Those who only rejoice in sunshine, have never danced in the rain. –E. Sprang
We are all in search of comfort. Simple physical comfort. Within a set temperature range and in a specific environment and while feeling satiated and not too tired and of course surrounded by familiarity and no unforeseeable changes in the horizon we feel comfortable, cozy, content. We are perpetually driven to seek this state of being and of course from the simple need to survive, we must constantly make at least some effort in this direction. But look around, we have narrowed and tweaked our comfort zone to the point where it is constrictive and restraining.
When it is just slightly too hot for our preference we waste not a moment to crank up the AC. Too chilly, we once again lunge for the thermostat and voila we are back at optimum temperature. Belly beginning to rumble? Quick! Let’s get some food in the system, there are no shortage of food choices around, anything to make that hunger go away. Too quiet in the room? No problem, hit the playlist that best suits your desired mood, and bye bye awful silence. Too dark outside underneath the night sky? With a quick flick of the finger our world is illuminated with LED brilliance that makes it feel like the sun is at the top of its curve, pheww.
Got the idea? We are so blessed to have this ability, this gift of ubiquitous comfort which is almost always immediately accessible. What generations ago was not even imaginable for the royalty and certainly not for the common-folk, has become for us our default reality. So much to be thankful for, endless reasons to be grateful. So how come we are not all smiles? Well, maybe this reality comes with a heavy price tag. As the parameters for our comfort become increasingly more specific we inevitably become increasingly limited and bounded by those same parameters. Our status quo becomes fragile and our search for constant comfort actual make us vulnerable and prone to disappointment.
Adventuring helps us regain perspective and once again broaden the arena within which we can feel at ease. When the options are limited, we learn to find comfort with what we have, and not seek out in vain that which we do not have. In any circumstance, we will still be pre-programmed to establish the maximum comfort possible but by intentionally placing ourselves in an environment that is by definition less manipulable, we are unveiling opportunities to create comfort and not just seek it.
Imagine yourself heading off to the woods for a short stretch of time, taking along only what you can carry in your pack. Your new home is also your new teacher. In this home you will see that when the evening settles in and a chill breeze moves the air, you may be surprised that you can maintain a clear level of comfort despite actually feeling a bit cooler than usual. As the trees around you become shrouded in darkness, the flickering light being thrown upon the forest from the dancing flames of your campfire is amazingly comforting, even while you may be feeling nervous about what is lurking out there. Your stomach may be less full than it is after an all-you-can-eat dinner at the local steakhouse but the slight lingering appetite that follows you to bed may be a welcomed change from our decadence, that shift in appreciation is deeply comforting.
By venturing into nature and leaving behind some of our standard trappings, we will face discomforts. By learning how to react to these changes we gain the skills to create comfort in the areas of our life that are difficult, and we all have them. Just as in the woods, you cannot escape everything you do not love nor can you consistently find all those things you do love, so too in life. Nature becomes our training grounds for our day-to-day world, our backpacking journey called life. It is in nature that we can learn to accept what is, and then adapt. We learn to be comfortable in a world that is unpredictable and marked with times that can feel harsh. An adventurer learns to find pleasure in the quiet and cozy areas that are in between. An adventurer draws comfort from the thrill and beauty that he or she is immersed in, because of the physical comforts that are lacking. When we strip away the distractions created by a perpetual search for feeling good, we come upon the breathtaking views of our potential and a fresh perspective of our lives.
Ariel Fishman runs Adventure Israel, an action-packed adventure travel provider specializing in rappelling, rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, caving, and camping trips. ODT workshops and camping gear rental are also available. All trips are safe, fun, and empowering, and the intensity of the adventure is decided by you. From extreme expeditions to super-relaxed family trips, Adventure Israel’s staff are here so you can enjoy and challenge yourself like never before. Ariel can be reached at 058-536-4938. For pictures and more trip options visit www.adventure-israel.com.