Finding Your Way

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“Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” ~ Anaïs Nin

First and foremost, Ron Chapman is a full-time, all-time student of life. This allows him to approach any discipline, principle or practice in a search for valuable ideas to incorporate into his life. It also presents continual challenge, an opportunity to shatter old perspectives and ideas which no longer serve well.

An integral part of the role of the student is to seek. And for this Ron has become an adventurer and wanderlust. Who knows what places, events or circumstances may hold for any one of us. Yet we must commit ourselves to such experiences.

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From a developmental point of view, Ron values a notion described by the American philosopher Ken Wilber as “transcend and include.” Essentially, this is to incorporate everything new in a way that allows you to elevate your practice in the world, no matter what form it may take.

More important is the need to use knowledge and experience for the benefit of others…to find a way to make a contribution that is larger and provides greater value.

                    Ron Chapman

Ron Chapman

As this week’s guest on the Awakening to Awareness Radio Show, Ron discussed life transitions, what he’s learned from working through his, the concept of ‘metanoia,’ his work in the areas of healing and forgiveness and, the fact that – as boomers – vital years are not waning but beginning.

Ron talked about stepping out of comfort zones and “leaning into” / getting comfortable with discomfort as well as convincing ourselves that doing so can be in our best interests, as well as how this action can better prepare us to create breakthroughs and turn our lives into new directions. We get a sense of how Ron’s work and experience is transformational.

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The show’s podcast and Ron’s contact information is linked here.

Comfort Zones

“We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.” ~ Max DePree

Those who knew me then, would say I was a relatively shy child. Even today, I am comfortable tagging myself as an introvert. A little insecurity is not a bad thing for a young person trying to find their grounding in the world. Yet overcoming initial insecurity makes one more self-confident and prepared to step out of their comfort zone. At least it did for me.

Animals in the wild have their comfort zones. A bear will return to its lair to lick its wounds or sleep the winter away. But it cannot survive for long without stepping outside its comfort zone. Unfortunately, most of us survive quite well living entirely inside our cocoons. Our lives, our habits, our thinking gets into a rut.

In an early 2012 survey of 5,000+ people, it was found that males have a larger comfort zone than females, but when broken down by ‘comfort zone types’ it’s clear that while men have a larger ‘professional comfort zone,’ women have a larger ‘lifestyle comfort zone.’

At one time, comfort zones served a purpose in our lives. But staying in that space does little to enable the growth most want to achieve now. Parting ways with your comfort zone and stepping into the world of personal expansion can present opportunities that will, in time, assist in refining your purpose. Starting small and choosing to shift beyond your limited comfort zones often exposes you to new experiences, opinions and interests.

It has been said that any challenge falls into one of three ‘zones’ – our comfort zone, our growth zone, and our panic zone. An unwillingness to move out of a panic or comfort zone and into a growth zone, is often indicative of a resistance to change. If you are open to stepping out of your comfort zone and stretching yourself, here are three suggestions:

  1. Understand the truth about your habits. They represent past successes. You have formed habitual, automatic behaviors because you once dealt with something successfully. That’s how habits grow and why they feel useful. To shift from what is less than ideal in your life, you need to give up on your tightly held habits and try new ways of thinking and acting. Those habits are going to block you from finding new and creative ideas.
  2. Do something weird. One obvious way to leave your comfort zone, even if temporarily, is to do something new. But a more interesting option might be to do something weird. When you choose something new you may choose something that aligns with your personality and thus, comfort. This can be limiting. Instead, choose something that is out of character for you. Something that isn’t you and the people close to you wouldn’t think that you would do.
  3. Get a partner. There are some things that aren’t meant to be done alone. It’s amazing to see how much fun it is to explore and create with an ally alongside. And since you’re no longer alone in your adventure, you can feel safe as you step into a ‘growth zone.’ Find a partner. Make it happen.

Effecting Change

“Listen. Slide the weight from your shoulders and move forward. You are afraid you might forget, but you never will. You will forgive and remember. ” ~ Barbara Kingsolver

 

In most parts of the world, there is visual evidence of changing seasons. In New Mexico, we see subtle shifts in the shades of brown. 🙂 Okay, it’s a little more pronounced than that but I do miss the vibrant colors displayed each Fall by majestic maple, oak and walnut trees. Just as change is visible in nature, it’s also evident in the diet and fitness businesses that most people begin with every New Year. These latter changes often come in the form of resolutions – to make changes that will improve lives, health, or well-being.

I’m not one who makes New Year resolutions, the ones that by March most people will have given up on or fallen back into the very habits they wanted to change. Many people just end up repeating the previous year, including the choices and responses that disappointed them or motivated them to want change. Rather than putting a stake in the ground once annually, I simply choose to effect change whenever I want. There’s rarely any significance to the start date. When I recognize a change opportunity and commit to a plan of action, it’s ‘off to the races,’ then and there.

To each their own. However, if you want to make change easy, enjoyable, and effective, here are three tips:

  1. Make a change for the right reasons. Don’t change for someone else or to avoid something you don’t want. Change is personal and can only be made by you or for you. Also, since change is intended to improve your experience and better your results, it won’t happen if it is done in fear, from guilt, or by self-criticism.
  2. Intend the results now. Intentions are where our thoughts and feelings match the experience or results we want to feel and experience. Feel it now. Experience it now. The truth is you already have some level of what you desire and if you recognize and appreciate it, you can expand the possibilities for more of it.
  3. Choose, choose, and choose again. Repeated choices and actions are fundamental to change. This can take some time, not because you are replacing or changing old habits, but because you are teaching your mind new ones. The old ones remain, so to automatically choose the new ones takes a lot of repetitions. Think how many times you have repeated what you didn’t want; the new choices won’t take as long, but they will take longer than a couple of weeks or even a couple of months.

Whatever you desire to change doesn’t happen overnight, so changing it won’t either. Successful change is a process dependent on increased awareness and repeated actions. You don’t need to wait for a new year to change. You may even find yourself wondering why you waited so long to choose what you did. But at that moment when you do, you will know you have made a permanent change and the new is no longer new!

So why are you waiting?