I remember the day when I was 3 years old and my father threw me into the motel pool. The water rushed up my nose and I bobbed up to the surface choking and crying while my mom was yelling at my father. He calmly said that it was the best way to teach me to swim. He got down to my eye level, put his arm around me and asked if I wanted to go back into the water. I looked at him and was trying to get out the word yes in between my sobbing and gasping. He took my hand and gently eased me back into the pool and I began to kick my feet and flail my arms about propelling me through the water.
That is how my love for swimming and exploring underwater began. I think about that memory from time to time whenever I have a fear of learning or doing something new that is out of my familiar territory aka the comfort zone.
As I get older, I realize that it is way too easy to fall back into that overstuffed comfy chair and not dare do anything different for fear of failing. Besides, a good book and a comfy chair are quite seductive as well as a comfortable fit.
I spend a lot of time at my computer creating digital art and I love it! I'm learning something new almost on a daily basis and it is definitely my familiar territory. The day passes in a flash and before I can even think about it, it's time for dinner. I am able to forget about the many distractions that surround me and completely put my energy, focus and myself into my art. It's a wonderful experience and yet I feel like life is moving way too fast and I'm still sitting in that chair.
I stick to my routines that are good for me on most days. There's yoga, exercise, meditation and creativity time and yet something is missing. The spontaneity of grabbing my camera and going somewhere different to see what I can find. Spontaneity of picking up a paintbrush and seeing what happens or even creating a messy mess with glue and pieces of cut out paper for a collage.
Every Spring, I want to do something different, stretch, break out of the norm and make new discoveries. I want to take backroads and see everything there is to see. Get outside and breathe, pick wildflowers and go. Work on new photo projects or get messy in the studio with paints and glue. Sometimes I do but all too often I choose to stay in that comfort zone and miss out on all sorts of wonderful opportunities for new experiences and learn so much more.
I'm still working on shaking up the daily schedule from time to time. I know that whenever I am feeling restless, it's time to do something different. I did break out the paintbrushes and paints a couple of weeks ago and created a small abstract that I called, "Learning to Swim". That's when I realized that during this past year, we have all been learning to swim. We have been thrown into the pool to sink or swim and we're learning that we can remove the floaties and swim rings and start swimming.
Sure, I may be flailing along and swallow too much water or have water go up my nose but
eventually, I will figure out how to navigate and ultimately enjoy the new experience.