Habit, Comfort, & Courage (pt. 3)
Hello beautiful humans! Welcome to week 3!
In week 1, we noticed and sensed our habits. In week 2, we practiced exercising and sensing our whole comfort zone. As we slide into part 3, this week is all about expanding our comfort zones.
Expanding our comfort zones
Once we have figured out where our edges are, the question then becomes: where do I want my edges to be?
Are there any areas in dance/life where you feel inhibited?
Any areas where you would like to be more comfortable?
Once we know where we feel bound, we can then start to explore how we might create more freedom for ourselves.
The key? Gentle progressive overload.
We must go beyond comfort into the unknown. More plainly: We've gotta do that thing that feels uncomfortable to do. :)
We can think of it like an investment - or training. Just like in any physical fitness training (strength, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, etc.), to stimulate change/growth/adaptation, we must push ourselves a little more/further/differently than we are used to. The same goes with life. If we want to build our comfort, we've got to do the thing.
Overtime, inch-by-inch, we'll start to notice a few awesome things:
We’ll build our courage muscles by regularly going into the unknown.
We'll get more comfortable with experiencing moments of discomfort.
We’ll start to develop more comfort, ease, and enjoyment doing ___ (thanks to repetition).
We’ll discover some things (that were once unknown) are actually awesome (yay!).
We'll develop our self-trust and self-respect, knowing that we can take on difficult tasks.
We'll enjoy a more spacious comfort zone. More freedom. More comfort in life. Yes!
If you hear a voice within you saying you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced. -Vincent van Gogh
Exploring a variety of dimensions
Just as we did in parts 1 and 2, we can explore this in quite a variety of ways as well. The first aspect we explored was the size of our movement. But feel free to experiment with this focus beyond range of motion as well. For example...
In class, we might tune into things such as:
Where are the edges of my comfort zone currently?
Where do I want them to be?
Are there ways I wish I felt more comfortable moving? This could be going either direction on any spectrum: more or less of anything.
Do I ever hold back out of fear that your movement will be/look/feel too _______ (sexy, childish, silly, old, powerful, aggressive, shy, weak, lazy, serious, bold, etc.)
How do I tend to use my voice in class? Do I feel comfortable to sing, hi-yah, or share thoughts in the circle? Alternatively, do I feel comfortable choosing not to if I ever don't feel like it?
Do I ever want to wear something else to dance in, by shy away from doing so?
How close do I move near the camera/others in class?
How else might I explore this on the dance floor?
Outside of class, we could tune into things such as:
Are there ways outside of my current comfort zone that I’d like to be able express myself?
How do I use my voice? At home, work, with friends, or on social media?
Are there invitations I say no to, that I wish I felt comfortable saying yes to? Or vice versa?
Are there any activities I would like to try? Or activities I haven't done in a long time that I'd like to have back within my comfort zone?
Is there a conversation I’ve been avoiding?
A responsibility I would take on? A way I would like to contribute or express myself more (if it weren't currently outside my comfort zone)?
Is there a skill you'd like to learn or further develop/master?
Are there ways I am holding myself back or not expressing myself fully because that next step feels uncomfortable?
How else might I explore this off the dance floor?
Freeing the body leads inevitably to freeing the heart. -Gabrielle Roth
Is it all going to feel wonderful?
The process of dancing ourselves free may not always be comfortable at first. But developing the ability to notice one’s self-imposed limitations, and then move beyond them in this way? So very helpful and liberating.
For example, can you remember the time you first experienced an Aya class? Walking in the door, or opening up the zoom window that first time? There may have been moments that were unlike anything you'd experienced before. It was all brand new to you, so there may have been times where you felt a little awkward, unsure, or even overwhelmed with a sudden experience of emotion. Yet there was something about the new experience that brought you back for more. Maybe it was the joy. The exhilarating aliveness. The connection. The freedom! Whatever it was, here you are - dancing again and again! The entire experience - the movements, freedom, music, emotions, and connection - became more familiar and therefore more comfortable with every dance.
Going outside of our comfort zone can sometimes lead us to the most wonderful feelings. But there may also be some growing pains during the process of wiggling loose, shedding, shaking off, or breaking open what feels too tight and confining.
The key for sustainable progress when doing things that feel physically, mentally, or emotionally challenging? Ease in and progress gradually.
Just do a little more than usual. Just go a little further. Just tip-toe a bit beyond that edge.
Take that first step. Gently. Easy does it.
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. -Anais Nin
Ready to dive in?
I can't wait to see where we go with this focus this week, friends. Aya is a perfect space to explore and experiment with our comfort zones -- no one even needs to know when/how you are doing it. Tip-toe in, slip in stealthily, or splash right in with a giant cannonball. However much, and in whatever way you might like to explore this. :)
Remember: easy does it. I'll be there, right with you. As always, I can't wait to see what we discover and learn together.
See you on the dance floor, friends!