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"Comfortably Edgy" ~ Finding The Learning Zone in Your Practice~

Updated: Jan 30, 2021

Comfortably Edgy, I think about this a lot... a quote from one of my yoga teachers, Keith Katchick .

Finding this fluid, expansive, and every changing place, that is really no fixed place... in my personal practice and for each of the people I teach... Is at the heart of practice and my teaching.

Where is this place that is comfortably edgy? My experience is that this "place" is where I grow and learn. And, it is where the people I teach, guide, share information, grow and learn with vs. a place of comfort where we remain comfortable, stagnant, unchanged...

People have described these "places" of growth in many ways for centuries in spiritual literature, psychology and education too.

In Yoga we may refer to; Patanjali’s, Yoga Sutra. He describes Yoga as having a balance between effort & ease... In Chapter 2:46: Sthira sukham asanam. A translation may be steady effort and ease, balancing the effort and ease, in asana... Asana are the shapes, we practice, in yoga.

So, exploring in the whole of our flute practice, the steady balancing of effort and ease, is another way of saying "comfortably edgy".

Pema Chödrön, a Buddhist teacher, describes staying in your comfort zone, as a "place we are most attracted to and where we prefer to hang out."

She goes on to say that everyone needs comfort... But if we only hang out there, our life narrows... So, how can we grow there?

The interesting thing is that the more willing we are to step outside our zone of comfort, the MORE comfortable our life becomes...

Her new book: Welcoming the Unwelcome, ~Wholehearted living in a brokenhearted world. I highly recommend it!

Having been a student of Sufism for many years, I love the poet and guide~ Rumi.

He was a Sufi Master, a whirling dervish and poet, who lived 1207 - 1273.

He wrote about learning and growth in this way, in his poem, The Guest House...

This being human is a "guesthouse"... welcome everything, and learn from it. ...

They may be clearing you for some new delight.. invite them in, be grateful for whoever comes... they have been sent as a guide from beyond... to open us and know who we truly are... So whatever comes up in your life and practice is a way to learn and grow from, if we can welcome them in, treat them honorably, laugh with them, be grateful and see them as a guide to growth...

In the 1930's a Soviet Psychologist, Vygotsky created the concept of the zone of proximal development, often abbreviated as ZPD, which came to be a central part of his theory about learning and development.

Another person who has brought a meaningful concept to the forefront of learning is Carol Dweck and her book The Growth Mindset ~ and her website. How we step beyond our comfort zone and start talking to ourself, in a new way (edgy zone) and to change our usual mindset into a GROWTH Mindset... to me this also harkens back to many ancient traditions, that what we say, and how we talk to ourself and others matters.

It's too hard vs. I'll keep trying!

I can't do it vs. How can I improve and get better at this?

I am afraid to make a mistake vs. Mistakes are how I learn!

I don't understand vs. What am I missing?

Today I look at it in these Zones and as the Heart Spiral:

If we stay in our our comfort zone too much, there is no growth for truly knowing our full potential.

I am not saying that being comfortable is a "bad thing". It just is not where we have new awarenesses, that lead to our growth and learning.

If we go too far out from our comfort zone, we come up with all sorts of difficulties and unwanted habits.

So, if we step into making choices in our practice, that are into our comfortably edgy zone, and practice there, gradually our Circle of Comfort becomes LARGER and we EXPAND into places of MORE COMFORT... And everything expands, like an infinite spiral of learning that we are!

BECAUSE if we make a CHOICE to step in to a new area of our Practice, that is slightly uncomfortable, COMFORTABLY EDGY, we will learn and grow. We become more of who we can be and are. As we build our confidence. This gives us more freedom to be our one of a kind unique self! To have confidence to share our voice and be open to the voice of others too.

How do we do this?

There are an infinite possibility of ways!

Each is individual to the person who is practicing and where they are in their personal development, growth and learning.

This is where an experienced teacher can help guide you. It is also using the information given by your chosen teacher and being your o