“I once had a garden filled with flowers that grew only on dark thoughts, but they needed constant attention and one day I decided I had better things to do.” – Brian Andreas
Years ago, and even more recently, I would often find comfort in my own garden of dark thoughts. I almost felt a sense of security knowing things could not get any worse. Over the years I grew my garden into a painfully beautiful reminder of everything that caused me pain. Perhaps it gave me a sense of purpose.
I created that purpose because I felt safe knowing that I alone was the one who was watering my plants. I felt I had some kind of control. Sometimes, when I look back on those years, a huge part of me wants to say that it was a waste of time, that I was miserable and that I was lost there.
I have since forgiven myself. I recognise this was part of my process and finding comfort in the darkness was my way of coping.
It was not until I came across this next quote that I was able to put it all into perspective.
“Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” – Zen Proverb
It helped me to realise that for years, in my own way, I had given myself something to do. In maintaining that control, I felt like I was accomplishing something. In hindsight, I am sure I had read similar quotes and articles about moving forward. Perhaps it just wasn’t the right time, but something about this quote really resonated with me.
I decided in that moment, I had to stop maintaining my role as the co-dependent gardener of dark thoughts. I became painfully aware that not only was I losing time, I was losing myself. All of the time and effort that I was putting into my garden was only giving it strength and power. My strength and My power.
Acknowledging that I had created that particular role for myself was the first step. Understanding why I continued to find comfort there was a harder task. I felt if I could somehow grasp why I felt drawn to that place I might be able to find a way to find that comfort in a place that would give me strength instead of taking it away.
Over time I realised I was holding onto the feeling of control. I knew deep down that my garden was a destructive environment, but having felt like that was the only place I could control, I almost felt I was safe there. It was a time when I had felt so uncomfortable and insecure around others, I suppose I found some kind of comfort in my solitude.
I found the second quote to be a ‘wake-up call’ I knew it was time to move on. I felt that If I stayed there any longer I would never leave. For the first time that possibility scared me enough to force me to realise I was allowing it to consume me.
Imagining those years as a rocking chair gave me such perspective. I felt truly motivated to let go of everything I was holding onto in the ‘garden.’ This next quote, in my mind, was the final piece of the puzzle which gave me the drive to at least try.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch
Sometimes it’s hard to believe the prospect of a fresh start outside of our comfort zone could be more intimidating or frightening than the darkness inside our gardens. I have found such courage in the journey of overcoming my fears and challenges.
My hope for this entry is to inspire you to make that change. The time it may take is not what is important. The amount of strength you gain can only build as you continue to try. Ultimately, I would love others to simply allow themselves to have the opportunity to open a new door or to start a new chapter.
In time my goal is for you to feel the warmth and light outside of your garden. Let that support and encourage you to continue to move forward on your journey beyond your comfort zone.
I used to imagine my comfort zone as a place, where I could feel safe and content. However, over time I have come to appreciate that it does not have to be a place that we seek to find our security.
I have found comfort in the challenge. As you build your strength and confidence on your own journey, I hope you will feel secure enough to appreciate that your comfort is something that can travel with you.
You do not have to leave it behind or strive to find it at your next destination. Let it grow within you. Allow yourself to find comfort in that growth. Let it be your armour.
Finding my own peace and continuing to develop my ‘internal comfort zone’ has given me the greatest sense of security… A far higher accomplishment than managing my garden of dark thoughts.
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– Cat –