August 25, 2016

Stuck & Broken? Throw out the Cage—& the Cocoon.

Flickr/Jeanne Menj

This small space right here, we were never meant to live inside it.

It was not constructed big enough to house a whole human heart, mind and soul. It was constructed just for one thing: control—and now that we are grown-ups, we don’t have to agree to stay in it any longer.

In fact, it is our job to learn how to step outside of it, how to expand without it. How to head beyond the territories we thought were safe. To learn to breathe in them, shout in them, write big, long complicated words in them—like serendipitous, fortuitous, magnanimous, perfidiousness, conviviality, unparagoned and winebibber.

For this cage was not something we were ever meant to live inside. It was made in order to show us how much larger we actually are by teaching us through our own escaping of it; that compared to four walls and diagonal bars, we are incredibly dynamic.

This cage is whatever we made it to be. It is our ideas, our imagined fates, our humdrum stories, our mundane normalities. It is the isolating, the limiting, the no longer useful ideas of life, of self, of love. It is also the dreaming up of shoulds.

And these, my friends, are often the ones someone else believed in first—the very cage that they constructed for their own trap. They innocently taught us to think that now it must be our own.

Here’s the neat thing though, freedom is right here. 

Reach for it, that door you see in front of you. The one you always perceived as being locked and bolted. Try pushing it. Try really hard. Don’t give it just one go. Jiggle the lock—it is just a little rusty.

Now, turn the key you hadn’t realized was there. Let the latch slide open, and know you could walk free if you wanted to—as free as you could imagine yourself to be.

For life is about the making of choices. Experiencing how these choices fit and then making a decision on the next appropriate one after that. It is not static. No choice must ever be forever. We can always say, “Woopsies,” or “Darn it,” or “How about something different now?”

We don’t need to repeat “so tough,” or “stuck,” or “mistaken,” or “broken,” or “failed.” We get to change the container that holds us, right now. If we always saw ourselves as broken, why not see ourselves as whole? If we imagined ourselves as worried and stressed, why not manifest a state of joy and ease?

All those ideas we had to keep us safe, upright and behaving, in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, we call the cocoon. Undergoing the warrior-ship training of this lineage means we must see through it and in order to grow. We have to learn to lean outside of it, and that this head and this heart are the things that have the ability to transform it. These are the things that have the power to make or break our cage and to punch a whole right through our cocoon.

There is always a new moment, we were told, when we could choose happily ever after instead.

What is it you want? That—yes that—that thing your heart whispers (or maybe screams) for you to do. Do it. Try it.

Open the door to the cage you just unlocked, and step one foot outside. Stick your nose out into the fresh air, and take a deep whiff—the opportunity of something new and wonderful is there. What? I don’t know—that’s the exciting part.

We must be courageous and brave. Freedom is new territory, having spent so many centuries behind veiled light. But we can do this. We can come out into a place of greater space—actually, one of unlimited bounds.

What do I mean by this? I mean, we get to re-create our reality. We form it with our thoughts, our reactions—with what we believe we are able to do and what we think we are able to not. With those who we perceive are better than us and who we decide to feel greater than.

We have been the creators of all the competition and the stress in our own heads.

There has only been, and will only ever be, what we decide to allow ourselves to see. We don’t have to say “yes” anymore, to what we understand needs a “no.”

We can alter relationships. Transform friendships. Turn our job into our passion and our passion into our wealth.

It’s all in what we allow our experience to be—what we remain too afraid to risk, and what we decide we no longer will be limited by.

Today open the door of this shiny, gold-glinting cage, and poke a peephole through the cocoon. Peer out and see. Maybe a grand surprise is waiting or perhaps just a fresh view to understand our life through.

Choose it—this more sparkly version of life. It’s ours and we deserve it.

Eventually, send that cage off to the recycling depot and the cocoon to the compost heap too.

Take flight.


Author: Sarah Norrad

Image: Flickr/Jeanne Menj

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

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