March 27, 2015

Todays journal entry will be about our Educative Experience presented by Team Neighbour.  Their theme was “getting out of your comfort zone”.  I was feeling both nervous and excited about todays events as I was not sure what to expect.  I had ideas flowing in my head that I would be made to do really uncomfortable things or be in uncomfortable situations.  However, I was pleasantly surprised that the tasks were not at all too far out of my comfort zone.  Some of the things required to do was to make conversation with a stranger on the bus, compliment a stranger, ask the time, ask for directions, walk blindfolded and sit on the ground.  Although the first 4 things were very easy and something that I do quite often, it felt different because it was a “required” task.  It was a forced effort and not very organic, which made it more difficult.  Since we had to do it, it felt rushed and meaningless almost.  For example, I found myself desperately seeking someone that had something I considered beautiful, like a coat, a bag or shoes.  I also wanted to make sure that I would compliment a woman as opposed to a man because I didn’t want them to think that I was trying to hit on them.  During the blindfold task, I found it quite easy to be the one guiding my partner, because most people who looked at us would smile or laugh, and I felt like that allowed a connection (going back to how laughter is a universal language) between strangers.  On the other hand, being the one blindfolded one was very uncomfortable for me because I constantly felt like someone/something was going to crash into me or that I would trip over something.  The task of sitting on garbage bag on the ground was a bit awkward.  Like another classmate, I did not unfold my bag, as I didn’t want it to be obvious that I was sitting on a bag.  I obviously thought that was a bad thing and didn’t want people to think that I was a beggar.  I was on the corner of Thurlow and Nelson, right infront of Escada, so not exactly a place where beggars would sit.  I got some looks, no smiles, and one creepy “hellloooo”.  Needless to say, I was ready to leave after 5 minutes.

Reflecting back on the entire experience, I didn’t really go that far out of my comfort zone.  I did purposely stay in the “business area” to avoid the nastier side of the city so that I would feel safe.  Had we have been in  the Downtown Eastside, I am not quite sure how easy it would have been for me to carry out the above tasks.  Especially if it were looking like I was mocking people or offending them.

I think the experience was really effective and allowed us all to reflect on how our behaviour can effect others and how it feels to be seen in a way that you have not seen yourself as before.  It was interesting to experience both sides of the coin and to really think about your own comfort levels.  I did not even realize until the class discussion how I purposely avoided certain parts of downtown.

There are often times when I think about things like going skydiving or ziplining across a jungle and even though its out of my comfort zone, I would do it in a flash.  As well as random compliments to strangers and smiling more is something that I am aware of everyday and try and do more often.  However, the  blindfolding and sitting on the ground were definately out of my comfort zone and not something that I would seek to do, as they are not something that I would get a rush or high from, such as skydiving.  I think getting out of your comfort zone is a good way to experience different things and it may open your eyes to see the world differently.  As long as you are open to situations and take them for what they are and not be judgemental, I think it can be beneficial to personal growth.

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