As a yoga and Pilates teacher, I’m often suggesting to students to step outside of their comfort zones. We spend a lot of time doing what comes easy or natural to us. This year I will be practicing what I preach, as I have many plans in which I, too, will be going outside of my comfort zone. Even sharing this info with readers is going outside of my comfort zone.
I was thinking of this just now as I was going through children’s clothing to take with me to South Africa. I will be teaching at a Yoga retreat there next week. As part of South Africa Yoga’s community investment, they support an early childhood development center. I had asked them if I could bring anything with me and they said they needed children’s clothing. I do not have kids myself, so I drew upon my generous friends and now have a nice stash to take with me.
You may wonder what any of this has to do with going outside of your comfort zone. Well, I have never wanted children, have not spent much time around them and never really had the interest. I never even babysat as a teenager… trust me, you definitely would not have wanted me around your kids when I was a kid myself, but that’s another story! I’ve just never been a kid person. For me to look forward to visiting this early childhood development center is really exciting. I actually am truly looking forward to it! I think partly it’s because I’ll be doing something completely different than “me” and anything I would normally do. For me to make lots of space in my backpack for kid’s clothes, well… that’s definitely new.
You see, I’ve always kind of considered myself sort of a selfish person. I’m sure others would argue. Sure I have a big heart, I’m extremely compassionate, I am very kind… but I do most things for me. I exercise a lot, I read, I watch movies, I spend lots of time with my husband, I travel. I have always admired those “good” people that are compelled to volunteer locally or spend their vacation time and money working in developing countries. I remember volunteering once in high school, but it was only so I could write it on an application. I have, though, volunteered at yoga studios for the last two years… yes, of course, to get free classes, but also to begin to instill the practice of Seva (selfless service) into my life.
I admire those of you where this comes natural, but for me it is a practice. I happen to not need any motivation to work out for hours. That comes easy to me. So I must practice being a “good” person. I know I’m not by nature a “bad” person. I don’t even like using these words “good/bad” it reminds me of labeling food… again another topic. I want to do something that’s NOT easy for me! This in part is the reason I will be attending Off the Mat Leadership Training with Seane Corn in July. I am finally at a point in my life where I want to do something for others. I feel inspired to transfer the Carri Power I have within and want to pass it on though community projects and global activism.
I know the Off the Mat training will be intense. It will be interesting to see what arises during those five days, especially since I am doing the training with my sister, Lauren. In a way I am nervous, but at the same time excited by the discomfort of it all. I’m sure there will be many tears, but I hope to ultimately leave the training with a new light and direction in which to transmit all of this energy I have within. I know that through teaching I already share this energy, but I’m finally ready to take it off the mat and into the world as I know there is something out there bigger than myself!