Small Stones and Challenges outside the Comfort Zone

Carol A. Stephen

Day 29

clouds wisp and cling to the lie
of summer in today’s sky-blue
all the houses stare, disbelieving
the proof of ice on their roofs.
its clandestine testimony to winter.


I keep thinking about what my word for the year might be, and I suppose it is focus. Why? Because I often find myself on auto-pilot, easily distracted. A hundred things to think about and only time for some. The result, then, is either not doing what I really want to, surfing the ‘Net instead and going off on its peculiar tangents, or feeling tremendous guilt and anxiety over what I am not doing, and wondering what’s wrong with me.  I will need to disconnect from these distractions during my writing time. So, FOCUS.  And perhaps my “secret” word is INDULGE.  No, I don’t mean to eat too much or spend money frivolously. (Perhaps fewer writing books and more writing practice!) More, I want to recognize when it is important to indulge myself with something I would like to do. Such as enrolling in the two-day Tree Master Workshop coming up in April with John Barton. To do the things that I may not be able to do in a few more years. This is partly what my NO-Comfort Challenge to myself represents, because this, too, will require me to push myself outside my usual boundaries.

This week’s no-comfort successes came from an unexpected feeling of wanting to hibernate, isolate. Should I beg off getting together with a friend? Will the weather be a problem?  This is my first winter without going into the city every day for work. I was surprised that I was anxious about these things. So I forced myself to go anyway, simply because I had the urge to stay home.

And as I mentioned, I have signed up for a workshop in April, even though I am going on one in May down in Massachusetts. That one will be a challenge too, as I have not travelled much since 2008, when I had major, a life-threatening infection, and emergency surgery. While the surgery saved my life, it also left me with a changed plumbing system. So I worry about crossing the border with my medical supplies. And travelling so far all by myself. I was taken ill on my last trip to the U.S., and while I know the location was unrelated to my illness, it still creates anxiety to think of going.  But, if I want to travel while I am still able to, there has to be a first time. So, over the next three months I will be working on attitude for this journey.

4 thoughts on “Small Stones and Challenges outside the Comfort Zone

  1. How your life has changed in the past few years! I hope that as you venture forth the sun shines on your trip the entire way. Baby steps will get you there and smiles will get you home! Thanks for sharing!!

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