2012 – A year of discomfort

I found this delightful poem that sums up my year of No Comfort Weekly Challenges. It’s a reminder of WHY it’s good to get uncomfortable.

In setting this challenge for myself, I looked for things that took me down different roads (figuratively and literally),

  • made me expose a bit more of myself,
  • encouraged me to look at other points of views,
  • pushed me to wear clothes that revealed the person underneath,
  • helped me engage in new online connections,
  • directed me to volunteer as an editor,
  • led me to take an Adobe InDesign class,
  • nudged me to leave a job,
  • assisted me with finding a new one –  and so much more.

I met others who took the challenge and followed their adventures as well. It was fun and best of all, it’s part of my psyche now.

Now if I could only catch something!

Here is the poem – I did not write it but found it on the internet (where else?)

By Author Unknown

I used to have a comfort zone where I knew I wouldn’t fail.
The same four walls and busywork were really more like jail.
I longed so much to do the things I’d never done before,
But stayed inside my comfort zone and paced the same old floor.

I said it didn’t matter that I wasn’t doing much.
I said I didn’t care for things like commission checks and such.
I claimed to be so busy with the things inside the zone,
But deep inside I longed for something special of my own.

I couldn’t let my life go by just watching others win.
I held my breath; I stepped outside and let the change begin.
I took a step and with new strength I’d never felt before,
I kissed my comfort zone goodbye and closed and locked the door.

If you’re in a comfort zone, afraid to venture out,
Remember that all winners were at one time filled with doubt.
A step or two and words of praise can make your dreams come true.
Reach for your future with a smile; success is there for you!

Here’s to an exciting and fun filled New Year!

Related Articles:

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This is your life – Do what you love – And DO IT OFTEN!

No Comfort Zone Update – September 2012

Hello everyone,

It’s been too long since I offered an update on the NO Comfort Zone activities I’ve been up so I will now try to recall and share them with you.

NO Comfort Zone 2012 Challenge iconJune was totally out of my comfort zone as I was asked to be editor of a monthly newsletter. In addition to editing words, writing stories and cropping photos – it was also an online collaboration with the media team. Lots of discomfort, lessons learned, new paths suggested, errors, and a handful of successes.

July I coordinated a Fiddle contest and over 40 musicians signed up to play their fiddle, back up others, sing, dance and have a great day. For me, it was about organizations, tallies, awards, photos and some deep breaths. Fun and challenging!

In August, I was back in the classroom at the community college learning Adobe InDesign. I have the product but do not know how to use it. My instructor used it when it was called Quark so I know I’m in good hands. The assignments keep me on the edge of my seat and totally focused when I’m in the classroom. At home, I take the edited articles that I receive monthly and create my own newsletter. This is the best way to learn!

OH yes, a bit more ‘NO Comfort Zone” experiences in September when I hiked with a handful of people who I never met before. I met them through a local Meet Up group and we hiked into the beautiful and colorful Rocky Mountains. It was one of those amazing days when the cool mountain air added to the flavor of the day.  It was a day filled with aspens and evergreens and blue skies and cold lakes. It was an autumn day that I longed to experience.

And September moves on. Other ways to get out of my comfort zone – job hunting, challenging class assignments, clearing out furniture and more. I promise to be better at sharing the MORE part with you.

It’s a year of growth, fun, memories and lots of discomfort. And it’s all good!

Related Stories:

No-comfort Zone Week Ending Sept. 16 2012 (quillfyre.wordpress.com)

No Comfort Zone (Week 8!)

It’s time to point the finger again and direct your attention to yet another blogger who’s accepted the NO Comfort Zone Weekly Challenge and jumped in with 2 tasks that took her out of her everyday ho-hum comfort zone and put her in a place where she rarely visits. Take a few minutes and visit Judith at Diabetic Redemption.

And Cris at Odd and Ends Thoughts has joined as well.

Before you head back to your comfy chair, click and read about Carol’s huge leap into a place she didn’t even plan to go.  A baby step for some, a giant step for her! Way to go Carol at Quillfyre!

As for me, I changed the password on my iPod. Think about it. Every time I turn it on, I enter the old password. Simple changes keep my brain cells popping!

This Live Simply, Dream Big, Be Grateful, Give Love, Laugh Lots imagepost from Mirth and Motivation is a great reminder that all those things we seek will eventually turn up!

Mirth and Motivation

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Gautama Buddha

All of us—even the darkest and unluckiest of us—get seven particular moments, those brief, unexpected times when the stars do more than align; they communally redirect their light expressly to illuminate the value of our wee, earthly existence. Leigh Newman

Today, I was reading an article on Oprah.com that was so inspiring I had to share it with you. The piece, The 7 Gifts from the Universe That Everybody Gets, is written by Leigh Newman and shares a remarkable insight, that, sooner or later, each of us gets to enjoy seven moments of glory we all get—no matter what, no matter who. We don’t experience them all at once, just randomly. As I reviewed each one, I could think of examples in my life that fit them exactly. The more I considered…

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January Challenges Pave the Way (NoCZ-12)

This past week I wondered what it was I could do to get out of my comfort zone. I loved sitting quietly in the early hours of the mornings and I enjoyed getting outside for 30 minutes each day. But I was still unsure what to do for this week. Then I decided to do something really outside my zone and to be present in the moment. I wanted to do one thing at a time and be totally focused while doing it.

I began by driving to work in silence. No NPR, no upbeat music, no audiobook and especially no cell phone calls. I tried this on Wednesday and two times I reached for the phone and caught myself before I made the call.

At work I was determined to work on one task only. Now, the trouble is my pc has 3 monitor screens. Yes,  I feel like pilot sometimes so you can imagine the difficulty of staying on one task only. It’s as if I have a seafood buffet in front of me and I’m only allowed to eat one item.

Ok, so I focused on opening one program. Only.

Checking my email. Only.

Then there was a request in the mail to make some edits, so another program and file were opened.

Then the phone rang. I turned my attention to the issue on the phone but then I needed to open another file to assist the caller. By now, all 3 monitors were fully occupied with programs, files, documents and images.

It was very hard and I was unsuccessful.

That evening after hearing about the death of my friend, everything went out the window. I’ve learned that when I’m in crisis mode, I forget things. Like people’s names. And what I was doing. And who I was talking to.

So, after this phone call, my focus became very clear. No plans in my head. No phone calls, no multi-tasking. Nothing …except what was immediately in front of me mattered.

What I ended up doing instead was soaking in a hot tub and giving me permission to think and remember. I finally reached that space where I was totally in the moment.

It’s as if all those mini-challenges I set in January were preparing me for this time and place.

A new week is beginning and I am still thinking about my upcoming no comfort zone challenge. IN the meantime, thanks for reading, commenting, visiting my QR code and sending love my way.

A Small Act: Documentary Review

I watched a documentary this past weekend titled, A Small Act. It’s a story about a woman who donated $15 on a quarterly basis to a young Kenyan boy named Chris Mburu.  That money helped to pay for Chris to attend grammar and secondary school, eventually leave his village and attend Harvard Law. His role as a human rights advocate brought him full circle as he began a foundation to help others. Chris named the foundation after his benefactor, Hilda Back.

If you are like me, you see the ads on television that tell you “your money will help” but I often think that my money will never really make it to the village or family or child. It’s all a scam.

Hilda Back, a Holocaust survivor,  didn’t think those thoughts and instead she sent money and often wondered if her small act made a difference.

I love when this type of story crosses my path because it makes me understand how one person, one act, a kind word, a touch, a smile – really does matter.  That one small act by Hilda helped get Chris and his family out of poverty.

I believe we all do things that cause a ripple. We give, hug, create, write, dance, ask, sing, donate, bake and on and on. It seems ordinary but many times the recipients of our creations benefit in ways we can’t imagine. A kind word can bring sunshine into a dull room. A hug can chase away sadness,  a song can bring a smile.

I do nice things all the time. I pick up trash, send cards, make phone calls, volunteer, leave comments, give compliments all in the course of a day, week or month. I’ll bet you do too. We do these things just because…  We have no idea if that person was desperate to hear a compliment or if bringing someone soup made them feel more alive. We can only hope the giving continues and as we touch someone, they reach out and touch someone too.

Hilda gave because it was the right thing to do. Chris set up the Hilda Back Education Foundation because he understood that education was the way out of poverty.  The Kenyan children who receive scholarship will no doubt reach out and extend their helping hand to their siblings, family and community. A small act. We do it all the time. The circle widens, pulsates and grows. It’s a beautiful thing.

A Small Act

Things are happening here… NoCZ–12

Crying means you are aliveMy focus this week is to break my pattern of coming home from work and eating whatever happens to be within my reach. Instead I decided to spend the first hour in my basement.

Because of this decision the whole feel of my week has changed.

I’ll find more words and let you know what’s different when the week ends.

We are who we choose to be: NoCZ-2012

we are who we choose to beIn the No Comfort Zone Challenge for me anyhow, it seems the light is coming on. Simple actions… doing things a little differently are taking me to new places. Literally.

Last week I discovered a road that I had never seen before – but I can assure you it was there all along. I drove east and went up hills and down until I came to a dairy farm during breakfast. The girls were just chattering away, munching, laughing and having the best time. They noticed me, nodded and continued with their grain. Perhaps if I stopped by a bit later they might have more time for me…

This past week Pam and I replaced the fill valve and the other thingy in my toilet tank. If you know anything about this (which I did not) … it means the entire tank has to come off, turned upside down, the screw has to come off (righty tighty, lefty loosey) and after a few more visits to the hardware store – the entire process is reversed and put back on. Ta Da! No leaks, no spills and best of all – the toilet works fine for the final price of $35.47.

I also found myself stopping the car to get a photo or two instead of doing it ‘later’.

I found that wearing a dress this week was almost easy compared to my experiment last week.

And I am looking for new opportunities to get out of my comfort zone. I SO wanted to hand off the toilet repairs to someone else but if my friend was willing to help me then by golly, I wasn’t going to say no. In fact, now we are the neighborhood experts (not sure if that’s a good thing or not …)

Words of Wisdom from Starbear:

The Gift: If you are doing the NoCZ Challenge or not ~ Print it out if you wish. Carry it with you, put it on the fridge. Remember to be patient with and kind to yourself and others as we take Baby Steps or leap into new territory…. and remember to laugh at the water’s edge! Jumping in – the water feels great!

take a chance



It came to me in a flash …(NoCZ-2012)

Sometimes the idea comes over time and sometimes it comes in a flash. Last night it came in a flash. I was entering a building where I had a monthly board meeting. This was one of my “sure, I’ll apply for the open position on the board.” And I was accepted. The flash was I was stepping down. I can accomplish more on a subcommittee.

This is not the right fit for me. I don’t know (or care) about which category turkeys are in (they need a different category for the larger (40+ lbs.). The Royalty were crowned, someone stepped down (she took my idea) but before she did she handed over a 6 page document (explained in detail) of everything she did and suggestions on how to make it bigger, better and more attractive to the unsuspecting public. This hard-working committee of 18 (Yes, 18) is a great group of people and have a vested iYour time is limited. Dont Waste it living someone elses lifenterest in the outcome of the yearly event. I have a small part that does not include lambs, turkeys, goats, weaving, painting, blueberry muffins or the price of beef. My focus is getting a FiddleFest up and running. See where I’m coming from?

Ok, back to me. I can assist this board but not by being bored. I can work on a subcommittee – get my part done (I’ll keep you posted on this as I ramp it up) and avoid meetings that make me cringe.

  • Discomfort – admitting I shouldn’t be on this board.
  • Discomfort- having to call the President and let him know he’s losing a board member but gaining a great worker bee.
  • Discomfort – realizing that saying ‘yes’ isn’t always good.

Growth – knowing I’m doing what’s best for me.
Stretching – wondering where else I need to assert myself and say ‘No’.

It’s about honoring me, my time commitments and my desires. Simple, right?

Words of wisdom are welcome!

Standing in the Sunshine: NoCZ-2012

Good Morning,

It’s been a week of standing in the sunshine and although at times I feel exposed – I also feel more alive.

Simple steps that take me from here to there are putting a grin on my face.

  • Things that held me back were all self-induced and once I broke free – well, I see they were silly.
  • Telling others about my blog – to them it was no big deal.
  • Wearing a dress (TWO times this week) was fun.
  • Changing my domain name was long overdue.

Cecilia at Inspired Vision wrote this:

Stretching myself with my photography this week was a lot of fun. Surprisingly my photography got better the more I was willing to experiment and post less than perfect shots. Maybe life is that way too. The more we reveal ourselves, step out of our comfort zone, laugh and get excited about our efforts and foibles, the more real we become. For this coming week I will continue to experiment with photography, but for the challenge I will push another boundary in another area of my life. Check back on Mondays to see how it’s going and what new things I’m discovering through the No Comfort Zone 2012.

The act of letting go and stepping away from our view of ourselves is liberating. A freedom descends and possibilities are opened. Have you noticed this too?

Outside this blog there are many challenges going on. Two that caught my attention are 52 Books in 52 Weeks and A River of Stones. A River of Stones asks us to notice something everyday and write it down. Nice and simple. 52 Books helps us set a reading goal and follow it.

Now I’m looking for the Monthly Hiking Challenge and the Laugh Till it Hurts Challenge … if you know where they are, let me know!

If you’re doing this challenge, leave a comment and I’ll link your blog to my page.

If you don’t have a blog, leave comments here so we can follow your progress and challenges! Hope you’re having fun along the way!