In the Scheme of Things
Jul 9, 2015
I like cozy. I like cozy mysteries, cozy places, cozy food, cozy days or nights, and cozy people. It struck me the other day how much I like cozy after spending a few days devoid of that feeling. Away on business, my week was busy airports, packed airplanes, sketchy hotels, loud restaurants, big cities, and huge conferences centers; none of it cozy.
Granted, it was business I chose to do. But returning home I was craving gentle and comfortable. Nestled in front of the television with my husband, catching up on missed shows with a glass of red wine and a store bought pizza, I could feel the weariness dissipate as the cozy warmth of home, family, and the familiar surrounded me.
What is cozy? For me, it's feeling okay for awhile not to be doing anything, nurtured by the warmth of returning inner-energy. For me, cozy has no hint of others' expectations or even my own. It's a place where I can wear a favorite sweater with a hole in it, snuggle under a kitschy fleece blanket, take a nap, read anything, or not talk to anyone if I don't want to.
I need cozy places partially because I'm an introvert and they help me re-energize. But, I also need cozy people whose genuineness and ease draws me in. With these people, there's no pretext, judgment, or expectations of whom either of us are suppose to be or how we're suppose to act when we're together.
My cozy-list of friends and family is small. These are people I don't need to have a clean house (or perfect life) for. With them, I can be angry, sad, or frustrated; crazy, silly, or inept. I can fail or succeed; share fears or joys; express worries or doubts and it's all okay. These people enable me to be me without the masks.
While I like cozy, the reality is there's a problem with it. Like muscles that atrophy if not used, staying too cozy or only being with people that are cozy for us, is bad for our health, emotional well being, dreams, and life. Sometimes we need a push toward discomfort. If we want to grow and live our life's potential, we'll need friends and others who don't agree with us; who challenge our thinking, criticize our work, or give our emotional muscles a workout.
It's easy to stay in cozy places with cozy people who like us, but these cozy-worlds can trap us, too. While there's comfort in cozy, staying too long there comes with risk. Locked in our cozy-little worlds, we stop growing or thinking or expanding ourselves. We stop seeing the bigger world beyond our own boundaries. We need those nudges and pulls that enable us to explore, experience, and learn about different ways, different thinking, different wants - from new technology and ideas to new programs and cultures.
In the scheme of things, I need cozy. I need the ease and grace that comes from cozy people and places in my life. Yet I'm aware how much I need the not-cozy too, and how often I must fight my tendency to remain in my own cozy-land. Ralph Waldo Emerson is right, I think: "All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better." So, let's celebrate stepping out to the non-cozy life experiments we do try, and those out-of-comfort-zone people and places that bring us personal insight, growth, compassion, and understanding.