Every day when I walk to the gym, I have to walk by several pet stores full of caged dogs. It hurts my heart every time I see them. As I did my workout yesterday, I pondered on why I was having such a visceral reaction (besides it being a terrible thing).
I realized that in my own life I have often stayed within my comfort zone which is in itself is a cage. Which is interesting because I hate confinement.
For years, I let the world dictate how I lived my life. I did what you were supposed to do. I didn’t think about what my soul wanted to do. I thought about what I should do to make the most money. I had no time to think about my dreams or what inspired me. I had very little time to even try new things to find out what I was passionate about.
So, a year ago, I did something drastic. I decided to go beyond some of my “physical” cages. The cage that said I had to have a regular job, or a regular house, or many possessions. I used to identify myself with my job, my house, and the things I possessed. They made me feel secure.
Somehow, stripping away that security revealed other insecurities. The one of what will people think, the one that gave me thoughts that I couldn’t fully experience all of life.
You see, in this cage, I realized I had let the bystanders, rubberneckers, and picture-taking observers define how I felt about myself. I gave in to other people’s wishes about my life because I wanted to please them.
I gave my power over to people who had no idea about what path my soul should take. All because I wanted to fit in or be accepted. I realized I had often been afraid to tell people what I really thought. I was afraid to express myself freely. I let the world shape how I saw myself.
You might have a different cage. Maybe you are letting the cage of perfection surround you. Or maybe, it’s the cage of procrastination. You know what you are supposed to be doing, but you aren’t taking the steps to get there.
All of these cages are built by one thing. Fear. If you want freedom, you have to go beyond that. The funny thing is we are so afraid to feel fear. But decide today. You are going to do just one thing to start breaking out of your cage. Yeah, it’s going to feel scary. But, just decide you are going to let yourself feel that fear. Embrace it. Laugh with it. And, you know what? One day you will find yourself doing the thing you always wanted to do. And that cage will be gone.
Sometimes, it’s easy to think because I have stretched myself that I am outside my cage. Beautiful experiences and following my dreams are a great way to decorate my cage, but there is more. I’m at a point in my life. A point where I feel the Universe is taking me by the hand and telling me I need to fully use my gifts and that there is something I have to offer this world.
So right now, I’m trying to go beyond. Beyond my edges. Beyond what I think I should be doing. To what’s happening now. I don’t want to just decorate the cage anymore. I’m ready to expand.