Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

comfort zone

It’s Friday at 1:45 pm and I’m leaving New York City for a spiritual retreat in the Poconos. I choose a window seat in the middle of the bus, placing my pocketbook and large duffel bag on the seat next to me. I have this strange feeling for a second, like I’m back in grade school, saying hello to strangers and sharing my name. Feels like déjà vu.

All of a sudden I have this saddened feeling in my heart. I only see families and much older people on the bus. I was told that it was going to be a “singles retreat”. One of the reasons I was going on this retreat was to meet other single people, and I had hopes that maybe I would connect with someone cool. It most certainly doesn’t look like very many single people are on the bus. Stopping myself from going to that negative place, I say, “they told us that many people were driving up, so maybe there will be singles when we get there.”

I’m staying in the positive! I keep reminding myself: I will meet new people and see new faces. I will create an opening inside of me as to what the weekend will bring.

Before I know it, a really spirited woman walks on the bus. She is so warm as she greets everyone. She is really cute and petite framed, with dark hair and a great dimple on the right side of her cheek. She has such positive energy.

“Hi,” she says. “I’m Ami. You don’t look familiar. Are you a member of BJ? Are you here with anyone or are you alone?” I respond with, “Hi, I’m Betsy. Nice to meet you and yes I have been a member of BJ for 25 years. And to answer the second half of your question, yes I am alone and was hoping to meet other single people…and hopefully a cute man! But it doesn’t seem like very many single people are on this bus?”  Ami says, “You are going to love the retreat. I have been on so many. They are great! Don’t worry. There will be a few single people when we get up there. But it doesn’t matter anyway, because everyone is so friendly and warm. You will have a wonderful time.” “Yes,” I say. “That’s what I’m hoping.” Ami introduces me to her family and I meet her husband Todd and their daughter Eden. They are all very lovely.


 I then turn on my iPhone, plug in my headphones and tune into some beautiful, meditative music as I watch the beauty of the scenery. Everything is in unison. It’s a pretty drive and it’s starting to clear my head. Looking forward to what’s coming, I dose off for a while. When I open my eyes, I see the tranquility of lush greenery and vast openness, and watch as we pass the men fishing in the distant rivers. The water is up to their knees. “The water must be ice cold,” I think, but it probably doesn’t matter much to them. They seem really content and happy. It’s making me contemplate the little things that make us all happy.

After a four and a half hour drive, we arrive at our destination. The sun is just setting. The retreat center is in Preston, PA by Hickory Lake, and it’s very serene and beautiful. We get our room assignments and drop our bags off.  I quickly change. The atmosphere is very campy, clean and adequate for the weekend. It sure isn’t a five star hotel, but it doesn’t matter. That’s the whole purpose.

We all gather at the Pavilion in the center of the grounds for a prayer and meditation and are asked how we incorporate prayer and meditation into our everyday lives. How do we stay connected to our spirit and soul? How do we stay present in what we are feeling in the moment? This is the intention of the retreat: to open our souls and find the happiness within.

A woman starts to read this very beautiful poem:

Awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.

Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses

Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to follow it’s path.

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity

May warmth of heart keep your presence a flame

May anxiety never linger about you

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention

Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder

 This wonderful, warm feeling comes over me. I stepped out of my comfort zone and here I am in a new place, with new people and enjoying where I am. It doesn’t even matter that there are probably a total of 6 single people out of the 125 here. I am experiencing something new and it feels good. I am living in the now, and I’m open to receiving more.

You see, I needed to get out of my apartment and leave my space physically, mentally and spiritually. As a blogger, working from home can be very isolating. It is very much the same every day and it’s very lonely. So, I have to find ways to inspire myself daily to create and share something of value and meaning to my wonderful silentjourney readers and community. Digging deep inside, I hope that these experiences and blogs can possibly lift and shift each reader’s life in some helpful way.

Some days I feel like I am in heaven and have the coolest job, while others feel like a major challenge. I wouldn’t, however, trade my freedom for anything right now, because everything has its price. So now, I’m making more of an effort to get out and meet new people, trying new experiences and stepping out of my comfort zone.

Aren’t you ready to step out of your comfort zone, trying and experiencing new things? Perhaps, it’s time to meet new people and connect with your inner soul? There is no time like the present!

Written by: Betsy Karp

Brought to you by: silentjourney

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