Bust the Comfort Zone

A wire wrapping class from the Bead Society of New Mexico led me to reflect on the comfort zone we can easily adopt. Comfort zone is defined as the level at which one functions with ease and familiarity.

Early on, our teacher/leader said, “You’re brave!” It was obvious that no one in the session had ease and familiarity with wire. Thanks to such a tone, confidence and success grew, rather than diminished throughout the day.

No one quit. Each student did far more than she expected.

Participants of the Bead Society of New Mexico pose with their wire wrapping projects and instructor Ginger Shockey, and Mary ELlen Merrigan of Mary Ellen Beads.

©2017, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Chevron Earrings Class Participants with Instructor Ginger Shockey

The challenges of the chevron earring class, an original design presented by Roswell bead artist Ginger Shockey, included (and were not limited to):

  • Dexterity
  • Tension
  • Balance for beads
  • Counting beads and chevrons
  • Straightening wire already tangled
  • Keeping five wires straight while weaving

Author and artist expert Julia Cameron talks about joy in the process. She maintains doing the work is the best cure for the difficulty of doing the work. Why? Because the joy lies in the process and not in the product.

When, as beginners, you feel “all thumbs,” this is a good thought. In spite of the learning curve, participants sensed the meditative benefits of the pattern. Wrapping wire in such a situation might almost be fun if only one could trust themselves in the next step.

A participants demonstrates busting the comfort zone during a wire wrapping class attended by Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.

©2017, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Class participant weaves chevron earrings

Maybe it helped that the company was good, the chatter supportive and the help instantly available. These factors eased group members into the world of wire.

For beaders who love seed beads, or simply enjoy stringing, “…even your pure intention might disturb comfort zone of others.” The quote aptly describes disturbance potential for the departure from norm. The words come from Toba Beta who wrote “My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut.”

Progress measured in the process

By the end of the afternoon, two participants completed one earring.

This earring busts the comfort zone for Mary Ellen of Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.

©2017, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Chevron earring completion

Within hours class members received an invitation for an earring completion party. What will the final chapter in wire wrapping say?

Other Reflections on Comfort Zone

“One element of Madonna’s career that really takes center stage is how many times she’s reinvented herself. It’s easier to stay in one look, one comfort zone, one musical style. It’s inspiring to see someone whose only predictable quality is being unpredictable.” Taylor Swift

Is there a “Madonna” of wire wrapping hiding here? Certainly five students moved out of their comfort zones.

“The comfort zone is the great enemy to creativity; moving beyond it necessitates intuition, which in turn configures new perspectives and conquers fears.” Dan Stevens

What will you do to bust your comfort zone?

About Mary Ellen Merrigan

From embroidery to dressmaking to needlepoint to beading, Mary Ellen Merrigan weaves a lifetime of handiwork into one-of-a-kind works of art that speak to the spirit. Her pieces are adventuresome, creative, and sometimes, magical.
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