"Draw a circle and put your name inside," instructed Denise. "Then on the outside, put an X for everything you want to be, do, or have." I raised a frowning eyebrow. After a few months in her "Believe to Achieve" teleclass program, I'd successfully revamped old mind-sets about success, but where was she going with this? "That circle is your comfort zone," she said when we'd finished our task, "and everything you want is outside it!"  My eyebrows were no longer frowning and a cyber tomato had just landed right between them.

That's the kind of whammy that climbs into your cells and stays put, but it was reinforced further by Denise's mantra that we must learn "to be comfortable with being uncomfortable." This was exhilarating and crushing news all at the same instant. Crushing,of course, because I, like most of the rest of my fellow human racers, prefer comfort zones where things land comfortably in my lap or ride in on giant cream puffs comfortably calling my name. Much the way my mother called me home for supper when I was a child. "Maaar-i-deeeel."  It was a song with comfort food for a finale.

But it was also exhirating news! I'd been camping out in the discomfort zone in recent months, beginning with the stomach churning, palm-sweating, voice-quaking experience of networking. I'd also returned to the speaking circuit after many years of hiding out in the audience. And, speaking of discomfort, I'd given up my livelihood as a counseling astrologer to write. Hot damn! Rampant success must be right around the next block just waiting to put its arm around me and call me "Honey."

And in some respects, it was! Amazing doors opened for me with others ajar behind them, light shining through like beams in a fairy tale tome. Discomfort is indeed paying off!! And each time it does, a little voice asks, "Now can I get comfy again?" Ahhh... there's the news that's neither exhilarating nor crushing. Discomfort pays off because it changes us. It's an inner condition that creates outer results. How? By introducing us to parts of ourselves that are risky, untested and full of insecurity. Yet when they clumsily emerge and find their footing, we become more whole, real and alive.

So there's no end to the discomfort zone unless you want to stop the pulsating process of discovering your own aliveness and what it offers the world. God knows we can't stay there all the time nor would it be effective. What matters is spending quality time there. There are bundles of ways to be uncomfortable in this world. Why not choose ones that are aiming straight at the things we want to be, do or have? Why not let discomfort work deep down inside us to reveal the increasingly comfortable truth of who we are?

How is time in the Discomfort Zone working for you?

Together on the Evolving Journey,

Maridel