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A Cluster of Chaotic Threads March 2, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Less IS More, Mindfulness.

Finding inner calm on calm days is beginner’s work . . . finding inner calm in the midst of chaos and confusion, amid a cluster of chaotic threads, lets us see how much progress we’ve made on the tangled tapestry of our life.


A few threads, recently unraveled:

Those who want adventure often must choose between safety and freedom.

“Boats are safe in harbor, but that’s not what boats are for.”

Of course, I’m not a boat.
Or a kite.

(Thanks for that, Don!)

Some people must “test the ice.”  Others, like me, are content sipping a Hot Toddy or Umbrella Drink on shore.

I suspect my sense of humor exceeds my sense of adventure, especially in colder climates.

When we are content as and where we are, we need not choose between freedom and (relative) safety.  There is no universal mandate requiring us to “lose sight of the shore” or leave our comfort zone in order to feel free.

Perhaps freedom lies in wanting to be who, what, and where we already are.


I agree with the Dalai Lama . . . we are here to be happy.   If we are happy where we are, pushing, stretching, pulling, tugging, and reaching for the next “brass ring” seems to be both a counter-productive and counter-intuitive practice.

Eat when hungry.  Sleep when tired.  Move when restless.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  A Tangled Mess (Water Witch’s Daughter) * Do You Want Safety or Freedom? (My Light Bag) * Comfort Zones (Awakening to Awareness) * Haiku ~ State of Mind (Janna T. Writes)


1. Rainee - March 2, 2014

Wise words 🙂

nrhatch - March 2, 2014

There is no reason to “step outside our comfort zone” UNLESS there is something outside our comfort zone that we WANT. Doing something we don’t WANT to do, just to prove we can, seems silly. 😕

2. Tammy - March 2, 2014

But Nancy, you may not step outside of the physical comfort zone but I believe you step into it mentally. You seem to want to challenge your thinking often.

nrhatch - March 2, 2014

That’s an interesting distinction, Tammy. You’re correct. I do question old assumptions (and new age advice) on a regular basis, but I seldom step outside of my comfort zone to do so since my comfort zone is more physical than intellectual.

If we want to be FREE, challenging old ways of thinking helps us see that we are both jailer and jailed. We hold the keys to our own prison doors. When we know who we are, we know how to live. And others are less able to manipulate us with fear and guilt.

3. katecrimmins - March 2, 2014

Like you I am content staying in one spot. Many friends can’t believe we didn’t jump in an RV when I retired and take off to see the country. I did a lot of traveling in my youth and find that I enjoy the simple things which can be done in one spot. There are a few spots I’d like to visit again but for a long weekend, not camping for a month.

nrhatch - March 2, 2014

Yay! Others often assume their desires will also appeal to US.

When we are not confident looking within for guidance, we may give in to their urgings to do and be MORE than we WANT to do or be ~ using their desires as an external compass to govern our choices.

Switching to an internal compass and honoring our deep seated preferences adds to our happiness and seldom requires that we step outside our comfort zone. What we WANT is usually found within its perimeter.

4. Catherine Johnson - March 2, 2014

Fabulous thoughts, Nancy. May this post be my daily mantra.

nrhatch - March 2, 2014

Yay! I’m glad it resonates, Catherine . . . I expect that’s because it parallels the next step on your path. (Mine too.)

I’m reading a book about letting go of self-defeating thoughts and practices, especially those that arise when we look “out there” for answers that can only be found by looking within.

If we are happy where and who we are, there is no reason to step outside our comfort zone to be more than we already are.

5. Grannymar - March 2, 2014

The only cluster I am interested in at the moment is one covered in dark chocolate! 😉

nrhatch - March 2, 2014


6. Eric Tonningsen - March 2, 2014

We *are* here to be happy. And fulfilled.

I concur with you, warmly, on that sense of adventure in colder climates. 🙂

Can a hot toddy have an umbrella in it?

nrhatch - March 2, 2014

There’s an idea ~ a hot toddy umbrella drink!

Those who are meant to SKI, love the idea of skiing. Others, like me, are meant to enjoy the comfort of fire inside the ski lodge. 😀

Karen J - March 3, 2014

😉 Yes! Hot spiced rum… by the fire inside!

nrhatch - March 3, 2014

We’ll be a happy little group gathered around the warmth.

7. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - March 2, 2014

I agree that we don’t have to; however, I know that if I don’t frequently challenge myself and make myself step outside my comfort zone, then I become stagnant. I stop moving forward as a person. So, I admire those that can move forward while staying still, and I hope that one day I can… But until that day, I shall frequently do things that scare me, step outside my comfort zone and say yes to adventures presented to me!

nrhatch - March 2, 2014

Some people might think that I am “stagnant” . . . because they are not privy to the inner growth I’ve experienced by saying “no thanks” to adventures presented to me that hold no appeal.

So I have to decide which is more important, protecting my imaginary reputation with “them” . . . or honoring the truth within.

I am firmly convinced that our Comfort Zone is as fluid and changing as the rest of life and that if something is intended to be on my life path that I will be drawn to it, not repelled by it.

Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - March 2, 2014

I’m right there with you! We all are different and on different paths! I rarely do things that hold no appeal, and I try hard not to let fear hold me back! As I said, I have tons of respect for those that can stay still and not be stagnant! I can’t wait to be at that part in my journey! 🙂

nrhatch - March 3, 2014

I think that’s key, Kate ~ to spend our time doing things that appeal to us. That’s how we learned to stand, walk, ride a bike, swim, and sing.

8. Val Boyko - March 2, 2014

Love this Nancy – “Perhaps freedom lies in wanting to be who, what, and where we already are.” 🙂
That is contentment with freedom. Our inner compass know it.
Reminds me of Viktor Frankl’s work. Its all inner work and not external circumstances.

nrhatch - March 2, 2014

Yes! Exactly. Life is not intended to be lived by consensus or majority rules. We do not need to seek approval from “them” by pretending to be more than we are.

If we WANT to do something, we should not let fear hold us back, but we need not summon up the courage to do something that we don’t even WANT to do.

If I’m intended to be a mechanic, I will LOVE being around cars. If I don’t, I’m not intended to be a mechanic.

9. Three Well Beings - March 2, 2014

“Perhaps freedom lies in wanting to be who, what, and where we already are.” This is simply a wonderful phrase that really resonates with me. I try to live “in the middle” as much as I can. I was never an adventure-seeker even as a much younger woman, but that didn’t mean I didn’t have fun. I just define “fun” somewhat differently than many. I appreciate the words you’ve shared, Nancy. That “in the middle” living is sometimes short on validation! ox

Karen J - March 3, 2014

Well, put, Three Well Beings: to “…define “fun” somewhat differently than many”.

It is perhaps a worth-while exercize to notice the difference between “the many” and “the noisy”, too.

Bright Blessings ~

nrhatch - March 3, 2014

@ Karen ~ you’ve got a point. Sometimes the adventure seekers are a noisy bunch . . . screaming at the top of their lungs:

TRY IT! YOU’LL LIKE IT! :mrgreen:

nrhatch - March 3, 2014

Sometimes those of us “in the middle” are able to imagine ourselves in a setting in such a way that we KNOW we do not need to experience the “real deal” in order to prove anything to ourselves or others. Examples:

Bungee Jumping
Swimming with Crocodiles
Diving with Sharks
Getting a tattoo
Eating sushi :mrgreen:

Those with less fertile imaginations may have to encounter the “real deal” before knowing whether it deserves a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” 😆

10. Behind the Story - March 3, 2014

A constant search for adventure may indicate an inner discontent that should be faced. Or … stagnation could be caused by a fear of trying new things. Understanding oneself will make it possible to know the difference.

nrhatch - March 3, 2014

I don’t see stagnation as synonymous with staying within our comfort zone ~ Mozart composed beautiful music within his comfort zone.

Unless our “comfort zone” is limited to being a “couch potato,” we can continue to learn and grow within our sphere without fear of stagnation.

11. diannegray - March 3, 2014

So simple and so beautiful 😀

nrhatch - March 3, 2014

Thanks, Dianne. I expect that the frenetic pace (go! go! go!) and activity levels (do! do! do!) of many adventure seekers stems from Ego’s desire to prove that it is “somebody.”

When we know we have nothing to prove, we are free to honor our inner impulses without searching for external applause.

diannegray - March 3, 2014

You’re amazing, Nancy. One day when I’m rich and famous I’ll hire you as my personal guru 😀

nrhatch - March 3, 2014

Deal! You be famous . . . I’ll maintain my anonymity.

The Giggling Guru 😆

12. Pix Under the Oaks - March 3, 2014

My comfort zone changes from day to day!

nrhatch - March 3, 2014

If I am meant to step outside my comfort zone, I will see something outside its perimeter that I want to do, be, or experience. 😀

13. suzicate - March 3, 2014

I remember that first photo and enjoyed seeing it this time as much as before…it is a striking contrast of light and shadow.

nrhatch - March 3, 2014

One of my favorite photos from dad’s stay in South Korea.

Karen J - March 3, 2014

Happy Monday, Nancy!
(sidetrack warning): My “inner photographer/artist” is looking at that photo and going: “How did that ‘cloud?’ or ‘shadow of Godzilla?’ get there??” Wondering if it was an intentional effect or an accident in the lab?
It’s a lovely photo, nonetheless. 🙂

nrhatch - March 3, 2014

My dad is no longer around to ask . . . but I suspect that it resulted from a “lucky accident” in the darkroom.

Or, perhaps, it’s the ghost of Godzilla! 😯

14. I am J - March 3, 2014

Fabulous post! I hope you’re planning to write a book to “house” your beautiful thoughts!

nrhatch - March 3, 2014

Thanks, J! I’ve thought about it, but don’t have any plans to transform my posts into a book.

One thing I enjoy about having my musings here on SLTW is that this data base is easy to search as long as I have a key word in mind.

15. My Light Bag - March 3, 2014

I recently heard a wise quote from an ‘Enlightened’ person: we must move towards that which gives us joy, and away from that which seeps it away. Everyone’s joys are different. We must embrace our own. Thank you for the pingback.

nrhatch - March 3, 2014

You’re welcome. And thanks, I agree with your enlightened being. I expect that some folks are reluctant to claim they are seeking JOY (for fear of appearing “hedonistic”).

Happiness is the goal behind all goals.

16. ericjbaker - March 3, 2014

My taste for adventure tends to horizontal activities rather than verticals ones (I’ll give you a moment to get your mind out of the gutter!). I enjoy ice skating, not skiing; boating not flying; driving fast not sky-diving; Performing on stage not bungee jumping. With horizontal activities, I feel some semblance of control, whereas gravity is unequivocally the boss with the other stuff.

nrhatch - March 3, 2014

Gravity also causes minds to gravitate to the gutter! 😛 Not my mind, mind you. But some minds.

Sounds like you like a boost of adrenaline that doesn’t boost you too far off the ground. Wise man.

Karen J - March 3, 2014

Oooh, Eric ~ you certainly read *my* mind. 😉

17. jannatwrites - March 3, 2014

I say sense of adventure is overrated. It’s more fun to stand aside and laugh- I mean, watch, the adventurous ones 🙂

nrhatch - March 4, 2014

We were watching a show at lunch ~ an adventure resort with zip lines, white water rafting, ATV’s, rock climbing, horseback riding.

It looked like a great place to have some fun ~ on the track itself or watching safe from the sidelines.

I’ve done zip lines, hot air balloons, horseback riding, canoeing, and white water rafting ~ all fun. I have not wrestled with gators or crocs or swum with hippos. 😛

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