December 7, 2016

If we do not Move & Grow, we will Rot.

Donnie Nunley/ Flickr

For almost a year, I woke up every morning and made a pot of coffee, with the words “You’ve got to get out of here” humming inside my brain.

I always replied, “Yeah, I know. Give me a minute.”

I wanted to move. I knew that I had to.

I’d moved to the city for college and spent the past 15 years there. Most of those years, I was thrilled by its vibrancy and energy. I never questioned if I should leave. I felt sorry for people who did, because I thought they were giving up or settling.

It came as a shock to realize it was time for me to go. The leaving was coming from my core, it wasn’t logical, and so, it was easy to defer action to a later date.

My work was centered in the city (although hey, in this day and age, it would only take a few small shifts to center my business remotely). But it would require more of a hustle on my part. And I was so dang comfortable.

Most of all, I loved my apartment. I mean, I loved it. I’d had nightmares that I had to break my lease. That I’d accidentally moved and the whole dream was spent figuring out a way to get back in.

I spent mornings drinking my coffee and sometimes wandering around the five rooms of my home in gratitude. I’d lived there for almost a decade, and in the past three years, as a result of my sobriety, I’d nested the hell out of that place. The walls were the perfect color and every piece of furniture was carefully selected. I loved every lamp, every plant, every book in my home.

How do you leave the home you’ve made for yourself? Even if your soul is telling you—pretty loud and clear—that it’s time for the next move?

I waited until I was backed up against a wall to make a choice, until my hand was forced and things were about to be less comfortable in my professional life. I waited until I had to choose between stepping up my hustle in the city, or following my heart and heading elsewhere to build a new life.

In the midst of trying to make a plan and being overcome with regret at leaving, I sat on my back porch. I spent the early part of the summer sewing new cushions for the second-hand wicker chairs I’d been given by a wonderful friend. The porch looked so welcoming, so bright and cheerful. I sat in the chair I usually didn’t occupy, to sort of just take in the glory of summer and life blooming in flower pots.

And the leg broke—right off the chair. Like, I fell a discernible amount lower. And I got up and turned the chair over to find that it was rotting.

Could there have been a more perfect metaphor for my digging my heels into the ground, resisting my next move?

“If you do not move, if you do not grow, you will rot,” said the Universe to me that day.

What is the point of a life that requires you to hunker down and protect it? That, to me, is a clear statement of scarcity. I realized that I was living in that scarcity, not expecting a next great thing, but instead, throwing my arms around and defending an “it’s all good” existence.

After I discovered the rotting leg of the chair, getting rid of everything in preparation for my big move was easy. It shifted my perspective from one of scarcity into one of growth. Because eventually, everything would get old and need to be replaced.

As I priced the items in my home for sale, I remembered this scene from The Labyrinth:  

Sarah falls into a junkyard, forgetting that her true purpose is to rescue her baby brother from David Bowie looking real good in a pair of tights The Goblin King. She’s further lulled into complacency when the junkyard woman plies her with nostalgic possessions and leads her into a facsimile of her childhood bedroom.

Eventually, Sarah wakes herself up from the spell of the familiar and sees all that stuff for what it is: “it’s all junk!” She tears down the wall and goes back into the labyrinth to continue her true mission and (spoiler alert for everyone who thought this children’s film might have more of a Lars von Trier-esque ending) saves her brother.

Most of this stuff, comforting as it may be, is—or will become—junk. Selling all my things came with a beautiful byproduct in that it gifted me with the opportunity to remember the joy of getting those things, the adventure of it. The attempt to hang onto things, despite their temporary nature, was preventing me from the finding and the getting of the next thing, the next adventure.

Cocoons are great. And for a while, that’s what my home was for me—a solid place of comfort, where I could rest and recoup my energy, and grow the seeds of my next phase.

But cocoons are meant to be outgrown, meant to be left, meant to be broken, in search of the Next and the New.


Author: Alexis Farrell

Image: Donnie Nunley/Flickr

Editor: Nicole Cameron

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