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Afraid to leave "the zone"


Today was a good day. I awoke at about 6 a.m. to a blue sky. The air was cold, but also mild. August feels like october, but thats okay.
I was very happy to be alive, until I remembered, that I was supposed to fly to New Mexico in exactly 7 days. Not good!
I was afraid to go to New Mexico.
I stayed in bed another hour and the fear was like a storm in my body. Also in my brain. So many thoughts about accidents, misfortunes, bears, the darkness, the loneliness, losing my mind actually.
This has been so every morning for the past 2 or 3 weeks. I am nervous to go. I am afraid of all the things, which could happen, to me, but more so to Lilly. Am I endangering my little daughter by bringing her to New Mexico?
Mainly, I am afraid to leave my comfort zone. So I hear my dead mother’s voice very much alive in my head: „You are crazy! Are you crazy? What do you want in New Mexico? Do you want to be killed by terrorists? What will you do, if a bear attacks you? Are you crazy to leave your other daughter?“ And on and on she rumbles in my head, like she never died, like she was still on the phone with me. Our conversations, two times a week, would always sound like this: „You are crazy! Are you crazy?“  I can feel her voice in my blood stream, its probably turned into some genetic material by now and will shape generations to come.
When I am afraid enough to ponder the idea, that I might be crazy and should stay home, I again hear my moms voice and she says: „Well, if you don’t want to, you don’t have to go!“ She said that all the time, whenever I thought about doing anything different from what we usually did. I still wonder, how I ever left Lützenkirchen and made it to Berlin, frankly. "You are crazy! What do you want in Berlin? You wanna be unemployed and sink into some drug abyss? Are you crazy?"

I am afraid to leave my comfort zone. Which means: I am afraid to lose control. Which means in the end: I am afraid to somehow die. No, worse: I am afraid, that somehow my daughter will die and its my fault.
Leaving my comfort zone, losing control, about what? About every tiny detail of my life. I am an angry person. Mostly, I am angry about being trapped in, what only a few lines ahead I called, my comfort zone, which can turn out to be a pretty narrow and dark box. This boring everyday life, in which nothing much happens. Stuck!
Lets face it, comfort zones are comfortable. Therefore, people like them. Therefore, they are traps. Which does not bother everybody. This is okay. Not everybody has to be adventurous. We need people, who love their normal lifes. The point is, I always wanted to be courageous and adventurous. I always longed to leave my comfort zone, always.
Some people hate to be challenged. They could stay on their couch all day, watch tv, going to bed early, knowing exactly what they will eat the next day for lunch at exactly noon, every day, plates on the table at noon. This was my mother. I can not remember her ever longing for something. I can not remember her ever having lunch later than noon. Of course, she was complaining all the time, which might have been, I am just suggesting here, a sign for her suppressed longing, but outwardly, she hated change and criticezed everybody, who caused change. So, yeah, she blamed life, all the time. The big changer!

So, whenever I tried to leave my comfort zone, which was for the longest time pretty identical with her comfort zone, she would feel threatened. Then I would also feel threatened. Because, in my moms eyes I could read, that everything outside of our mutual comfort zone was horrible, and dangerous. So, usually, I would decide to draw back. It took me a long time, to realize, that this withdrawal had nothing to do with me not wanting to leave „the zone“, but with fear. Fear is the biggest enemy of growth. If you want to grow, you have to face down your fears. Its a plain fact. Don't even waste time on arguing about it. Use that time to face your fears. If you want to grow, that is. You don't have to, if you don't want to. Actually, this would be a pretty intense spiritual practise, to confront a fear every day. Do something, which demands your courage, every day. Wow, that IS scary.

As long as I followed my family’s interpretation of those weird feelings, rushing through my body, creeping through my guts, whenever I thought about daring something new, something wild, I thought by not doing it after all, I was following my own free will. Like my mom said: „If you don’t want to, you don’t have to.“ And nobody was more relieved then her, when I changed my mind and stayed on the couch with her, because I obviously didn't want to...
So it took me a long time to realize: I actually wanted. Every time, I wanted to go out and explore and venture. I so longed to be adventurous and courageous. It was just, that I was afraid.

When I wake up at 6 a.m., sky blue, air mild, me afraid to leave my comfort zone, it takes me a while to realize, that I want to go, and that fear is a beautiful partner, if you want to practise to be courageous, do it every morning, at 6 a.m., like me. Just observe your thoughts and feelings and do not take them seriously. After a while, you calm down, you understand, that flying to New Mexico next Wednesday is a beautiful thing to do!

When my mom was dying, she had left her comfort zone completely behind. I still wonder, how she did that. But it felt like, she embraced the unknown, she was happy to finally jump into the wildest adventure imaginable for humans. During her last minutes on this earth, she looked at me, I embraced her and I said: have a safe trip, mom. She was not afraid at all. She ventured.
The day had been good. Blue skye, the air mild for february. She started her journey at 6 p.m.
I bit my tongue, but I really wanted to say: you are crazy! are you crazy? just to make her smile, one last time. She had humour, you know, especially, when she was dying, she smiled about everything. 


(c) Susanne Becker

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