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My Comfort Zone by JoAnne Newsome

I like it here in my comfort zone.  The zone helps my mind rest.  I simply go on autopilot and let my mind wander as I go about tasks I have done a thousand times.  There is a sense of safety here.  I know how to handle day to day routine tasks that come up.  No problems, but…while this zone is a place of comfort, it is also a place of complacency, stasis, and inertia.  It can become a place of depression and frustration; a place of boredom!

It’s a scary place to stick my head above the comfort zone water line.  Learning new things, exploring new places and new ideas.  My fear of failure, of looking silly, and God forbid losing “control”.  This new place called learning, experimenting, trying to master new things.  But how else can I set myself free?  I fell off my bike a dozen times before I could glide downhill without holding onto the handlebars.  Freedom!  Because I stepped outside of my comfort zone I can navigate any airport; drive a stick shift car and manage interstate driving without stress; dock a boat; cook a great meal among a lot of other things.  Each required me to move beyond my comfort zone.

So, here is my truth:  My comfort zone is a place to retreat; it is not a place to remain. 

My journey into natural horsemanship is a continual stepping outside of my comfort zone and into my learning zone.  It’s not just my fears, understanding or frustrations I need to deal with; it’s also that living, thinking, breathing horse trying to figure out what the heck I want him do.  Clarity and assertion is what he needs from me and it is clarity and assertion I must learn and try to master.  This journey is a slow process for me but with each clinic I take from Glenn Stewart, I am aware that getting out of my comfort zone into the learning zone is helping me to confront my shortcomings and that my notions of not being up to these challenges is no different than what other students are experiencing.  But there is no other way to expand my knowledge of horses and my interactions with them without getting my hands dirty and trying things that are intimidating to me.  Yes, I fail at many tasks and, yes, I look silly and, yes, I feel out of control.  However, the more I stick my neck out and the more I practice, the easier each task becomes second nature.  In the short time that I have been here at The Horse Ranch I have surpassed my goals and have accomplished things I did not think I could do.  The results are positive for me and for the horse.

        JoAnne Newsome
        Foundation Course Student
        June 2016