How comfortable have you made your empty nest home? One thing I realized in Fiji is how very comfortable I’d made my nest at home. It’s not perfect, but it’s a pretty darn comfortable cocoon. And it came as something as a surprise to me on my “personal development” trip (which involved mud, flooding and mosquitoes rather than anything I would call comfort!) to find that the super comfortable environment I’d set up for myself had done me a disservice in some ways that I didn’t even realize.
This was a huge blind spot for me—the sort of thing I see really well coaching others but missed for myself. Honestly you’d think I would have seen the flaws in the plan, wouldn’t you? Well, I saw some—otherwise I wouldn’t have been on that trip at all. But I missed some, too. And that, my friends, is proof once again that everyone needs a coach to help light up the blind spots. I imagine you’re wondering if I have a coach, aren’t you? Well yes, I have two now!
What Does Comfort in Your Empty Nest Home Look Like?
When I was dealing with the pain of losing my day-to-day mothering role, I unconsciously set up my home and my life with the intention of distracting me and zoning me out. I wanted to be as numb as possible. How about you? What do you line your cocoon with?
For me it was television, food and isolation. I parked my comfy chair in front of the TV. I parked my car in the garage so I didn’t have to talk to any neighbors. I filled the house with my favorite foods with no thought as to what they might do to my body and my health. And I spent most of my time alone indoors.
So What’s The Problem?
On some levels, that environment I just described is great. It’s familiar, safe, predictable and private. And if you’re looking for numb, that’s great. If you’re hiding out from life, though, that isn’t a healthy solution or a permanent one. But it’s what I did, and maybe what you did or are doing, too.
The problem is, too much comfort has side effects. It can make the prospect of growth and any kind of risk overwhelmingly scary, for instance. Eventually my comfortable environment started to become more like a prison I couldn’t escape from than a luxury retreat. Numbing my brain with food and television made me feel stupid. Actually, I think it made me be stupid—I couldn’t find the words I wanted to express myself. I had trouble learning and following complicated conversations. I was terrified I was losing my mind! And that terror is what got me to the coach who changed my life.
I knew I needed help because I got scared enough to know I needed help. In retrospect it would, of course, have been better to figure it out before that!
How about you? Do you need help?
Managing Your Environment in a Positive Way
So what is your experience in managing your environment? Have you turned your empty nest home into a gilded cage that limits you? Or have you turned it into a haven that stops the energy leaks that interfere with you growing and living your best life?
All my clients learn that managing their environment is a critical factor to both personal growth and professional success. By now, it’s clear to you that tolerating unpleasant, uncomfortable or inconvenient surroundings is a huge energy drain. You do need to manage your environment. Just make sure you do it with awareness. Then you can plug the unconscious energy holes and at the same time allow your growth and creative energy to flow consciously back in to you.
Did you know that there are other aspects to your environment that aren’t necessarily about your physical surroundings? These include the people you have around you, your internal emotional state and the energy you vibrate and exchange. But maybe that discussion will have to wait for another day!
Back to Fiji
So back to take-aways from Fiji for just a moment. Some of my take-aways from that experience you’ve already read. But just to wrap up, and in case you want more food for thought, here are two more that I think are really important.
First, you want to match your comfort level to the experience you are looking for. If it had actually been a luxury resort, the opportunity for growth and the personal development I was looking for would have been much less. It was the perfect place for the learning I was there for.
And second, there is value and even pleasure in simplicity. There wasn’t a comfortable sofa, a television or a computer, which were certainly part of my definition of a comfortable environment before the trip. But there was a safe place to sleep, enough food, and inspiring, compassionate and generous people to be with and learn from. And really, what more do we need?
I’d love to hear how these ideas relate to you and your life. What is your environment like and how does it serve you, or not? Leave your comments below and if you’ve discovered a challenge in this area, I encourage you to reach out and request a free “From Being Mom to Being Me” discovery session.