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How to Bust Through Your Comfort Zone {Recipe}

by Elise Museles

hike-largeTHE SCENE: Standing at the base of a vast & beautiful coastal mountain in Southern California about to embark on an exciting challenge: hiking 13 miles … straight uphill to the top.

Homemade trail mix fills my pockets, sunscreen coats my skin, and my hiking shoes are tightly laced. I peer around and smile at the cluster of  twelve inspiring people surrounding me. Energy and enthusiasm swarm my body. I’m ready.

Until, our neo-hippie guide, who can’t be much older than 20, informs us that there will be “no talking on the hike.” A silent hike? For 13 miles?

“It’s not the 70’s!” I want to scream. “Civilized people chat on a 13-mile hike!” But I don’t say that.

My internal brakes slammed on. All I notice is resistance. Annoyance. Judgment.

I wanted it the way I envisioned it… a time to connect with others, maybe take some memorable photos and share personal stories. None of that could happen in utter silence. But before I allowed my nagging negativity to completely dampen this experience, I took a giant step back and asked myself, what was I afraid of?

The truth is: I hate to be silent. After all these years, I still have to be mindful… of my mind. My brain explodes. Millions of thoughts hurdle through, non-stop, crashing into one another. What was I going to do without music or fun conversation?  Without distractions?

I needed to let go of the judgment and become curious about the experience, or I was in for a loooong day.

And you know what? By the time I reached the top of that mountain I felt amazingly refreshed, rejuvenated, and renewed. But I didn’t have a serene hike the whole way up. I wrestled with monkey mind for the first two hours (the kids at home, the talk I had to prepare, my grumbling stomach). And, I definitely fixated on when I could take a break and eat my trail mix.

Finally, about three quarters of the way up, I stopped to catch my breath for a second. I caught a whiff of ocean mixed with eucalyptus – and I could feel the scents easing my body. Then I looked down at the deep blue pacific, my tightly laced hiking boots planted there in the dust, and I felt rooted. I knew I was okay. That moment of serenity stretched out, and I couldn’t help but smile the rest of the way.

This experience reminded me of an essential life lesson – that accomplishing goals after breaking through resistance is always far sweeter and more satisfying to our spirits.

We all have these patterns where we fear moving away from our comfort zone. We resist. We judge. We don’t want to try something new.  And this inclination to avoid risks? It can prevent us from doing things that we might actually enjoy.

If we could just shift the resistance into the same curiosity and wonder that a child might have, the experience can open up those once stagnant ways of thinking.

As Eleanor Roosevelt said: “Do one thing a day that scares you.”

Maybe you fear that fat in your food means fat on your body. Why not try incorporating healthy fats into your meal and become curious about how it makes you feel?

Maybe you’re scared to open up to a friend, for fear that she will judge you. Instead, tell her what’s really going on. See how she responds when you let the real you out.

Maybe you want to complete a triathlon or run a 10k, but you fear that you’re not cut out for racing. Instead, don’t compare yourself with other athletes and just focus on the thrill of training and getting stronger.

Or maybe you fear silence, like I did.

Now it’s your turn: what have you been resisting out of fear? How can you turn this resistance into curiosity? Share in the comments below.

Oh, and just in case you were curious, here’s my Superfood Trail Mix recipe that kept me fueled in silence.  It makes a great on-the-go snack to bring along while traveling. Enjoy!

superfoods trail mixSuperfood Trail Mix

*Makes 3¼ cups

INGREDIENTS

½ cup sunflower seeds
1 cup walnuts
1 cup goji berries
½ cup coconut flakes
¼ cup cacao nibs

METHOD

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and store in airtight container.

12 Responses to How to Bust Through Your Comfort Zone {Recipe}

  1. Karen July 3, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

    I loved this article Elise!! Brilliant and so honest!! And really inspiring!
    Ok, my big fear (and desire!) is to write a book. And the closer I get to thinking about it, hiring a coach, and even writing out the chapters, the more I feel that resistance set in…that nasty little voice in my head saying things like, “who do you think you are?” ” there are already books like this out there that are probably better” and “what if I get criticized.”
    UGH!!
    But the metaphor of putting on my hiking shoes, grabbing my trail mix, and moving forward, one step at a time, is really helpful.
    Thank you as always for sharing your wisdom, my smart colleague and dear friend!!

    • Elise Museles July 3, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

      Karen, What a great interpretation to use the hiking boots and trail mix as a metaphor to move forward with your goals! I appreciate your honesty about your own inner dialogue. We all have that mean critic. You definitely should write the book. Your powerful message needs to be shared with all the moms and daughters out there. I can’t wait to read your book!

  2. Stacey July 3, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

    Hi Elise – what a great post about how to notice thoughts and eventually let those thoughts go without judgment or fear. I actually love silence, but then when I read your post, maybe I’m not as silent as I appear to be…as you write in your post, I too have so many thoughts running through my mind each day! I worked through my resistance to fear a little this week with respect to my coaching practice and embracing the idea that if I continue to give of myself and give of myself without being compensated properly for my time, I will burnout and end up not having a business at all. It is scary to think about your passion as a form of income, so it is a balancing act…by the way, your trail mix sounds delicious!

    • Elise Museles July 3, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

      Stacey, you made me laugh about not really being as silent as you appear! Thanks for sharing your experiences this week. There are definitely blurred lines when your passion and business are the same. I’m glad that you had some clarity around this topic. I really get this one:).

  3. Mamaste July 3, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

    Elise, you know I could talk to a rock. That is my talent, to talk to people and connect. But this does sound intriguing. Next time I might join you. I have been having a problem Elise. Where do you purchase cacao nibs. I’ve been searching for months!
    xoxo
    ~Mamaste

    • Elise Museles July 3, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

      Mamaste! We would definitely be challenged if we went on a “silent meditation” hike together. Connecting is great, but the real challenge is taking that opportunity to connect with yourself:). You can get the cacao nibs at almost any natural food store in the Superfood aisles or online. Let me know if you have trouble finding them. xo

  4. Nina July 3, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

    I loved this!!! And I couldn’t agree more – we need to be pushing through the tough moments in order to experience those moments of pure bliss. Thanks for sharing this with the world 🙂

    • Elise Museles July 3, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

      You are welcome, Nina! I’m so glad that this post resonated with you.

  5. bonnie July 3, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

    Aloha Elise,

    Thanks so much for sharing your challenging experience that is so uplifting because you broke through
    by changing to accomplish your goal and we can feel the joy of it because you shared 🙂

    As I sit at my desk I can’t wait to clean up the papers – just don’t time to file – so I can make your terrific
    trail mix I can enjoy for the 4th and beyond.

    Namaste,
    bonnie

    • Elise Museles July 7, 2014 at 1:28 am #

      Hi Bonnie! Thank you for being a part of the conversation here. I’m so glad that the post resonated with you. Hope you are enjoying the trail mix at your clean desk:).

  6. jamie July 6, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

    I recently met a new group of people are in alignment with my values and do wonderful things for our community. At first I was so excited to have found yla group of new friends -a group of people I could connect with. They werebso beautiful on the outside and on the inside…. and that’s when I hit me -wow they’re really beautiful on the outside! And then came the fear. it was like I was back in high school again and couldn’t shake the thoughts in my head that I wasn’t good enough just because of outward appearances. I was scared of being judged scared of looking bad and yet I push myself to go to another event and had such a great time. It’s in the discomfort where we can really stretch ourselves. Thank you for this post I loved it!

    • Elise Museles July 7, 2014 at 1:25 am #

      Jamie,
      Good for you for stretching yourself and allowing yourself to move outside your comfort zone. Thank you so much for inspiring us with your story.

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