There comes a point in our lives when the contents of the boxes that we’ve contained our story inside start spilling into each other. All the things we think we know, that we find safety in knowing shift from hard stop periods to question marks. The structure in which we’ve built our entire life upon crumbles below us and, in the most painstakingly metaphorical sense, our life is completely up in the air. We are flung in directions that feel uncomfortable, towards people that challenge us, into situations that are not within our familiarity.
And, we have to choose.
We have to choose whether we will fling ourselves off the edge into a great unknown or cower backwards and find safety in the Known. There is safety in living within what we already know. We challenge ourselves to the point in which we know the outcome. We take calculated risks. We choose the siren call of reality over the freedom call of intuition. We plant our feet firmly and say, here is where we are and here is what we know and here are our possibilities. And, we shrink our lives down to what we know we can handle, what we’ve proven to ourselves that we are capable of. And, we set up a life there. We put up the fence and we decide that we like to be able to see the further reaches of our boundaries.
Because, limitless is terrifying.
Choosing to create a life within the knowing that everything is uncertain and impermanent is terrifying. These are terrifying Truths about our world. It’s terrifying to realize that anything is possible and that there are no boundaries or limits and that everything we have right now could be just as easily stripped from us. It is reasonably quite difficult to lean into a world like that, even if it’s the truth, even if it’s all around us whether we’re awake to it or not.
Because, that’s the thing about reality: it’s our perception of reality. If I close my eyes and sleepwalk through my life, then I will know nothing of limitlessness or impermanence or uncertainty or a life without boundary. The only thing stopping me from that kind of life is whether I choose to awaken to it or not. I can quite simply refuse to see it. I can box myself in. I can “ground” myself within what I know to be true about the world. And, I suppose I can find a sense of comfort there, too.
Yet, we yearn for deepness. We yearn for more. We yearn to expand. We yearn for purpose. This is why we question and challenge what we know. This is why we seek more. It is not for happiness or joy. It is to solve a human need to continue to know. Because, while it may seem that what we seek is some everlasting happiness, what we truly seek is growth. What feels like sadness or anger or any number of “negative emotions” are simply resistances to growth. Emotions are markers, breadcrumbs, these little hints on some grand Scavenger Hunt of life. Any “negative” emotion is merely showing us where we need to rise.
But, rising up takes courage, the kind of courage that does not come easy, that does not just simply present itself. It has taken me a long time to understand that it’s easier to believe in the randomness of experience. It’s easier to be snarky and jaded and bitter and helpless and to decry anyone who has hope. It’s easier to believe nothing changes, despite evidence to the contrary all around us. It takes far less bravery to hate than it does to steadfastly love. And, it takes the utmost bravery to embrace life as a means to growth, to enrich your own life and the lives of others, to create the life you want.
And, while it may be terrifying to step into the limitlessness of a less certain life, we have to believe it’s worth doing so, if only for the opportunity to deepen ourselves and to experience more of everything. That leap toward the unknown is not for the weak-willed. It means shedding who we were in the unsteady hope of becoming and continuing to become. It’s about stepping away from who you are and stepping into, simply, being. Existing. Experiencing. Without meaning or attachment. It’s lightness. And it’s wonderful and terrifying and lovely and peaceful and chaotic and it’s everything and nothing simultaneously. In short, it’s your life, that patchworked version of it, all frayed edges and uneven cuts. But it’s yours. And, that means a whole hell of a lot.