Sabbatical Lesson #2: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

This post is part of a series of reflections on the time I am spending away from my regular life, read more about it here:

Ski Sabbatical

Sabbatical Lesson #1: Joy

 This year, with encouragement from my dad, I decided to bust outside of my comfort zone as a ski instructor and take a training course that has challenged my skiing in new ways.  I have learned to tether a bi-ski, which is a sit down skiing apparatus for skiers with limited mobility and strength.  I took the training, got knocked around a lot as a participant in the bi ski, and felt a lot of fear, both tethering the ski and being the student.  That fear is a really good thing for a ski instructor to experience, because we forget how hard it is to learn to ski in the first place.  For me, that fear was also about conquering something when a lot of my life has been taken over by small, stupid anxieties that I can’t seem to control.  This was my chance to push through my fear and try.

In my first few bi ski lessons I assisted and told the lead instructor that I was working on my tethering.  I was really blessed to work with some outstanding instructors who taught me while they were teaching our students.  This week, as my lesson was getting started, I introduced myself to the other instructor and said “I can tether.”  It was a statement of fact, I got this, and it felt so good to say it.  It is an incredible feeling that I know how to do something that I didn’t know how to do in November.

Our lives as mothers are challenging, beautiful and important, but sometimes the day to day routine can really get, sorry to say it, boring, or it can just kind of wear on you.  I mean, I have more or less mastered doing laundry, changing diapers and making spaghetti, and those are the things that take up most of my time.  Those things are very important, and I do have to put an effort into them, but I have realized this year that I can stretch out in other ways and come back better for it.  This is deeply good, even healing, for my spirit.

In the comments to my initial post, I was asked for suggestions of ways to live the sabbatical without the freedom to drop out of life for six weeks, and I have been thinking hard about that.  This is probably the only time in my life that I will do this, so I need these lessons to fit into my everyday life, too.

So, I want to remember to try new things, and encourage other moms to do the same.  It might be learning to knit, signing up for a mud run, kick boxing, an online literature course, anything that stretches us a little bit, and then committing the time, and maybe forcing our family to allow us the time, to try something.

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  • JMB

    Good for you for setting a good example for other moms! Sometimes in life we need a litte nudge to change and sometimes it comes from those closest to us, like siblings or neighbors or friends. I experienced that a few years ago when I found myself feeling jealous of a sibling who was pursuing a yoga certification. I had to honestly examine my conscience and in doing so I realized that I needed to break out of the mom box too. I eventually found my way to exercise class and one thing led to another and I surprised myself at 44 years old at my physical strength and my willingness-after many many years of running from it – to face physical pain and learn to endure it. I remember just thinking to myself – if my brothers could get through OCS, I can do 5 pushups. If my sister can become certified in yoga, I can hold a plank for a 15 seconds. Little by little, week by week, month by month I improved. It’s changed my life in so many positive ways, not withstanding the physical benefits of being in shape. The friendships that I’ve formed with the other women in my classes have been such a blessing to me and moreover, the confidence gained from doing something hard has spilled over to other areas of my life. Last December, for Hurricane Sandy relief, I planked for 7:30! I enjoyed every minute of it:)

  • That is awesome! KateB does Cross Fit and I am amazed by her strength. Ditto my friends who can run forever, and the amazing folk art paintings that my mom made in a class recently.

    I should also say that community service can take us out of our comfort zone and make us feel powerful, too, nothing like the sense of accomplishment from ripping down a wall with Habitat or making 400 peanut butter sandwiches for a church outreach.