A woman in our Soul Circle recently went back to work after a sabbatical. She set up clear boundaries with her time, including no more than 20 hours of scheduled meetings per week (to which another woman said – 20 hours?! That’s more than I ever do) and other parameters to make space for what brings her joy.
Still, work has felt like a slog.
Meetings and conversations that used to interest her feel heavy.
Why? Because she’s outgrown who she used to be.
We’re outgrowing our old selves constantly. And yet we pretend this isn’t happening.
Imagine if you were in high school and went back to your 3rd grade playground to do the monkey bars. Putting your hands on those familiar green metal bars, hoping for that old feeling of glee, you step out beyond the platform…and your feet touch the ground. Wham!
It’s either painful, uncomfortable or boring.
You have to walk under the monkey bars while your hands move from bar to bar. It’s no longer challenging, thrilling, or rewarding.
You’ve simply outgrown the 3rd grade playground.
Here’s a clip explaining this concept during a coaching call:
If you’re feeling discomfort with some area of your life, it’s possible you’ve outgrown it.
Trying to stay in a situation you’ve outgrown feels icky and uncomfortable. And yet we have this voice inside that insists….
- But it’s a really fun playground! There are swings, a spinning thing and a slide!
- You should be grateful. All the other kids are playing here, why don’t you like it?
- You used to like this, what’s wrong with you?!
So we talk ourselves into staying.
Even though we can’t fit in the baby swing and look ridiculous trying to get our legs around that dang crotch divider.
Just because you used to like something doesn’t mean you should like it today.
Your consciousness is evolving.
Your preferences are expanding.
Your desires are continually emerging.
Holding yourself to what you used to like, or know, or feel comfortable with is one of the biggest ways we slow down our growth and expansion.
Sometimes, when we’ve outgrown the old playground, instead of facing that truth, we blame the other kids.
- They’re boring.
- They’re annoying.
- It’s their fault.
We don’t want to admit that we don’t belong on that playground anymore.
It’s easier to find fault outside ourselves.
These swings are rusty, for crying out loud. Who would enjoy them?! (probably a 2nd grader)
It’s scary to admit you’ve outgrown something.
What if you don’t like the new high school playground? What if you have no friends? What if the kids from 3rd grade feel like you’ve betrayed them?
Your mind/ego will make these situations very black and white. As if you have to abandon everyone and everything that’s ever mattered to you in order to leave the 3rd grade playground.
Duality is an old construct.
Sure, other people might feel like you’ve betrayed them. It might be terrifying. You may end up letting go of some friendships. You might feel lost and confused at times.
And, what you’ll find on the other side will be beyond your wildest imagination. New friends will arrive. Exciting experiences that are a better match for you now will show up.
In a recent blog, I wrote about “feeling the rub.” So, if you feel the rub of something being off, listen.
This is important information. You don’t have to act on it right away. All you need to do is make space for it.
Allow the discomfort.
Allow yourself to acknowledge that maybe the old swing is a bit constricting. Start looking to the horizon to see what else excites you, and follow your impulses.
You’ll find yourself in a meadow of wonder and joy sooner than you think.
But first, you have to get off the 3rd grade black top.