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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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« What Are Today's Interesting Finds? - v25 | 5 Ideas That Will Expand Your Comfort Zone and Possibilities »
Monday
Oct072019

6 Discoveries That Will Positively Affect Your Possibilities

As professional organizers, part of our work is about helping clients learn new habits and skills. We also help them release the unessential to create space for the things, activities, and people that are most important. I do this in my own life and thrive on established routines. I know many of my colleagues do too. However, there is something to be said for having solid habits and alternatively being willing to change things up. When life is chaotic, we tend to crave certainty. So our routines create a stabilizing, comforting force. There are other times when we desire change, yet we aren’t sure what that might be. Possibilities exist, but we don’t know what or how to pursue them. We might feel overwhelmed or stuck.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been writing about my “expanding my universe”  journey. The experiments revolve around me trying new activities. The goal was to create an open environment for discovery, surprises, and possibilities to emerge. It’s been an incredible adventure so far and one that I am excited to continue.

Since I was unclear about what to explore, I began collecting ideas. I continue to add new ones daily. I’ll have to live a long life so that I can try them all. To keep some sense of order and balance, I made a list and organized my ideas into seven categories, including creative, education, event, excursion, mind/body, nature, and not my comfort zone. Having just completed two weeks of doing six experiments from the list, I realized that I choose a different thing to do from each of the six categories, but one.

 

"Every moment is a chance to note what’s happening inside. Every moment is another step on your tour of discovery.” 

- Rohnan Gunatillake

 

By challenging some of our habits, we make space to expand possibilities to learn and grow. While I had multiple takeaways during the past few weeks of experiences, I’m about to share with you one single discovery made from each of the six experiments. I hope that you’ll feel encouraged to explore something you’ve been thinking about. What is possible?

 

 

6 Discoveries That Will Expand Your Possibilities . . .


1. Nature – Loosen the Muscles

My first experiment I wrote about in detail. You can read the full story here. For a quick recap, though, I bought food I don’t regularly eat, from a place I rarely frequent, and ate it outdoors at a park I don’t often visit. My biggest takeaway was this . . .

 

 

 

 

 

My habits have, at times, prevented me from experiencing new things. Challenging my choices in even small ways will help me gain new perspectives and stretch my possibility muscles.

 

 

2. Excursion – Savor the Pace

I spent a gorgeous fall day at the New York Botanical Garden to visit the spectacular exhibit of the Brazilian landscape designer and artist, Roberto Burle Marx. I’ve been to the garden many times with my husband, Steve. However, on this trip, I went on my own during a weekday. The day was lovely as I walked, photographed, road the trolley, ate lunch, and wandered around the garden store. I moved at my pace, respecting my inner voice as it guided me along. There were no negotiating, rushing, or disrupting of thoughts. My most significant takeaway aside from affirming how much I love being surrounded by beautiful greenery and taking photos was this . . .

 

Making time to explore by myself at my own pace is just as essential to me as the time I share with my loved ones.

 


3. Not My Comfort Zone – Navigate Wobbly Paths

I don’t know about you, but for me, wearing a harness while navigating a rope course and jumping off of a 43-foot platform at Spins Hudson was way outside of my comfort zone. I didn’t know what I was capable of until I tried. I wrote about this experience in last week’s post. You can read more about it here.  My biggest takeaway was this . . .

 

 

 

 

Every day requires a leap of faith. Self-doubts, naysayers, and hardships are part of life. Navigate these wobbly paths by drawing from inner strengths and supportive guides. 

 

 

4. Mind/Body – Merge Pursuits

For several years I’ve been hearing good things about Encourage, a newish yoga studio near me. My oldest daughter, Allison, loves practicing yoga and has tried on many occasions to spark my interest in doing it too. We even took a class together in Brooklyn a while back. Decades ago, I did some yoga, but eventually, I stopped. I decided to try it again for one of my experiments. And guess what? I loved it so much that I ended up signing up for additional classes. The teacher and studio owner, Al, is a gentle, calm soul. His teaching combined movement, mindfulness, meditation, humor, and philosophy. This single yoga class connected many of the things I’ve been exploring in the last few years. My biggest takeaway was this . . .

 

It takes time to connect life’s dots, so keep exploring. Enjoy the serendipitous surprises that arise along the way.

 

 

5. Education – Put Love in the Frosting

For those of you that don’t know this about me, I love cupcakes. Partly I like eating them (chocolate/chocolate is my favorite,) but what I also love is decorating them. The more colorful and sparkly, the better. I have many happy memories of baking and decorating cupcakes with our daughters, Allison and Cassie. Inspired by this passion, for my fifth experiment, I took a cupcake making class at the Institute for Culinary Education (ICE.) The school is located in New York City’s Financial District, across the street from the Freedom Tower. While I enjoyed demystifying how to make buttercream frosting (which has a ton of butter) and learning which ingredients define red velvet cake, the entire experience wasn’t as satisfying as I hoped it would be. There was too much chaos in the kitchen when fending for ingredients and supplies. It made me appreciate the organization and process that I have in my kitchen at home. But what I really missed was that feeling of love, connection, and teamwork that has been integral to baking with our daughters. My surprising takeaway was this . . .

 

It’s not just about doing. It’s about doing things with love with the people you love.

 

 

6. Event – Be Brave

For the sixth adventure, my husband and I attended “What’s Your Story?”  This was a storytelling event at Tompkins Corner Cultural Center in Putnam Valley based on “The Moth” format. Eight people from different walks of life shared a true story about their lives that spoke to the core of who they were. When introducing the program, the moderator, and also one of the storytellers said by “sharing them [the stories], we share ourselves.” After listening to the performers, Steve and I began reminiscing about our life stories. Which ones were significant? What did we remember? What would we be willing to share at a mike in front of a room full of strangers? How vulnerable would we let ourselves be?  Remind me to tell you about the night of the crazy rabbits. It was a poignant and uplifting evening filled with laughter and tears. My main takeaway was this . . .

 

What a brave thing it is to put yourself out there, be vulnerable, and share a piece of who you are.

 

There will be many more experiments to come. Possibilities abound. How they will connect and evolve, I don’t know. But I am excited to see what will transpire in the coming months. What resonated with you? I’d love to hear your thoughts. I invite you to join the conversation.

 

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (18)

Linda, I am really enjoying this month's series, since it reflects what I'm working on currently too. Your discoveries will help me as a decide which adventures to pursue.

October 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

@Janet- I'm so happy that you're enjoying this series. But even more that than, I'm excited that you too are on a similar journey. I'm thrilled for you, the discoveries you'll make, and for the adventures ahead — what a joy to play a small part in your journey.

October 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Wow! You are inspiring! I think we (in our professional lives) ask our clients to step outside their comfort zone and try new ways of doing things all the time. No wonder it takes many different approaches before you get the one that resonates with our clients.

October 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

I definitely agree that there is it takes courage to put yourself out there. Afterwards, you feel completely vulnerable. Hopefully, after moments like these, you receive affirmation. This helps build courage to stretch a bit more in the moment. I completely agree on nature. In fact, I am siting outside on my porch for my business work this morning because I know there won't be many more opportunities to sit outside for awhile. I have a heated throw plugged in on my lap, and I am loving hearing the wind whip through the trees around me! I'd love to explore Hudson Yards... I keep thinking about it, but then never get the plan in place. This past weekend my family threw a surprise part for my Mother's 80th. All went well, and it reminds me of the importance of family and celebration, much like decorating cupcakes with your daughters. It is the people around me that make the event special, much more than the food or the decorations. I guess there are windows for both types of experiences that you mention: solitary/reflective and shared!

October 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

@Diane- I'm grateful for your enthusiasm and encouragement. You make such an excellent point about what we ask of our clients. Often when the client makes that first call to inquire about help, the conversation in itself is a big comfort zone stretch. They are sharing something they feel vulnerable about to a stranger. And then there's the actual work; more comfort zone pushing. All stretches require a first baby step followed by many more. We never know which one will propel or sustain us.

October 7, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Seana- Pushing our comfort zone boundaries is a process. Sometimes the affirmation comes from within, and other times it is external. I'm guessing they work together to strengthen our core and stretch even more. I love the image of you sitting on your porch, all cozy with your heated blanket, listening and appreciating the sights and sounds surrounding you. There's nothing as lovely as being enveloped by and grateful for our environment. Hudson Yards is a great place to explore. It's connected to the High Line, another one of my favorite spots in the city. I know we talked about getting together for a walk in the Hudson Valley, but I'd also be up for exploring the "Yards" and "Line" with you. Both are better to do before it's too cold. So let me know if you'd like to make a date. How fun!!!! Congratulations on your Mom's 80th birthday. I can only imagine how much she enjoyed being celebrated by her loving family. And lastly, I love how you described making room for "windows" of experiences- the "solitary/reflective and shared." Life is full of gratitude opportunities.

October 7, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I agree habits tend to keep us still and safe. But, we need to shake things up often to expand our knowledge. Last weekend, we decided to visit a state park we haven't been to in years to take a walk near their lake. It was a short walk, but it was definitely worth the time to get there and explore. Some areas changed, other areas did not. It was inspiring to see how cities evolve from the original state you remember it to be.

October 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina Quairoli

@Sabrina- What a beautiful example of "shaking things up. I can only imagine how inspiring and beautiful your walk near the lake was. And interesting to notice how some things had changed and others had not. I guess that's like us too. There's comfort in security. There's growth in change.

October 7, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I love reading about all of your discoveries as you push yourself out of your comfort zone. You are clearly learning more about yourself and enriching your life. That "What's Your Story?" event would definitely be scary for me, but being brave is an important part of life experiences! Also, I am glad you've rediscovered yoga, I have been taking yoga classes for years, and I always feel more centered and relaxed after a class.

October 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Haworth

@Nancy- I'm so glad that you've been enjoying this "expansion" process. And you're so right that there's been a lot of learning. I've also noticed that in the comments, readers are also making some insightful self-discoveries too. I love that! I know what you mean about the scary aspect of "What's Your Story?" It's no easy thing to be vulnerable in that way. Have you watched Brene Brown's TedTalk on vulnerability? It's incredible and inspiring.

I'm happy to know that you're a long-time yoga practitioner. After just one class, I understand what you meant about it making you feel more centered and relaxed. I'm looking forward to continuing that learning.

October 7, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

You've been a busy lady! I think you were brave to share how you challenged your habits and expanded your possibilities not only to help you grow but to encourage your readers to grow as well. My family and I recently took an excursion (#2) in nature (#1) and we were brave (#6)--we did a corn maze together for the first time! Although we were concerned we'd never get out, we savored the pace and the time working together to find our way to the exit. It took 1.5 hours, lots of snacks and water breaks, but we did it. I look forward to reading more about your future 'experiments!'

October 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Agin Murray

@Stacey- WOW!!! I'm impressed that you ventured into a corn maze and that you made it out. Recently, I talked with some friends about labyrinths, but with those, there are no tall hedges, so it's impossible to get lost or stuck. But a corn maze- that's an entirely different story. I love that you "savored" the experience, worked together as a team, and had the foresight to bring snacks and water. I can't wait to hear about your next adventure.

October 7, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I love hearing about the things your have tried. The new things I try become my most special memories. They help me to view myself as strong and brave and independant.. This leads me to more new possibilities

October 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

@Julie- Thank you so much. I love the adjectives you used to describe how you feel after you try new things- "strong," "brave," and "independent." Just beautiful!

October 8, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I love traveling, even if it's just a day trip. It gets me away from my regular obligations and opens up so many possibilities. I get so busy with daily life that it's hard to get things off my wish list. My goal is activity work on my wish list. Last week I scheduled a day to hike with a friend. Just a few hours of hiking a trail that I have wanted to visit for years was so satisfying. I crossed something off my wish list and freed my mind from work and got back to nature.

October 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

@Janet S.- Traveling is so much fun. As you said, even a day trip can do wonders for the heart and mind. I love that you set a goal to work your wish list. And it sounds like you're off to a great start with the hike you did with your friend. You created a phenomenal combo- nature, exercise, and connection. It doesn't get much better than that. Way to go, Janet!

October 8, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Linda, thanks as always for sharing what you are doing and who you are being. We recently finished our retreat at Omega, definitely the experience of a lifetime. My husband laughs when I use the word "journey", but what we are on truly is. Thank you for sharing yours and for inspiring others. ~ A

October 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

@Andrea- I'm so excited that you had an incredible time at Omega, at the mindfulness retreat led by Jon Kabot-Zinn. I can only imagine how amazing it was. And based on your description of "experience of a lifetime," I am guessing it was. I can't wait to hear more about it and the "journey" that you and Mike are on. I'm so excited for you. This weekend I'm attending a mindfulness conference in Manhattan, and Jon will be one of the presenters. At some point, I hope to have a more personal experience with him, like the one you experienced. It's on my "would love to do" list.

October 10, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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