Saturday, October 15, 2016

Madrid Diary I

Madrid Diary
October 15, 2016

Okay, so some questions I ask myself:

What's it like to go someplace new? It doesn't have to be another town, city, country. What about where you live? How often do you drive the very same road to work, and then the very same road home? Have you ever turned down that leafy side street to see what's there? Have you ever allowed yourself to do something all by yourself, even if it's driving down that leafy side street you've never gone down? Or go to a movie solo? How does it feel to not know what's around the corner? What feelings rise up in your body when you're out of the proverbial comfort zone? What is your comfort zone? What does it look like, feel like, smell like? Do you love it as much as I love mine?

my home
my big bed
my kitchen
my backyard
my supermarket
my bathroom
my family
my friends
my neighborhood

I love my comfort zone so much that I get strung out going to the local supermarket. Some days, even that is too much. Too many people, too many choices. When I get back to my house, the dog, the red kitchen, the quiet; my body settles. 

Home. Nest. Comfort Zone.

On Wednesday night, I left my comfort zone and got on a plane to Madrid. Packing was a tizzy, passport, getting there, the plane itself with aisles made for paper dolls, the guy across from me with a horrible nasal issue laughing out loud watching Finding Dory. At midnight, I put my coat on my head and tried to sleep. So, not in my comfort zone. 

Every time I leave my small country of comfort, I grow. I shed a shell. I cut loose from a certain way of being and seeing myself, and the world around me.  There's a jolt of aliveness (which I dub anxiety). However,

Aliveness is not anxiety.

Aliveness is anxiety's sister. Dizzy, breathy, tingling in all sorts of body parts, the heart hammering, until you tease out what's really happening of course you want to lock the door and stay put. Most of us don't tease, we retreat before ever getting out the door. But if we want to live our one precious life we must at least open the door.

I'm grateful to my husband, children, dear friends who remind me that my pre-trip anxiety is nothing new (I have it every time + they listen to my worries every single time). When I'm walking new streets, attempting a new language, riding the metro (solo!) they hear the alive me on the phone, in texts, or jaunty emails. Oh my, isn't she now the adventurous one.  

Never  do they say, I told you so.

Aliveness is not anxiety

Anxiety will not kill you (it wants your attention - so said favorite therapist 100 years ago)

Do ONE THING new, different, off the usual path, surprise yourself.

Wear orange. 
Pack a carry-on for 2 weeks, unless it's the Arctic. Mittens take up a lot of space.
Trust that what's around the corner is waiting for YOU with open arms. 
Tell a friend you feel scared, they'll gently push you on your way.

open the door. 
step out. 
look around.
start here.

🌀namaste. xo b


  1. Thank you for all your words about one own comfort zone. I especially like you asking: what does it look like... or smell like... makes me think about all of that... in a good way... in a "be aware" way. Love the photo of the street and you with the poster. So cool. As are you!!! Glad you got to Madrid safely and are settling in! Also, thank you for the "surprise yourself" advice. Just love that. And also the trusting that something is waiting around the corner for you with OPEN arms. So good to think in that way. So Good. Love, Love and Love to You!!!

  2. Thanks so much for reading and writing back. Hearing from people, the things that struck them, is such a gift. I was thinking about "comfort zone" and realize its coziness familiarity can also be "cage like" - like the bird cage, The door is open but the bird won't fly out. This may be my 2nd diary entry! Gracias. Go gently. with love, bets

  3. Take it all slowly and let everything sink in. Don't try to do everything. Choose wisely. Have siestas just as the locals do. Drink it all in and keep writing. You are so loved. xx

    1. Dearest Anne,
      Thank you for this reminder to slow down. I've been full-on since arriving last Wednesday morning. All wonderful but yes, siestas are needed.
      Love to you.
      besos y abrazos,
      xoxo bets