Finding adventure in your everyday life can be challenging especially if you have many people who rely on you. Yet sometimes this reliance can be unhealthy for you, your goals and dreams.
Have you ever been in a situation with someone or something that had you so thoroughly wrapped up you forget who you are? Unquestionably, new love, adventures or jobs can have a positive influence and make you feel adored, excited or honored. After the newness has worn off, are you still so entwined that your individuality has lost importance? Do you have solid boundaries that help you maintain your identity?
In the image on the left, the vine has overtaken the tree, the lush greenery on the right-hand side of the trunk belongs to the vine, (red arrow). The tree became the reason the vine was able to grow and thrive. If you could glance upwards past the top edge of the photograph, you would notice the tree no longer grows any leaves. This tree now exists only to support the vine.
The analogy here is that often, we give so much of ourselves to other people or things, we stop pursuing self-fulfilling interests. We argue that our children, spouse, job or whatever, cannot survive without us. We might even feel a sense of pride when we contemplate our self-sacrifice. Over time though, we notice a feeling of emptiness, a yearning for the loss of our own goals and dreams (our leaves!). We are bewildered and confused, not understanding how we got here.
Of course, you could be very comfortable; you are a conformist, and the thought of changing even one iota of your life horrifies you. In that case, you don’t need to do even one thing about your situation. You are happy, content and completely fulfilled. That’s awesome!
But, if you are not those things… keep reading.
Reflect on your own life. Have you lost or are you losing sight of those things that made you excited about life? Do you feel a longing in your heart paired with the profound aching question, “What if…?” Or maybe, “When do I get to be the vine?”
Now that I have nudged you to the edge of your comfort zone; let’s roll up our sleeves and pull out a map or two. Ask yourself, “Where do I go from here?”
Try this simple exercise
Pretend you are on an adventure!
Think about a time in your life when you felt that there were no boundaries to what you could do. When was the last time you had the freedom to change your mind and go in a different direction? Try to recapture the thrill of spontaneous adventure and sit with it a while.
If you can’t think of a situation from memory, create one. It doesn’t need to be elaborate. It could be something as simple as going to a movie alone or having an afternoon with no responsibilities. Whatever thoughts come to mind are a place where you can find yourself. This mini-adventure isn’t about reality but rather a tender daydream to get past your defenses.
Gently observe the emotions that come up, don’t judge them.
Most likely you will get an internal response of resistance or fear. This reaction is normal. Just remind yourself you are just thinking about these things, not doing. You are attempting to capture the feeling of that freedom.
When I am feeling trapped or restricted, I imagine living in a cabin in the northern Maine woods. I am alone, no phone, computer or electronics (except my camera!). I have several books, a pen, journal, writing paper, and all the basics I need to exist. The town is a solid hour away by foot. No vehicles can reach my location. I am thoroughly and satisfyingly alone. I wake each morning to the birds chirping outside my window. I make a hot cup of tea and read before exploring the surrounding trails all day, after dinner, I write until I am tired.
Consider some or all of these questions:
- What were you doing in your adventure? I choose to be alone, but maybe you have someone else there?
- What else did you notice?
- How did you feel?
- Is there any part of your independence that you can replicate?
- Who are you in that place?
- What are the differences between imaginary-you (or remembered-you) and the real-world you?
Take one step into the wilderness
Change is hard. Don’t make your first step huge or extreme. Don’t up and leave your high paying job because you feel trapped. Don’t suddenly leave your spouse or kids because their demands are overwhelming. In other words, shredding your comfort zone with a machete is not going to make you feel better, you need to start by pruning first.
In the next seven days, what is one action you can do that would uncover a connection to yourself?
It all starts here!
Want personalized help with creating your own adventure? One on one coaching is just a couple of clicks away!