BY: Julie Slater – “The Lotus Flower”
Last month I introduced my new and exciting “No Net Society”. That’s where we crazy gals (OK, so far there’s only two of us) leap without a net. My friend Jaime’s leap was leaving Los Angeles and moving to Atlanta, buying a mid-century fixer-upper house that she now lovingly calls her “money pit.” My leap was me leaving somewhat steady income and going for it in the unsteady world of voiceover and audiobook narration.
I recently checked in with Jaime and asked how the leap was going. She said she was: “alternately satisfied and terrified!” Yup. Same.
Sure, we’re real cool. Daring. And pretty gosh darned clever (thank you very much). But we may have forgotten to read the pesky fine print on the leap agreement. Although the rush of the initial leap was thrilling, we’re both quickly learning that leaping isn’t all candy canes and unicorns.
Sure, we’re guaranteed by the masses that if we step outside of our comfort zone, we’ll stretch and pull ourselves into a brilliant, more fulfilled being – like a beautiful piece of gooey, shiny, salt water taffy. (Please see Exhibit A)
It’s just – no one seemed to emphasize that being stretched and pulled, flippin’ hurts!
You may recall, in the midst of this “going for it/no net” plan, I was diagnosed with a “frozen shoulder”. Now, the irony of being told you’re partly frozen after deciding to be brave and take big risks, is not lost on me, let me tell you.
The body has a funny way of reacting to your brain’s decisions: “You’re gonna do what? But wait, we like it in the soothing, warm, comfort-zone bath. Why would we want to leap into that ice-cold pond of the unknown??” I can hear the little guys inside my body proclaiming: “Commence the FREEZE UP! We can stop her!!”
I’ve been going to physical therapy for a few weeks now. If you’ve never done physical therapy before, there’s a reason people stop going or don’t go at all – it flippin’ hurts! (Recurring theme here.) The therapist’s goal is to stretch and pull you INTO the pain. (Again, please see Exhibit A). One guy literally said, “Let’s see how much you can tolerate today.” Say what? That line weighed heavy on me. Isn’t that most of life – testing our tolerance level? They say you live the life you can tolerate (I was hoping to tolerate winning a billion dollars in that recent huge Mega Millions lottery drawing, by the way.). Hmmmm.
The other secret part about taking leaps that no one talks about – the initial leap is by far the easiest part, if you ask me. When you decide to leap, you’re all jacked up on confidence, excitement, and chutzpah. Unfortunately, fear, doubt, and anxiety are just waiting for you in a dark alley like a drug dealer. “Psst. First one’s free, kid.”
Jaime has also joined the injured list. But instead of becoming frozen, she burned. She was scalded by steam while making a cup of tea. A pretty bad burn. I’m not saying her body made her do it, but it IS pissed for being pushed off a cliff!
In the end, I suppose injuries come with the territory. And luckily the body works in miraculous ways to heal itself. I’ve found through physical therapy that the injured area of your body remembers the pain you endured and tries to protect you from the pain again. So, even when you’re progressing physically, the body guards you from the pains it remembers and tries to stop you from pushing forward. You literally must fight your body’s natural inclination to save you.
The same goes for leaping out of your comfort zone. Your brain is going to really, really try to keep you where you are: the safe spot. But you, too, can resist. You simply tell your insides you don’t need the life vest: “No thanks, I got this.” (Even when you want to cling to that vest for dear life.)
Not so great moments do pop up, for sure, post-leap. The other day I was feeling a bit anxious about my new future, and then (I love when this happens) I came across exactly what I needed to hear. I found an interview online with my friend Tami Bahat. (She’s an amazing fine art photographer: http://www.tamibahatphotography.com/).
In the article, she talked about her own growth as an artist:
“At first, growth sometimes connects to fear, and that pain feels counterintuitive and makes you not want to try or to back off. But the moment you can push through those feelings you have the potential to expand a whole new beautiful world for yourself.”
There it is. No pain, no gain.
Ok, Ok. I get it. I will keep pushing through my frozen shoulder. And Jaime will keep pushing through the aches of her burn. And we’ll both keep pushing through our comfort zones until we get to the other side. But not before we tolerate way more stretching and pulling…and pain.
Julie Slater, aka THE LOTUS FLOWER, looooves music. Besides being a rabid fan and musician, you may recognize her voice. She’s a voiceover artist and audiobook narrator (www.julieslater.com). She’s DJ’d on top stations: 88.5 FM and 100.3 the Sound in LA and 92.3 K-Rock in NYC following Howard Stern.
When she’s not at concerts, you can usually find her meditating or in the kitchen. She has a slight obsession with deep, dark cabernets & small batch whiskey. Namaste!