I am told that I am an ambitious person. I am not sure that that is true. I do know that I am not often satisfied. That is not to say that I don’t find satisfaction in my work and with my family. It is more of a feeling that I want to continue to push myself. I get nervous when things get too easy and comfortable.
Having the Floor Drop from Beneath Me
I have had a few experiences in my life when everything changed in an instant. My life, as I knew it, was never going to be the same. Now, you could say that this happens everyday, and it does. Every step, every decision shifts your life. However, some experiences seem to have more impact than others. Some experiences call into question the stability and safety in the world. When this happens, there is a choice to be made. You can dig in and hide or you can put yourself back out there. I tend to want to put myself back into the world with a passion that is greater than ever before.
Breaking up Old Patterns
I also think that pushing oneself helps to break up old patterns. In yoga, it is called samskara or baggage. We all learn to cope with stress in specific ways but we don’t need to keep doing it the same old way.
Swami Chetananada puts it this way:
The openness of life itself that we cultivate frees us from a great deal of conditioning and many inherent, and inherited assumptions…Life is not about answers. It is about learning to live in the middle of complete uncertainty, and doing so gracefully.
The Spectum of Life
I believe that we all live within a spectrum of experiences. If you stay too close to the middle, your life will be stable and safe but it won’t have the major highs and lows. I believe the highs and lows are part of what make life worth living. We are a culture that is obsessed with happiness. This drink will make me happy. This car will make me happy. This job will make me happy. First of all, true happiness and contentment does not occur in an instant. It is built over time choice upon choice.
To me pushing my comfort zone is about being alive, feeling what is out there, the good, the bad and the ugly! To me pushing my comfort zone is about enthusiasm for all that life offers.
Enthusiasm, the secret of eternal youth by Swami Bua, age 110
Youth is not a time of life-it is a state of mind. It is not a matter of ripe cheeks, red lips, and supple knees. It is a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions. It is freshness of the deep springs of life. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old only by deserting their ideals. Years wrinkle the skin but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.