Hello, or should I say ‘hola’, little blog blog.
First of all, I’ve been shockingly rubbish at blogging or writing ANYTHING lately. I got to a point where I felt like what I was writing wasn’t very good, and I didn’t want to just blog shit for the sake of it. You know the saying, if you can’t say anything witty-funny-enlightening-and-deep, don’t say anything at all.
Before I start, I’d just like to tell y’all a bit of what I’ve been up to since I last blogged. Basically, I swapped the vibrancy and greyness of London for the heat and ‘arte’ of Seville. I’m now teaching English for a Government programme to Spanish University students.
Sounds snazzy, but in reality it involves hearing ‘people is’ and ‘I am agree’ about 100 times a day and trying wake tired people up. In the the 46 degree sevillano heat.
Pleasantries done; let’s talk about comfort zones.
I’m starting to see how vital it is for human beings to expand their comfort zones, and to do something different, something new, something a bit out of the mould.
In my (pre-mentioned) job, I get to meet LOADS of people. We have 15 new students every week, which means that so far I’ve taught about 150 students in about 14 weeks. One of the biggest thing I’ve noticed is the difference going out of one’s comfort zone makes to a person.
The people I’ve met who have travelled, or worked, or who immigrated to Spain, or have an interesting hobby that they’re really into are infinitely more interesting than the ones who have only ever studied a degree that they don’t love but think it will get them a decent job, who’ve never worked, or lived abroad, or done anything differently to the lives their parents lived at their age.
I know for me as well that the time I’ve spent living in Spain has been really transformative and has forced me to grow up more than 3 years at University ever did. And I think it’s because it’s a bit difficult. A lot different and makes me rely on myself. Given that my Spanish ain’t that bien, everything I do here pushes me out of my comfort zone. Looking for a flat? Out of comfort zone. Asking for directions? Out of comfort zone. Even going shopping can end up resembling a game of articulate; ‘I’m looking for a thing, that you put on your skin if you have a cut…ah yes. Plasters!’.
I’m starting to think if you don’t push yourself you never move past the point when you stopped doing different things. If you’re living exactly the same life that you lived 10 years ago, chances are you haven’t developed since then. Again, looking at the students that I teach. Some of them are the same as me, 23 for your information, but live the same lives that they lived when they were 15, and thus seem like 15 year olds. They still live at home, in the same lil’ village, with the same friends, same places and have never had to cook for themselves or find their way in a new situation. And it shows.
Stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to mean moving countries. It could be trying a new sport, or learning a language, or travelling, or meeting new people. Anything that enriches your life and causes you to develop new skills.
I think it’s also important to not stop. If I stay in Seville for the next 10 years, carry on teaching English, live in the same flat, eat the same food, then I’ll be pretty much the same at 33 as I am now. I think it’s easy to make one big jump and then to think that’s it. I’ve made my changes, I don’t need to do anything else. Or we get overly attached to feeling settled and start to value that over new experiences.
Of course what stepping out of your comfort zone looks like can change. For me it’s travelling, but even travelling can become routine. Maybe in 10 years time getting married and buying a house will push me out of comfort zone, whereas rocking up in a new city won’t. Comfort zones can get subtler and less obvious.
I think having the courage to step out of your comfort zone is vital not only for personal, but also spiritual development. I notice that quite often I work through an issue and feel great. For a while. But there always comes a point where it’s necessary to re-evaluate and take a leap into something new.
I think this is part of what gets people stuck in something bordering on religious dogma when it comes to spirituality. They reach a certain point, be it with regards to a yoga practice, meditation methods, diets, people, or a state, and think that’s it and never go any further.
Maybe they’re teachers who discover something, teach it, and then stop developing. Pretty soon something that was revolutionary becomes the norm and people start to ‘overtake’ them in terms of awakening.
Or, they get dogmatic about the way they live their life and what once pushed and challenged them now becomes their cage. I see this most often in people who discover that they have an ego, and then spend their time getting to go know their ego and issues. This can of course be very empowering and necessary. But unless you start letting go of your issues and conditioning what was useful, starts to become self indulgent. Rather than developing, you have exactly the same issues and the only difference is that you know them really well, and start to really believe in them. Which is not good!
Just to give an almost obligatory sporting analogy. The training that athlete does as a child, will push them. For the level they’re at. But they can’t expect to win gold (Olympics shout out!) if they continue to do the same training they did as a child. They have to increase the difficulty as soon as what they’re currently doing gets easy.
So, to finish. It’s super important to do step out of your comfort zone. To grow, to learn, to fall flat on your face and get back up. But don’t presume that what was once out of your comfort zone always will be. If life starts to feel a bit samey, or if you notice yourself feeling reluctant to do something new, if routine becomes your focus, it’s time to shake it up and step it up a notch.
Also, me and my lovely mumma, who is way more enlightened, interesting, funny and knowledgable that I could ever hope to be, are thinking about making videos about all aspects of spirituality and personal development, but with a super down to earth everyday language kind of vibe, and I was wondering if there was anything that you’d be particularly interested to hear about. So far I’m thinking of topics like ‘Conditioning’ focusing on what it is and what to do about how. Or ‘How to look at and let go of issues’. As well as specific topics on very common issues like ‘Shame’ and ‘Rejection’
If you have any ideas/requests let me know in the comments section or send me a message to firstname.lastname@example.org