Recently, I spoke about how stepping outside of your box is not a destination in and of itself, but the start of a journey toward a new way of understanding the world and the future. Today, I want to encourage those of you who are just starting that journey, because, for most of us, this is not an easy road. In fact, you can probably look no further than your childhood to understand what I mean.
Think about it. All children are born outside the box, but some are more determined to remain there than others. They are naturally resistant to attempts to make them think like everyone else. If you were that child, you were probably taught not to trust yourself, to deny your instincts and intuition. Well-meaning adults probably tried to shame, or even bully, you into seeing the world through their narrow framework of "right thinking." Meanwhile, your natural drive to explore and imagine and create was stifled under the burden of their mistrust, leading you to constantly second guess yourself.
The world can be a difficult place for those who think differently.
However, most of us learned to accept our box without much resistance. If you were that child, you learned which questions were "safe" and which were uncomfortable, or perhaps even dangerous, to ask. You learned that...
The children who push boundaries are probably either ignorant, reckless, or just plain ungrateful. They lack the proper respect that our way of thinking deserves.
You believed that your box kept you safe, and you reinforced it to gain greater approval and belonging. Meanwhile, your intelligence was measured not by how curious or creative you were, but by how well you could understand, interpret, and comply with the framework you were given. This is perhaps an oversimplification of how most of us were educated, but I would argue not far from the truth. In my experience, identity, belonging, and having the "right" framework for understanding the world were all valued above curiosity, creativity, and the growth and expansion of our minds and hearts.
But, the former should not come at the expense of the latter. And if it does, we need a new framework for identity and belonging. One that doesn't fear that which is different or beyond our current understanding, but embraces unfamiliarity and uncertainty as an opportunity to learn and grow.
If you feel the same way, then my encouragement to you is that you're not alone. There are others out here with you right now, who are exploring and discovering new ways of thinking. And, you joined them the minute you stepped outside your box. Your belonging to this group is not contingent on your ability to espouse a specific belief system or ideology. In fact, your questions are welcome out here, as well as your skepticism, your dissent, your idealism, and your "crazy" ideas. YOU are welcome here, along with your unique way of seeing the world.
It’s no secret that our world is in need of change and FAST. We don’t have time to let our fears, our distrust, and our discomfort hold us back. What we need now are as many brave souls as possible out here defying old ways of thinking and discovering new ways of relating to the earth and to each other. We need all kinds of thinkers, whether you always chafed at your box or never realized how much it was holding you back. The fact is you learned a lot from whatever brought you outside of it, and there are many who can benefit from what you have to share. We need to hear your stories, your questions, and your revelations. And, we need you to keep your imagination and creativity fully intact if we’re going to find a better way forward together.
Basically, we need YOU.
So, please, if you're in the process of stepping out, don’t rush for the safety of another box, because you already know what that has to offer. I’m inviting you to stay out here. To stay ever conscious, curious, and creative in all that you do. We have a lot to learn from each other and a lot of ground to cover before this journey ends. So, let’s get started by sharing what we’ve learned from the process of "stepping out."
I would love to hear about what brought you out of your box (whatever that "box" may have been) and what you've discovered so far on your journey.
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