“Only in those moments when we take life on, when we move through the archaic field of anxiety, when we drive through the blockage, do we get a larger life and get unstuck. Ironically, we will then have to face a new anxiety, the anxiety of stepping into a life larger than has been comfortable for us in the past.” — James Hollis, Living an Examined Life
Many of us chase vibrant experience through state change. Early this morning I plunged into a pool to completely change my state from groggy to vibrantly aware of the world around me. As you might expect it did the trick immediately. But we don’t need a pool to change our state, any plunge into the unknown should get us there eventually.
Many of us avoid change at all costs. There’s a reason that early morning plunges into a pool seems so unreasonable to so many—the majority would rather hit the snooze button and slowly reconcile themselves to another day of whatever it is that dictates their lives. People who deliberately and regularly challenge their comfort zone seem a bit… unusual. When you’ve got a good thing going why rock the boat? But isn’t it fair to ask: Why the heck not? When we consider the worst possible outcome to any given action, most of the time we’d come out okay in the end. We ought to take more examined leaps in this lifetime.
What makes us unique out of the billions of people who have ever lived is our individual experiences and the perspective that is derived from them. That thought process cranking away behind those eyes that see (or don’t see) the world around them is the core to our identity. Call me crazy if you will, but I’d rather have the jambalaya version of life than the tomato soup. Throw as much as you can in the bowl and heat it up. We’ve only got this one meal together.
The thing is, we’re all prone to both tendencies. For all my chasing of experience in this world, I live a relatively stable, some might say boring, life. But chasing state change doesn’t mean we have to throw ourselves into chaos daily. It simply means opening ourselves up to new experiences. Try to learn a new language, walk around the block the opposite way, have tea instead of coffee, write about something [eclectically] different every day, do something completely out of the norm this weekend… whatever makes the back of your neck tingle when you even dare to think about it.
To step into a larger life, we’ve got to get used to treading into the unknown. When we dance with a bit of mystery we release magic into our lives. That measure of magic might just make us bold enough to go bigger next time, and the time after that. So it is that we grow into our lives one incrementally bolder step at a time.