Do you ever feel stuck? Trapped? Like one of those old-school cartoons where your feet are spinning fast but you remain standing in one place? (Cue sound effect.)
Or maybe you feel like you keep returning to a point in life you thought you had departed from years ago.
Or maybe you’ve just been feeling for a long time that there’s something more; something inside you needing to be expressed and explored before it gets buried or forgotten.
As life unfolds, each of us gets by, moves forward, excels and perhaps even succeeds by being a certain way. It’s a pattern of behavior we adopt at generally a young age that allows us to show up in the world based on the skills and talents that we exhibited long ago that got us rewarded and acknowledged.
We often stumble upon these ways of being. We notice our siblings failures or our classmate’s victories, and then compensate, adopt and compartmentalize to be. . .well. . . a survivor. Often tendencies were thrust upon us without us even knowing what they were.
The problem is, just like anything in life, we outgrow them. Then what?
So you’ve been the perfect wife. Or the intellectual. You’ve been the apologetic sibling or the tough guy. You’ve been the comedic goofball or the wild & dangerous one. And then . . . you no longer want to be that. (Or being that keeps you from being all the other things you also are.) And being that has gotten you what you wanted. So our inner circuitry says, “If we let that go, then I’ll lose everything I know and have.”
That can be a very scary place of discovery and there aren’t a lot of manuals that suggest how to move through these phases of life where everything that seemed to work for you, no longer does.
Security is a trap. Getting what you want can be a trap. Not at first. It’s fun. It’s fulfilling. It’s what we thought we were seeking. Until you get it and become accustomed to it, are bored by it, but can’t let it go to break free to create anew.
Inherently, creativity itself has no end point because all forms of creating give rise to deeper and deeper explorations of discovery. But if you stop at the level that security and comfort often takes us (whether it be a job or relationship or making money or a career), without exploring more deeply and truthfully within it, you’re doomed.
Acting as a vehicle of self-discovery is the most beautiful tool to continue to stretch you into new phases of your own life. Just as you can’t play a teenager in a scene or on a show when you’re 30 (ummm…except for maybe Melrose Place!), similarly, life asks us to be brave and step into new roles that phases of life generate without bringing all that we previously know that defines us with it.
This comes with consciousness. It comes with this awareness that everything that has gotten me here isn’t going to be what I need to get me to where I want to go. Or maybe you’ll discover they didn’t work to begin with but they were put into place so you just relied on them.
When awareness – through non-denial – allows us to recognize patterns that are holding us back then you automatically have the tools to change those patterns to break free.
And that’s the beautiful, forgiving, redemptive quality of life. The very thing that life has allowed us to build so wonderfully, also gives us the power to re-examine and transform who we were into something else. Before it’s too late.
Do that. And you won’t be trapped.
Actors in video: Brooke Sorenson and Rachel Morgan