Change Begins At the End of Your Comfort Zone*

* Roy T. Bennett

“When the power of love is greater than the love of power, the world will know peace.” – Jimi Hendrix

Meditations in Motion

I headed to the trails this week in an effort to find serenity.

One of the best ways to escape the heart-wrenching news in our country, I find, is to move through the woods.

My husband Bill and I, joined by our trail-running friend Al, waded through some still-wet knee-high grass, found the terminus of the trail, and began our slow climb up the side of a hill.

There is conversation when we run with Al, the exchange typical of long-time companions, picking up threads from the last time we were together, weaving them together with new strands, meandering and absorbing, sometimes retelling familiar stories, sometimes heading down new paths.

Our trail running is the same way, full of stops and starts, getting lost in the weeds, then breaking through to familiar territory.

We stopped to admire three toads as they hopped across the path and moved a box turtle out of harm’s way.

I’m not sure if we were more interested in actually viewing the toads or using them as an excuse to stop and catch our breath.

In the quiet moments, I found my thoughts gravitating toward the events occurring in our country.

Meditations in Motion

It’s no secret the United States is on fire these days. Anger, sadness, division, isolation, and hopelessness seem rampant.

We need to find a “new normal“, one that is better, more compassionate, considerate,  and inclusive than the “old normal” but we are not sure how to navigate.

We are out of our comfort zone with no clear path forward or back.

And maybe that is the best news possible.

Change is usually not made from a position of comfort. Change often comes about because the status quo becomes so uncomfortable, revolution is the most appealing option.

While our destination is a mystery to me, I do have some modest thoughts about the journey.

Meditations in Motion

Expect to make mistakes

We will make many mistakes on our collective journey, go down a few blind alleys, meander in circles, take some wrong turns.

We should expect these mistakes and learn from them. Our brains work by storing those mistakes and making needed corrections.

We should treat failure as scientists do, viewing it as just another data point.

Because we tried something that didn’t work doesn’t mean that we are failures, it means we need to find a different method, a new path.

I have tried and failed many times, in activities as disparate as tatting and juggling. I learned something from each failure but I never thought of myself as a failure.

Give each other some grace

We need to move through the process with a minimal amount of judgment.

This may be a tricky one. Since the advent of social media, we all seem to be addicted to the self-righteous, judgemental, snarky comment.

When did we all become 14-year-old mean girls?

When did everything become a zero-sum game? For me to win, you must lose.

Let’s do some adulting. (Yes, I’m verbifying that noun.)

People on the right blame the left, supporters of the police blame protestors, secularists blame the religious for all of society’s ills and vice versa.

Everyone is so busy pointing fingers at others, we have no time to reflect on how we, ourselves may be part of the problem.

Giving grace to others is a sign of maturity, not weakness.

We all make mistakes, we all have faults. Let’s stop assuming frailty in others gives us strength. Not everyone’s comfort zone is the same.

Build the airplane as you are flying it

We can’t afford to wait until we have everything figured out to begin. We need to see some real changes in our society now.

Commissions, committees, and study groups are fine, but they sometimes move at a glacial pace. Our country needs to see immediate movement in the right direction.

We can work out some of the details as we go.

Changing as a people means individual change

Finally, we as a people need to change. That means each one of us needs to make some individual adjustments in our attitudes, actions, and in our hearts.

We must embrace equality in reality, not just as a laudable but far-off goal.

Change is hard, scary. Accept the discomfort.

Begin your own journey, then help get others on board.

Be the inspiration we all need so desperately.

As Jimi wisely said over 50 years ago, our objective should be the power of love, not the love of power.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9

 

You can find the places I link up here.

 

 

 

 

 

86 comments

  1. I find escape in art and wish I could run to really blow off steam. I’m a tiny teakettle blowing off just a bit of steam. Imagine what humans could accomplish and the peace we’d have if we stopped fighting with people who look different.The scientific discoveries, the peace that would make life worth living

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well put!
    That flawed logic “for me to win, you must lose” reminds me of the 2’000-year-old line of Marcus Aurelius: “what’s bad for the hive is bad for the bee.”
    We all lose if a part of society is missing out. And we will be better off when the whole community is flourishing rather than only parts of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes, Laurie, this is a good time to reflect on where we are and whose we are as we navigate through this. There is no one fix for what is perceived as racial injustice. All I know is, violence is never the answer. The looting and rioting need to absolutely stop. We are a nation of laws, and we really can’t solve anything if our society is in chaos.
    Yes, let the power of love win!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am going to Google that term, Janis. Thank you. You are exactly right – we need to get past bickering on social media. We need to MSH (make “stuff” happen).

      Like

  4. I love this post! I love so much of what you say but ironically I’ve actually seen a few people I know out hiking this weekend. Some of the distances we’ve been allowed to travel (within our state) have been lifted. I’ve never hiked. At least not on purpose and yet I’ve been drawn the idea all weekend. Wondering where I could go nearby. Who I could take with me – of a similar level of unfitness….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hubby & I were talking about this on our drive home from the beach this morning. Lots of people making individual change is important. Or, as we say in the writing world: show, don’t tell.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Laurie – reading about the US and all that’s been happening is saddening and a little scary (especially seeing our own indigenous population is also using it as an impetus for change here). I think giving grace to others is the beginning – also giving the benefit of the doubt and not assuming the worst. I’m grateful every day for the fact that guns aren’t the norm here and that violence is less prevalent – but it’s not a nice world to be living in atm and change is definitely needed. I’m glad you found some serenity in nature for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a wonderful, thoughtful, timely post. I love the simple, but difficult truth in Jimi’s quote. I like the thought of ‘building the airplane as we fly it’. I’ve used a similar one, ‘we’re changing the tires while driving down the highway’. Thanks for sharing. How was the run?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for these well-reasonsed thoughts. I have a feeling that some of the heat we’re experiencing now is based in hair-trigger reactions, just plain fear, and failure to listen to each other. I’m looking forward to hitting my trails this morning as soon as the dew dries.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I tried to learn to juggle. It was not a success experience. I agree that we all can only do what we each can, in our own ways, and that we must not judge ourselves harshly if our ideal self and our real self don’t align. Peace within, peace without.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yes, Laurie, I’m totally with you on this. While the current protests are necessary, they can too easily generate hatred and division. I would like to see more of the protesters modeling Martin Luther King. He led with dignity and love.

    Also love the quote from Jimi Hendrix.

    I’m continually amazed by the remarkable articulation you display in your blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. So Jimi’s quote. How can some guy, not even 30 years old, know that. I’m continually astounded by the intellectual maturity of musicians in 60s and 70s. I don’t think we have that as much any more.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ooh, that Jimi Hendrix quote is a powerful one. Your thoughts about this journey are also powerful. Yes, we will make mistakes to add to the list of mistakes we’ve already made. And yes, we need to give each other lots of grace, including ourselves as we make internal changes. Love this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Change is so hard, especially if you’re having a hard time just making it through the day as many do, but it’s necessary. I like the idea of change beginning at the end of your comfort zone, I’ve experienced it in bits and pieces and find that to be true. I’m glad you’re able to move and connect with nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I love this. The problem is so big and pervasive, it’s hard to even know where to start. But we can start with whatever small steps are at hand, listening, learning, using our voices. And I love the point that failures will happen long the way, but they are stepping-stones to learning what does and doesn’t work.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Laurie, hi! You’ve shared so much common sense wisdom here, so very applicable for this season. I love how you get outside into nature’s beauty where God seems to speak peace and perspective in greater clarity.

    Thank you for taking us there. If we ever needed to discern His voice, it’d be right about now …

    Liked by 1 person

  16. 14-year old mean girls! Oh, what an apt description. I tend to move quickly from apprehension to panic mode when out of my comfort zone (or on a trail less than perfectly marked). The analogy can be applied in so many areas of my life….but I’m working on it. Slowly and with much grace. For myself and from Him!!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. You are not alone. The conversations and actions that have come about in our country too, Australia, have been well-needed. We have far too much of ‘them’ and ‘us’ and not much at all of ‘we.’ I have watched in horror what was on TV from your country…and then, was taken back to Australia’s reality that 432 Aboriginal people have died whilst in police custody. No words. However, I am supporting change that I can do something about and that is in telling more of my stories. Not to show off but to demonstrate the ‘we’. It’s a start.

    Thank you for linking up this week. I have changed my blog’s home page; right hand-side, to note the regular bloggers and blog names who link up for Life This Week. I am very grateful that you are one of those. See you next week when the optional prompt is Kindness. Take care, Denyse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe the world is finally beginning to come around, Denyse. I hope you and I see some progress in our lifetimes. It’s amazing to me that cell phone video plays such a big role in fighting injustice. Thank you for hosting. See you next week.

      Like

  18. Love the quote – will make a note of that one – and also the trail of your thoughts, our paths linked up in many places! Thank you, enjoyed your article and was challenged by it! (worthbeyondrubies neighbour)

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I enjoyed this post Laurie … my favorite line of the many that you have sprinkled throughout, including the quote by Jimi Hendrix, was “When did we all become 14-year-old mean girls?” I can never remember a time when everything seems so off-kilter. What to do, what to think … what comes next? Nothing seems easy anymore. I liked your idea of comfortable conversation on the trail with friend Al … old friends, as comfortable as an old shoe. I like that and your reason for stopping – to help the turtle or to rest? Thank goodness we have the nature trails to give us exercise and free our mind of what is going on in this world right now – it keeps us sane.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t remember a time either when everything seemed so close to coming apart at the seams. We ran again with Al this morning. 90 minutes on the trails and we talked the whole way. So nice. You and I need to get out in nature. We get our energy from the outdoors. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Like you, I had a wonderful morning Laurie – it was cool and refreshing after the last two very hot days and the angst of worrying about the impending volatile weather – it was just a joy to be out.

        I’m really excited as I saw a Mama Mallard and her 9 ducklings. I did not look at the photos yet as I’m still behind here on WordPress from working outside so much the last two weekends. But they were so cute! They were following along behind her, just tiny balls of fluff running to keep up and they went pretty fast in the water too. It was the highlight of my day as nothing could rival that scene and it helped block out the other stuff that I see and hear every day that is so horrific.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, they were so sweet Laurie. They never strayed from the queue behind her. Very precise line. I’ve not looked at the photos yet – tomorrow I will. I got some baby bunny photos too and hoping they came out and I’ll make two posts for this week about “‘youngsters” for Father’s Day week.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. You have given me so much to think about. The Jimi Hendrix quote was the perfect way to begin your post. I want to just shout “can’t we all just get along.” We spend more time in divisiveness at the expense of what we believe we can accomplish. I am praying I embrace change and take the first step in my own life.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I think we are all at the end of our comfort zone in this climate. But moving forward with grace and love is the only way. We need to stop all the hating and work to bring about a Godly solution. Only then will all the craziness stop.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Thank goodness for the toads haha. I’m in the process of catching up on all my wonderful bloggers. I have given grace & love & tried to keep the peace with a member of our family only to recently having had it thrown in my face, in the cruelest way, at the moment I am grieving it is a huge loss to say the least, but in it all I know God is grieving too. Just like the turmoil in our world its looking to Him & all the beauty that is in nature & thoughtful people such as yourself putting it out there & replenishing our hope. Thankyou.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. I was grateful the toads crossed our path! 🙂 I am so sorry to read about your experience. At least you know that you did the right thing by giving grace and love.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Hi Laurie, I love this post, thank you for writing it. My husband and I, although we’re currently located in a big city, often go to some of the big parks here just to get away from everything. It’s nice to feel the fresh air on our skin and take in some of the wonderful plants and animals we see on our walks. Yesterday we spent about half an hour just watching frogs sitting in the pond plants. It’s good to get away from what’s happening in the world and of course, all the hate we read in social media. I don’t have a solution to the world’s problems, I’m just trying to get through this difficult time and hopefully the future will be better for all of us. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Cheryl. It is so nice to get out in nature. I could easily spend an hour watching frogs. I am hoping for a better future too! 🙂

      Like

  24. We have moved away from some of the most important rules for life, in my opinion. The Golden Rule, and love thy neighbor. And then remember to put ourselves in the other person’s place, walk a mile in their shoes. My husband told me that he had read a month or so ago that there was a call for ‘pausing’ all wars for Covid. Now is that crazy or what? If we can stop fighting so that our soldiers don’t get sick with Covid, can’t we just stop fighting period?

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Great read! Each one of us has our own boundaries that delineate our comfort zone, I believe that there isn’t a one-size-fit-all comfort zone model, but what people must know is that all the comfort zon is concerned with is keeping you inside of it! I wrote an article on this subject titled ‘Want an adventure? Break free from your comfort zone’ – https://authorjoannereed.net/want-an-adventure-break-free-from-your-comfort-zone/. Fee free to check it out!

    Liked by 1 person

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