On Monday I drove down to Manhattan to spend time with some friends. I haven’t been to Manhattan since last May when my husband and I went down for a soccer game. Some friends of mine from New Mexico were going to be in the city for a few hours, and even though I just got back from Chicago last Monday, I decided I needed to go.

Before my trip to Chicago at the end of March (where I lined up a Yoga for Quilter’s teaching job!), I hadn’t really gone anywhere for a while. In fact – aside from going to Chicago in October to see my Mom – I haven’t really gone anywhere since I got married 2+ years ago. I used to go places. A lot. Going places was my thing. In one year I travelled a total of 90,000 miles across the country, and most of it was by car.

But then life happened, as it does. I ended up coming home to my small town. I met my husband, got married, and I’ve been doing the domestic thing. I used to pick up and go places on the spur of the moment, but ever since I got married it has felt somehow disloyal, as if I’m not allowed to be a separate human being. (That’s a topic for another article!)

It’s been over 2 years, and I haven’t just *gone* somewhere for the sake of going somewhere. I haven’t gone somewhere just because, “Hey, I feel like going to New York on Monday.” I have felt as though I need to make excuses, find justifications, and more often than not, I talk myself out of going. That’s bad, for many reasons. And here’s why:

Without going places – without being willing to swim for new horizons – you don’t grow as a human. You don’t learn. You don’t expand. You don’t enhance that which makes you you, and you don’t share it either. You become comfortable and complacent.

Comfort is evil.

Complacency is evil.

When we are comfortable staying home in our cozy house in our cozy town instead of seeing the world, we are restricting our lives in ways we can’t even imagine. We might miss out on a new business opportunity. We might miss meeting someone randomly at a coffee shop who turns out to be a dear friend. We might miss spending time with someone we adore. We might miss out on discovering a new food we can’t get enough of.

On Monday I learned my way around NYC. I discovered an awesome game by Google. I had some really amazing conversations with some fabulous people. I got some really good business ideas, and I had some really profound insights about my life. All of these will enhance my life. I feel like a more enhanced “me” than I did on Sunday.

Beyond that, we are radiant human beings with an infinite capacity for light and love, but if we don’t put ourselves out there, we don’t share our light, we don’t share our love. Sharing our light and our love with others is a gift. It’s the best gift you can give someone. You never know who you will touch with your kindness. You never know who will have a better day or feel like a better person just because of your light. These can be powerful experiences for us as well, and when we don’t put ourselves out there, we’re missing out.

Does the idea of putting yourself out there scare you? It might, and that’s okay. Fear is a powerful thing, and so many of us chose to live our lives making fear-based decisions. But being scared and choosing to do something anyway? That’s empowering. That’s transformative.

You may not have the luxury to hop in your car and drive somewhere for a day or two, but you can still swim for new horizons. Here are some ideas of smaller (and easier) things you can do to expand:

  • Try a new style of yoga.
  • Go to a different yoga studio.
  • Spend an hour working on a yoga pose that you’ve been struggling with.
  • Get in touch with a friend you haven’t talked to for a while just to see how they are.
  • Try a new recipe.
  • Go to a different meditation class.
  • Instead of sitting on the couch with your spouse watching the same old show you always watch, try a new show.
  • Take the scenic route on the way home from work.
  • Try a new product at the store; something you wouldn’t normally try.

What are you going to try to do this week that’s a little unusual? Let me know in the comments.

photo credit: Dutchlad on Flickr CC