It all comes down to a box
It surrounds and defines our boundaries. We can always feel its presence, telling us who we are, what we are, what we can be, what we should do, what we shouldn’t do, how we should look, how we should think. It contains us.
Its dimensions, how big, how deep, orhow wide may differ but we all live within a box.
And far too often it prevents us from actually living our lives or moving beyond our comfort zone to opportunities we didn’t even know existed.
It’s like standing on a cliff, staring into the abyss of what’s possible and seeing only black. For many it’s too frightening, too overwhelming to imagine so we shut down, accepting the adage it is easier to deal with the devil we know than the devil we don’t.
But in the end either devil keeps us trapped within the box and all too often our fears cause the box to shrink, smaller and smaller and smaller, until it’s hard to breath or move. Some are comforted by the walls. Knowing exactly where they stand, how far they can stretch. Having rules, guidelines and parameters makes it easy to conform and adapt. Breaking through those limits, often set by ourselves is scary. Out there, anything is possible, including failure.
Inside we always achieve our goals because they’re always the same- limited and controlled.
Inside we aren’t threatened. Like a chrysalis we’re insulated and protected. But unlike that protective sheath where a new life is brewing before it breaks through as a breathtaking new butterfly, ours is meant to encase and enshrine. Preventing the very growth we require to fly.
Reward requires risk. In the end it’s about choosing how much risk each goal is worth. Some require a leap of faith. Starting your own business, changing careers, having children, moving to a new city, getting married. . .all exciting changes that can expand our universe, and change the parameters of our box.
I’m always impressed and awed by the stories I’m privy to share. These past few years have been insane. Who would have believed just three years ago the entire world would shut down and we’d fear for our lives? That the very way we interact would be altered so dramatically? Things we took for granted our entire existence, gone- a hug, handshake, simple touch to show we care. Who could have foreseen the dramatic change our future would take? Or the significant impact it would have on our humanity? One that encourages isolation, withdrawal and self preservation? One that made the box even harder to escape?
It may feel like the box shields us from pain, harm and suffering but it can also prevent love, contact and comfort from penetrating.
We all need a protective shell. Letting everything through without assessing their risk or stopping them all isn’t the answer. Neither extreme is healthy.
Protecting our inner core until we know someone is safe makes sense. Erecting walls that restrict and keep us from living life doesn’t. We’ve all shared and survived an unthinkable horror. Together. With all the progress we’ve made, with reasonable accommodations, we can finally alter the parameters of that protection and embrace each other once again.
The answer isn’t to lock ourselves up tight and ignore potential issues or to jump in without awareness of the pitfalls. As humans we don’t just crave social interactions, we require them. We need to share with those we can trust and be ourselves with, unafraid of consequences.
Our inner soul always need protection from the outside world. If the concrete box is too much, and not having any protection at all is too little , switch to a bubble. A protective, warm and enclosed environment securing our inner self and well-being while still allowing access to the outside world. Allowing all our senses to stay engaged in order to interpret incoming signals. We can see through its transparency, feel contact, and then decide when someone threatens to burst through.
With a bubble we can choose when to push back or envelope others input and when to move on. That way we remain intact while allowing ourselves new experiences and growth. As we learn who to trust and how close to let someone in, our bubble increases in it’s effectiveness.
We’ve all emerged on the other side.
Now it’s time to reconnect.