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.
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.
What I love most about the No Comfort Zone Challenge is the week long duration. Each week I begin with something different and if I like what I did last week I find a way to incorporate into my life. And if I don’t like it, well, it’s only a week, right?
I had no idea that spending time in my basement away from my regular routine would lead to hot baths, quiet mornings and a more organized basement!
Last week, I challenged myself to read a book out of my comfort zone and … and boy oh boy did I pick a doozy. The nonfiction book called The Imperial Life in the Emerald Cityis an expose about the misadventures of the US occupation in Iraq after Saddam’s fall. As I read, my heart dropped and my disgust grew. The arrogance and deceit were evident everywhere you looked. My heart hurt to read it. So, good-bye book… I gave it a good try (6+ Chapters) but the leadership, greed and disregard for the citizens was too demoralizing.
A second book I have open and am reading is called The Happiness Project and it’s a study about …yes, you got it right — Happiness. Talk about two sides of a coin! Whew…
This week will be 30 minutes walking per day – outside. NO treadmill, track or elliptical machine. Out in the fresh air under the sky I love so much. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Funny how doing something differently changes everything else.
This past week I decided to head to the basement within the first hour of returning from work. Normally I scarf down some food and read while I’m eating. This deviation from my normal routine was actually quite nice.
Monday was spend jumping on my trampoline, cleaning things up, stretching and doing some laundry. When I returned upstairs it was after 7 pm. I was ready to settle down, read, eat and relax. Most important of all, I did something I haven’t done in a VERY long time – I took a long hot soak. After reading Joss commit to a week of taking baths and how it affected her, I wanted to be in that place again. I used to take baths all the time but now it’s an afterthought and one I usually skip. This week I committed to myself…
Tuesday morning, I awoke and sat in the dark morning silence for a bit. That quiet time gave me time to remember my dreams and I took time to write them down. I’ve noticed that I’m having more dreams lately and by writing them down, I am inviting more into my world.
Tuesday night was book club night, 7 women, wine, hot tea, lots of food, book discussion, life sharing, laughter… no need to go to the basement!
Wednesday morning I was up early and sat in silence – then spent some time reading before I began my day. What an amazing effect that stillness has on my day. It transforms what lies ahead into the here and now. Oh so sweet!
Wednesday evening was back in the basement, stretching and throwing darts.
Thursday evening back in the basement, playing darts, jumping up and down, more darts, singing, lalala… That evening was another soak in the bathtub. The bath water scented with Hawaiian Coconut Sea Salt helped to slow me, ground me and calm me.
Friday morning started off with a bit of reading in my quiet house.
Friday night is group therapy at the local pub with 3 other girlfriends. It’s a fun way to end the week – sharing, connecting and getting caught up with each other over a beer and wings.
Saturday morning was a solo hike up Rabbit Mountain. The changing sky kept my eyes facing up and the appreciation I felt toward the landscape multiplied. You all know how much I adore Colorado with so much sky, sun, mountain views and tons of reasons to be outside. Love, love, love!
Sunday morning the wind was blowing like crazy but I don’t cancel a hike when it was I who suggested it! The sky was a blanket of gray clouds and we were dressed for the weather and off we went. It was a glorious hike filled with conversation, laughter, ideas, book suggestions and friendship it was an amazing way to begin a Sunday.
It was a great week for me and I especially loved the disruption I caused which helped change everything up. Taking baths was the best, followed by morning quiet time.
Spending so much time with me kept me from blogging and visiting you. I’ll work on that this week, ok?
A new week filled with challenges and opportunities to do things differently is upon us. As for last week …
First of all I wore a dress again. Yes, I think it’s like breaking in new running shoes; it’s a slow process that becomes easier each time. My two dresses can be worn a few more times before anybody realizes that perhaps I only own two?
The toilet got fixed! You can call me Marge Katherine or you can call me Rosie the Riveter!
I resigned from my role as a board member but agreed to stay on and be the Fiddle Festival coordinator. This will be the 2nd year for the organization and for me. I’ll keep you tuned in.
As for my online and off-line friends:
Carol at Quillfyre got her hands dirty trying out a pottery class. Her descriptive poem sums it all up for us.
Anne at Heaven Sent made a phone call to ask for forgiveness for something that she didn’t do. This was totally out of her comfort zone but she did it anyhow.
Joss at Crowing Crone decided to call one person each day for a week. After reading her post I wrote down a list of people I want to call. They are all still on my list – I am expecting that she did much better than I did.
Jackie at A Heart’s Whispers stated for the whole world to read that she was going to 1) contact her chiropractor and 2) honor her commitment to Ahna.
At Diggingher the opportunity to volunteer and step up to work with Dress for Success was offered and received.
ChittleChattle will surely give an update on her TV appearance. To think we have a star in our mist!
More updates to come…
Now for this week:
When I come home from work, I usually open the fridge and grab something to eat, whether I’m hungry or not. This week I plan to come home and head to the basement for the first half hour. I can throw darts, jump on my trampoline, lift weights or read a book – but it will be in a brand new environment.
In 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 …)
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!
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 interest 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?
I look forward to letting myself be 3 years old again except this time I get to plan the activities. This week was a visit to a regional airport and a car wash. Last week was the library and playground. Trains, planes and trucks bring him happiness. It seems the most basic things thrill us!
I find that when I am writing in my blog I lose track of time. I sit down and perhaps an hour or more is gone before I realize it. I adore reading what others are doing in the No Comfort Zone 2012 Challenge, too. Whether they are making pie, parellel parking, sitting quietly in silence, wearing dresses to work or just learning a new word each day – I am enthalled with the steps we are taking. Baby steps, leaps, baby steps, lunges, baby steps.
Each step takes us closer to the authentic us. The alive and passionate us. The person we look forward to spending our time with!
A heartfelt thanks is sent to Jackie at A Heart Whispers for nominating me for the Candle Lighter’s Award. It was originally created by Kate Kresse as a tribute to writers who offer hope and light in the course of their writing. This award is received with warmth and appreciation and I will gladly pass it on!
I am meeting so many amazing people who are blazing new territory and writing about their experiences. Our stories are coming alive as we put a little bit more of ourselves out there. It’s scary and yet with each bold action, post or poem by one, we all gain momentum.
Long ago, I read about The Hundredth Monkey. It is a phenomenon about monkeys who learned to wash their potatoes before eating them. It happened slowly but once the number reached 100 the added energy burst through some magical wall and the entire population followed suit. Most important of all was across the seas on other islands and mainlands this was also happening. The underlying belief is when a certain critical number achieves awareness, this new awareness may be communicated from mind to mind.
The critical mass is working in our favor too. Slowly we are writing from the heart. We are showcasing our talents. We are expressing our desires. We are surrendering to sadness. We are becoming more alive.
I believe we are united in ways I can’t even conceive. Does this make any sense to you?