A few weeks ago, I wrote about my experience riding up Mt. Lemmon. Due to my timing parameters that day, I had an hour set aside to ride UP, and boy was that a hard stretch of steady climbing! My body was definitely out of its comfort zone. I was asking my mental, cardiovascular, and muscular systems to adapt and change to accommodate this new challenge. An unexpected gift came during the next week of riding, running and hiking where everything felt distinctly easier! It’s not that the activities were easier, but my body and mind adapted to the Mt. Lemmon experience and gave me a new perspective in future experiences.
This reminds me to continue to nudge the edges of my comfort zones physically, mentally and emotionally. As I do this, I grow and experience my life in new ways. For me, that’s what life is all about….to be alive, present, and experience each day fully. For you skeptics out there, I am not saying I am able to do this every day, but when I do, I feel a surge of life, ah! There is a beautiful balance between living life and being alive versus just going through the motions.
Where have you settled in your life? Where could you step out of your box and into an unknown? It doesn’t have to be HUGE, just something new or different. Maybe it’s taking a different route to a place you often go? Or maybe it’s riding your bike or walking there instead? No matter what you do that is different — pause and note how it feels or felt. Find something that made the experience ‘worth it.’ Maybe you got excited because you saw a new restaurant you want to try? Maybe you felt strong riding your bike to/from the destination and it made you want to feel that way more in your life?
One of the most important things to do with new experiences is to acknowledge the gift in it, no matter how small. Revel in it. The minute we minimize it, we dissuade ourselves from doing new things in the future. We put limits on ourselves unintentionally. Imagine if you responded with, ‘Well, I just got stuck in more traffic going that route.’ Yes, this may happen, but this interpretation trains your brain to find what is wrong rather than what is positive and new. Maybe while you were waiting in traffic, you could ALSO have noticed a family walking home together from school smiling and having fun?? Maybe it reminds you of an experience you had as a child and it makes you smile too?
So this week, give it a try. Dip your toe in the deep end, note what happens, and then describe it to a friend or someone willing to listen, write about it, or reply to this blog and tell me about it!