Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.  – Neale Donald Walsch

I have this quote sitting in my office and it reminds me to enjoy life by doing things that are sometimes not so comfortable. Like zip-lining through the tree canopy in the Berkshire Hills, and floating on inner-tubes down the river just barely in front of an ominous thunderstorm.

In taiji push-hands free-play, when we are in a playful game of taking the other’s balance, knowing the boundaries of my comfort zone is very important. And even more important is knowing when what is comfortable, is actually not safe, even though it is comfortable.  For this is where trouble happens.

We tend to conflate the two feelings in our minds – comfort and safety. And while for a lot of life’s circumstances safety does feel comfortable – it doesn’t always.  (I am thinking of the harnesses we had to wear to safely fly through the trees last week.) And there are times when I may think I am safe, when really I am only comfortable. (As when I am comfortably at home relaxing, and the nuclear power plant 17 miles away begins it’s core meltdown, contaminating three states before anyone is notified).

Because we conflate the two feelings – we think when we are comfortable we are safe – we also lose something of the thrill of living. Don’t get me wrong, despite the past week’s daredevil activities, I am an accountant at heart – careful and cautious – not one to take unnecessary chances. But I am also a martial artist at heart – someone who likes to be in my body and enjoy the power of doing and moving.  For living is thrilling, isn’t it?

It is one grand adventure to inhabit these bodies for whatever time we do.  Paying attention to safety and comfort is part of the journey – distinguishing the two is part of the art of living.  How do you tell them apart?

Til the next move,

Dorian

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