Your Packable Comfort Zone
We all have a comfort zone, a conceptual space where we feel safe. I’ve created for myself a packable, portable comfort zone, which helps me to navigate through a life in which there are some things I can control but many which I cannot.
I think of my comfort zone like a backpack which I can carry with me anywhere. It is light, so light in fact, that sometimes I even forget I’m wearing it. You can create a packable comfort zone, too. Yours can be a backpack as well, or it can be a briefcase, a handbag, shopping bag… any container you can imagine carrying.
What makes my backpack more than a backpack, what makes it a portable comfort zone is that I have packed it with things that can help me get through a day feeling more comfortable wherever I am. I’ll tell you about the things I carry in my comfort zone. You are welcome to carry the same, or to create others that suit your needs.
In my backpack I have a small mirror. Mine is round and opens and closes, but yours can be any shape or color. I use the mirror to take a look at myself, to remind myself who I am right now in this moment. It doesn’t show what I looked like last week or next month, or even in ten minutes, but right now. It helps me to stay in the present moment where things are nearly always safe.
I also carry a pack of gum. Now, I don’t chew gum in real life, maybe you do. This is an imaginary pack of gum. If I am nervous and my mouth gets dry I can take out a piece of gum from my backpack and start to chew it slowly. Chewing the gum brings me into the present moment (in a way that no one notices but me) and it also increases the saliva in my mouth. In a few moments I’m feeling a bit better.
The third item in my backpack is a bracelet with ten beads. My beads are purple because I like purple. Your beads can be any color you like and you can have a longer string of beads like a rosary or a mala if you like. I can take the bracelet out of my backpack any time I like and count the beads, make sure they are all still there. I can also say something to myself that will help me to feel better as I touch each bead. You can say “here now” or “no pain” or “thank you God” or any phrase that helps you. Repeat it as you imagine touching each bead.
The last item in my backpack (right now, I reserve the right to add more items at any time), is a photograph of my home. I live in a yellow house with a red door. It’s always there for me even when I’m not there. I can take it out of my backpack and remind myself that home is still there any time I want to do so.
So before I go out I can pack my backpack with my mirror, my pack of gum, my beads and my photograph of home. I can add any other items at any time. I zip up the bag, put it over one shoulder and then the other and know that I have my comfort zone with me at all times.
Sometimes just knowing it’s there is enough. Sometimes I remind myself of the four things inside. Sometimes I need to take one or all of them out. Any of those is ok.
I’ve packed my comfort zone to take with me through whatever lies ahead today. If this works for you, too, let me know. Let me know also any additional items you bring in your packable comfort zone, maybe they can help me, too.