of how I seem to other people and I am making some changes in how I approach them. I stay more centered and more aware and I listen more attentively. Those shifts in my comfort zone are changing my interaction with others. In turn, that affects my emotional state (as I feel the connections deepen), my physical state (as I laugh and enjoy our camaraderie, and my spiritual state (as I learn to be more aware more often.)
I look over past patterns to see the choices I continue to make that are so far inside my comfort zone that there is no possibility of growth. Where have I gone complacent? What am I settling for? How have I grown/changed and what do I need/want now? I want and need to find people who are adventuring in the areas I want to explore. Who would that be? What would that look like? I’m reading about minimalism. I am far from that but I could let go of some possessions. I’m looking at how goals restrict me. I’m trying to see how to stay relevant in retirement. Poke around in your life and see where you could push the edges of your comfort zone.
Let go and move on
In order to move forward, you have to make room by letting something go. Easing yourself out of the familiar is sometimes the hardest part of the journey. What do you need to leave behind? What do you no longer need? It could be possessions. It could be friends. It could be work. It could be beliefs. What do you need to let go in order to make room for something new?
Pick an area and start expanding
The area I am working on is how to stay relevant as I age. I no longer have to work. I’m faced with days that I can do with as I will. I don’t like the feeling of complacency I am experiencing. I’ve changed the focus of my writing. I’m doing a lot of inner work and self-discovery that I hope will allow me to offer insights to others. My personal rhythm is different. I now have time to think and write and explore.
“Pushing boundaries” is the wrong way to look at it. I like “expand” your boundaries better. I see myself as a molecule in which one portion moves out to one side in order to absorb a new particle. It’s like putting your arm around a new idea and drawing it in for a big hug. When I add something new to my life, I change my experience. I change my responses. I change my own resources.
What and who do you want to bring into your life? What experience do you want to have? Go put your arm around a new experience today and watch yourself expand.