The beautiful blooms signal summer and hopefully warmer weather.  Many people will seize the opportunity to get outside, breathe fresh air and feel the sun on their skin.  It’s a time of new life, of rebirth and of hope.

By Gina Gardiner

People tend to stick with what they know because it feels safe.  Doing so means that their world remains more limited than it needs to be. Disability just adds another dimension.

Limitations come in several forms:

  • Those we impose on ourselves – if you believe you can’t, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • Those our loved ones put on us to keep us safe – in doing so they can potentially clip our wings and dis-able us further. 
  • Societal limitations including low expectations, lack of funding or enabling infrastructure.

Strange thing about comfort zones – to start with they feel like a snuggly duvet keeping us warm, but left unchallenged they easily become a straitjacket!

Feeling fearful when we face something new is normal.  Allowing that fear to stop us, limits our potential.  Scientists refer to the point between your comfort zone and new activity as the “Line of Perturbation.” The amazing thing is that as you cross the line of perturbation – your comfort zone expands.   

One of my pupils had Brittle Bones Syndrome and arrived in a Perspex cot.  He attended for two hours a week.  His parents needed some convincing that we could keep him safe but we gained their trust and when he left us four years later he was whizzing about in his electric wheelchair.  He was a bright lad who was determined to succeed.  He got a great job, married and had a son; he lived life to the full.

I’m always challenging my personal boundaries.  Life at home is easy.  It is when I go outside that I am really challenged by my disability and the lack of access or understanding from others, which can be very frustrating. It would be easy to stay small and live within my comfort zone but what a shame not to experience life as fully as possible.  My challenges have taken me to Colorado to speak at The Festival Of Enlightenment, travel to Brazil and a wide range of other places.

I know a sense of humour is essential, as is the will to get outside my comfort zone. What will you do this summer to get outside yours? 

To hear more of my story and my strategies to live an empowered life read, “Chariots On Fire” available at: with a 10% discount for Able Magazine readers using code: GGCH16B4 valid until: 30/6/16