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The Boundaries of The Pond You Swim In

The Boundaries of The Pond You Swim In

Tammy January 14, 2015 0 comments
14Jan
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An actual picture of my pond is used as the background for this meme.  Photo by Tammy Vitale

An actual picture of my pond is used as the background for this meme. Photo by Tammy Vitale

I love my pond.  It is at once a beautiful place to observe year round, an inspiration for poetry and writing, and a metaphor  to try to imagine the pond I am swimming in and what I cannot see yet.

(Note:  If you’re having a hard time reading the quote on the picture, click once and it will take the picture to a separate page.  Click a 2nd time and it will be enlarged.)

How big is it really, my pond?  Am I persistently thinking too small?  What have I killed to keep new ideas from being introduced.  Who have I button-holed in a tank somewhere because it’s safer for me to see them that way?  Can I wake up enough to become one of those walk on land fish…or maybe even a flying fish?

Michael Singer says that when you are awake, you are constantly hitting the limits of your comfort zone [the edges of my pond].  “You see that you’re afraid to tell people what you really think.  You see that you’re too self-conscious to freely express yourself.  You see that you have to say on top of everything in order to be okay.

“Why?  There’s really no reason.  You have set these limits on yourself. If you don’t stay within them, you get scared, you feel hurt, and you feel threatened. that’s your cage…Your bars are the outer boundary of your comfort zone.  The minute you come to the edge of your cage, it lets you know it in no uncertain terms.” [emphasis mine]

In January of 2011, I wrote 10 Ways to Know that You’re Awake. I named these questions as good indicators of whether or not you are awake:

1.  Am I doing new things?  Are they scarey?  Am I doing them anyways?

2.  Is my world expanding?  Am I adding new ideas and new people with whom to explore those ideas?

3.  Am I grateful for everything that comes my way, even the stuff that makes me uncomfortable, or sad?

My pond in winter.  Photo by Tammy Vitale 1/23/14

My pond in winter. Photo by Tammy Vitale 1/23/14

4.  Do I stand in my own power?  Do I pull that power from within rather than from what others think/say/do?  If I’m the only one, do I stand up anyways?

 

5.  Am I reaching out to those coming behind me?  Am I walking with at least one someone beside me?  Better, have I created a community  from which I can draw strength and courage and to which I can contribute the same?   Have I developed strategies for and a practice of distilling the wisdom of those who have gone before me?

6.  In my profession, can I acknowledge – and feel good about – those who reject my work, seeing it as my work and not me?  Do I know with certainty that my work is not for everyone and that’s okay?

Egg sacs in my pond, spring 2013 - something new a birthing.  Phot by Tammy Vitale

Egg sacs in my pond, spring 2013 – something new a birthing. Phot by Tammy Vitale

7.  Do I acknowledge and understand how my minute to minute choices create the life I am living?

8.  Am I familiar with all the stories I tell myself, the roles I play in them and how to change them?

9.  Can I let go of trying to control anything and everything in my life and go with the flow?  (No try, just do.  Yoda)  Do I acknowledge that there is no such thing as control or security – so I might as well just name everything an adventure and get on with it?

10.  Am I okay that there’s no one right answer for whatever is offering and opening itself to me?  Am I happy to live in the question?

Sometime I surprise myself – those are pretty good questions.  So then I have to wonder why I am forever forgetting what I already know.  I don’t have the answer for that, yet, and that’s okay.

But it seems to me that I do have a good feel for finding the boundaries of my pond – the place that when I cross the boundary I feel “like a fish out of water” – like I can’t breathe.  I’m going to start paying close attention to that.  How about you?

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