Today, I stepped outside my comfort zone. A big, wide, wobbly step.
On an almost daily basis, I'm still experiencing pain and stiffness in my neck from our car accident. (Yes, the accident from May 3rd, 2009!)
I've been in ongoing treatment since last summer, and today we tried something new:
Now, the word gives the heeby-jeebies to the average soul. What makes me above-average (or below-average, depending on your perspective) is that for all my childhood and a few years of my adult life, I suffered from a phobia of needles, and more specifically, blood tests.
"Oh yes," you're thinking, "I don't like needles either."
No, I said "phobia," from the Greek for "morbid fear." Imagine a 90-pound, shy little girl who needed two male orderlies, an extra nurse, and her Mom to hold her down so they could take a blood test.
Things got so bad that I finally went in for desensitization therapy. In just three sessions, I received a blood test. No orderlies, no extra nurse, no Mom - just me.
So, even though the phobia is gone, I don't particularly rejoice at the thought of a plethora of needles sticking into me at one time.
As we've already noted, no one likes needles.
So today, I had my physiotherapist explain and re-explain and demonstrate the process. It would happen on the back of my neck and shoulders, and I wanted to know what was happening so there would be no surprises.
I got into position, and even though I was doing okay, I started to feel nervous.
I prayed and took deep breaths.
I reminded myself that people experience this all the time and no one has ever exploded like a popped balloon.
I imagined my back as a beach and the needles were palm trees being planted in the sand.
After a few minutes, I found myself lying on the table with ten needles in my back.
The physiotherapist left me for 5 minutes so the needles could do their work. I kept breathing and visualizing.
But one palm tree wouldn't stay still. The muscle was gripping and twitching.
When the physiotherapist returned, she could see the tense needle. She asked if I was okay or if I could handle another 5 minutes.
"Will 5 minutes be more effective?" I asked.
"Yes, but we don't want you to be uncomfortable if you don't need to be," she replied.
Uncomfortable??? I've been uncomfortable since May of 2009!!!
And with that, my Warrior Spirit kicked in.
"I'll be fine for the 5 minutes, " I calmly replied, breathing deeply and imagining sunshine and a gentle breeze on the beach.
Within a few minutes, the needles were gently removed. I felt a little tired (one of the expected side effects), but mostly, I felt powerful!
I had stepped way outside my comfort zone, and taken on a challenge that will only benefit me in the long run.
I was reminded of two simple truths I've learned time and time again:
#1. The more you step outside your comfort zone, the larger your comfort zone becomes.
#2. You're never alone when you step outside your comfort zone -
God is already there, awaiting your arrival.
Next challenge: Giving blood!