I recently wrote a post about how I lived a very structured life until a few years ago. A life that didn’t push the envelope, rock the boat, or raise my heart rate. I would compare it to living in a box. A box defined by me and the limits I placed on myself.
Looking back now, there were times when I knew there was more to be explored but for various reasons, the limits stuck. The one thing I did however was keep imagining there was something more. Maybe I didn’t put that belief on, and wear it with confidence, but I did look at that possibility as it hung in the closet.
And that got me thinking. Even in the thick of what you may feel is insurmountable a little hope and play goes a long way in moving you from one phase in your life to another.
This week’s quote is, “Don’t live life in a box. If you do, at least cut out a window and look around.”
What that means is that no matter what the circumstances, no matter how hard or impossible things look, hold on to a little hope and let it sustain you. And, don’t forget to actually live. That’s a no-brainer but that’s the window. Being able to imagine or dream of a life that is different from your present one provides a bit of a distraction and a goal all in one.
Have you ever known someone that suffered a really hard loss in their life? The weight of the loss of the person, place, or thing could literally pull them under. During this time, others visit with the person and provide support, or try to offer a bit of a distraction. In many instances it helps. For a brief moment in time, the loss, the grief, the regret, is gone. It is in these moments that the healing begins. For someone feeling trapped, uninspired, or overwhelmed, dreaming of something new or engaging in play is the distraction that can begin the process of evolution. Having a positive thought or two to run on a loop takes hold eventually. This is very much what happened to me.
We become comfortable in the safety of our “known” lives or feel trapped by circumstances or situations. My experience was a little bit of both. The fear of the unknown and the responsibilities and demands of the present can immobilize us. However, there was a part of me that wanted more, and I entertained those musings quietly and internally. It was my therapist/coach that introduced the element of “play” and the combination of the two was what finally gave my evolution traction.
It wasn’t easy as we are programmed to seek safety and as we grow older. The concept of “play” falls by the wayside. Over the course of many years, I sat in my box, but I cut out a window and looked around. That made all the difference. It took me quite a while to remember how to play as well because play looks different for adults. It’s not just going out to climb a tree anymore. It’s engaging in something that interests and entertains you but also feeds your soul. Adult play lets you be the person you want to be; carefree, lighthearted, creative, passionate, maybe even a bit daring.
After a few false starts at play, it began to get easier and I started to crave it. Eventually, that craving had outgrown the window and I headed to the door which allowed for a broader view and an invitation to step through. When I decided to transition my life to holistic health and coaching, I stepped through and ended up in a place I had imagined, but never thought I was capable or worthy of. It turns out I was both.
So how do you begin to imagine a new life for yourself and embrace the concept of play? All it takes is a few steps, some hard work and dedication. You didn’t think it would be easy, did you? There are no quick fixes but when you do the work of transformation, the hard work is worth it.
Here we go:
Have Faith and Stay Open – You may be so closed off and in a place where you can’t even begin to imagine a new or next chapter. Know that every situation, whatever it may be, changes and you make that change happen. Trust in yourself and your ability to achieve more regardless of your perceived impediments or limitations. That faith in yourself and your willingness to explore what’s next is the very first step. Additionally, the only opinion that matters here is yours, so don’t define yourself by what others tell you either. Just look out the window. What’s out there?
Explore What Could Be – Now that you are looking, think about what you want your life to look like. I’m not talking about having a fancy car, lots of money, or great clothes. Think about what your life would look like if you felt better, had interests, and a job you loved. Now try that on. How does it feel? Like something you could get used too! Good.
Do Some Research – Once I started feeling better and had set my sights on where I wanted to go, I began to do some research and learn about others that had blazed that trail before me. Since I got interested in nutrition, I looked at nutrition schools, types of nutrition careers, and when I settled on health coaching, I researched others that were already doing this type of work, picked a school and set a plan. I now had the focus and direction I needed. Did this all happen quickly? No, there were stops and starts, fits of doubt, and flat out fear but I kept going back to the exploration of what could be and running that image on a loop in my mind. Keep your eyes on the prize.
Go Out and Play – This was the hard part. How do you play as an adult? I felt guilty for even considering “playing.” I started by taking walks. Just getting out of the house was actually a little scary. When you’ve been in the box, going beyond the front door can sometimes be challenging, but I made it. From there, I ventured out to some museums, attended some community programs, watched movies again, and took time to read books for pleasure once more. That felt so selfish which was ridiculous. Next, I explored interesting selfcare activities like learning about crystals, meditation, and relaxation techniques. Believe it or not, this was play and I had no idea how much I had missed it! The lesson, do something just for yourself because you deserve it.
Get Support and Accountability – I had the good fortune of working with a therapist that later transitioned into a coach for me. Whether it’s a therapist, counselor or a good friend, everyone needs an “accountability buddy” to keep them honest. That’s what health coaching is all about. Health coaching is a lot like life coaching but with a focus on spirituality, relationships, nutrition, mental and emotional balancing that helps you transition to feel, look, and BE better for you and those around you. With support, you can do anything. Shameless Health Coach plug right there!
By applying these steps, I got out of the box. Way out of the box! I still have faith, stay open, explore, research, play, and love working with my coach. The past limitations I placed on myself pale in comparison to the possibilities I envision now. Last week, I attended a networking function with 130 attendees! Man, that would not have fit into my old box! But I loved every minute of it.
Boxes serve their purpose. Then, we fold them up and put them away. Is it time for you to step out of your box? Go ahead, walk toward the door. If you’re not ready, that’s okay too. Keep that window wide open. You don’t want to miss a distraction that turns out to be your opportunity.
If this message struck a nerve with you, please like it, and share it. Better yet, leave a comment below and share your experiences breaking out of the box to help others! #boxfreeliving
Take care and be well,