Take Shrek's advice

Comfort is overrated.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of sameness. Routines are predictable and often bring a sense of comfort. I find great comfort in many of my routines. My mind can go on autopilot.

There’s so much we can do without ever having to think. And, maybe that’s the problem.

I’m hilarious! I crack myself up at the discomfort that arises in me when my husband alters our usual routes of travel. It’s hard to keep my mouth shut and not tell him he’s upsetting my applecart.

I’ve laughed about this with friends, so I know I’m not alone.

As one of my teachers, Dean Regnier, said, “Beware the fur-lined rut.”

The fur-lined rut is the narrow, yet comfortable space many of us live our lives in.

This is where we fall asleep to the wonder and excitement of life.

Life is meant to be lived. Staying inside our comfort-zones of sameness, we sleep-walk our way through life, missing the richness of new experiences.

When we stay within the comfort-zone of what we’ve always known and done, we get what we’ve always got. We fall asleep and we’re not growing.

Even if we don’t like the rut we’re stuck in, we can get comfortable with our discomfort.

A while back, I listened to a colleague complaining about work. They were so unhappy; every day was torture. Trying to be helpful, I suggested they free themselves from their pain, and try a new place to work. They had so many gifts and abilities.

Their eyes grew wide as they rejected the idea, saying, “It’s better the devil I know.”

Sadly, this is not uncommon.

Even when life is boring, or we’re unhappy, it’s predictable and feels safe. It often seems too hard or frightening to change; change requires more energy.

Many prefer to be comfortably unhappy than to risk the discomfort of change.

Trying new things can be scary, we don’t know how we’ll feel or how it’ll go.

When I’m trying something new, I get butterflies in my tummy and a sense of heightened energy and awareness. I used to let this feeling stop me.

Not so any more. I’m awake and aware.

The feelings of fear and excitement are similar to one another.  What’s different is the meaning our minds attach to the feeling. Those butterflies can stop me, “Stop, danger, danger!”, or they can signal new and exciting possibility.

There are several acronyms for fear. One is “Forget Everything and Run.” This was my old pattern in life. I could find all sorts of reasons to let the fear rule, but life was limited. Each day seemed to be a carbon-copy of previous days.


 Then I moved to a different meaning of fear, “False Evidence Appearing Real.” This helped me to question what was happening, realizing things are not always as they appear, and I became curious.

Now, my favourite acronym for fear is “Face Everything and Rise.” I feel the butterflies inside, I take a breath and know life begins at the edge of my comfort zone. It is good for my brain as I grow new neuro-pathways, and my physical health benefits. 

My life has become juicy.

Comfort is overrated. New possibility exists within discomfort. We feel more alive and engaged.

I wonder if the rejuvenation from vacation comes because we are out of our routines, open and available to whatever arises.

I’ve not been comfortable in years, and find joy in testing my limits, finding new abilities and opportunities I’d never have dreamed of in my old life.

Variety is the spice of life. Life is meant to be lived, not slept through.

Next time something new comes along, and the butterflies take flight in your belly, seeing them as a signal of excitement can help us know new opportunity is coming. Step out of the rut, into life.

Even Shrek knew, “Change is good, Donkey.”


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About the Author

Corinne is first a wife, mother, and grandmother, whose eclectic background has created a rich alchemy that serves to inform her perspectives on life.

Corinne, a registered nurse with a master’s degree in Health Science, is a staff minister with the Centre for Spiritual Living Kelowna, and a hospice volunteer. She is an adjunct professor with the school of nursing  at UBC Okanagan, and is currently teaching smartUBC, a unique Mindfulness program offered at UBC, to the public. She is an invited speaker and presenter.

From diverse experience and knowledge, personally and professionally, Corinne has developed an extraordinary passion for helping people to gain a new perspective, awaken, and to recognize that we do not have to be a slave to our thoughts or to life; we are always at a point of change.

Through this column, Corinne blends her insights and research to provide food for the mind and the heart, to encourage an awakening of the power and potential within everyone.

Corinne lives in Kelowna with her husband of 41 years, and can be reached at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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