Over the cliff

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I think it might be interesting to spend a little bit of time exploring our known limitations, and figuring out how they serve us, what their benefits are, and how to work with them instead of allowing them to work against us.

First we need to know what they are. So, this means a list. A list of the limitations in your life that you feel are holding you down. These are the situations and the circumstances that you don’t believe will ever change, or that won’t be changing any time soon. For example:

  • Getting old … inevitable, right?
  • Physical disabilities …. not everything has a miracle cure.
  • Geographical location … it’s not often possible to just pick up and move.
  • Education deficits … you lack the degree or the training, and have no means to acquire it.
  • Slow learner … not everyone is a genius.
  • Not a creative thinker … not every one is.
  • Not a people person … let’s face it, you just don’t like people all that much.

Be honest and creative with your list. This is not a judgment list, it’s a truth list. Think of what you’d like to accomplish, have, or do … and then list the undeniable limitations.

For me, it looks something like:

  • I am old. Not as strong as I used to be. I am not two, three, or even four people.
  • I have to continue to work. I have too many pets. I am reclusive and anti-social.

So now what?

Our limitations don’t really limit us as much as we might think. So let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater, instead, let’s look for the tiny nuggets of gold hidden in the muck and the mud. In what ways do each of these limitations serve us, how do they help us, what do they do for us?

Here are a few examples:

  • Getting old = means lots of life experience, a wealth of knowledge, children and grand children (for some of us)
  • Physical disabilities = forces a focus on health, allows more time at home, brings helpers and a support group
  • Slow learner = slow and steady wins the race, teaches focus and concentration

This might require some thought, so take your time working your way through your listed limitations looking for the reward or the positive side effect.

And lets get real:

There are a number of things that you would love to be able to do, accomplish, or be that will probably never happen for you. Let’s make a short list of what they might be. My list looks like this:

  • Climb an amazing and large mountain… all the way to the top.
  • Travel overseas – Wales, New Zealand, Tibet, Siberia… cool places like that.
  • Be a black belt in karate.
  • Regain my lost youth.
  • Have the ability to shape shift into any form, plant, animal or living thing.
  • Explore alien planets and meet alien life forms (friendly ones).
  • Have my own island, complete with large comfortable home, and all the amenities.

Don’t let your list depress you. And don’t put anything on that list that you think IS a possibility, however remote. We’re just narrowing down the possibilities. And this is helpful because unlimited options can be just as big of a roadblock as not enough options.

This is also true for me when I’m working on a creative project. When I have unlimited resources, I find it’s much harder to come up with something interesting and amazing. When I’m working with not quite enough materials, the art that comes is so much better. I think this might also be true in more practical ways as well. Have you ever noticed that too many choices at a grocery store makes it really really hard to decide what to buy?

And let’s go one step further. Take your list of things that will never happen, and see if there is any way you can tweak, twist, or revise them into something that despite of, or even because of, your limitations, they are indeed possible.

For example:

  • I can’t regain my lost youth, but I can enjoy every moment I have left. I can be childlike and excited about every day.
  • I can’t climb a mountain, but I can get into good enough shape to go hiking.
  • I can’t be a black belt in Karate, but I can take Karate lessons. If I want to…
  • I can’t explore alien planets, but I can read and watch Sci Fi, I can paint aliens and alien planets, I can pretend to be an alien… I can paint a closet with day glow paint, decorate it with planets and cool stuff and hang out in there with a black light and some cool music… wow… that does sound fun!

Well, are you ready to get moving on this exercise? I’m going to figure out where I can put my “alien” hangout… LOL. As always, I value your comments and any insights or experiences you’d like to share.

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One Response to Over the cliff

  • This exercise was very freeing for me… not sure exactly why, but the idea of making a tiny corner of my home into an alien world really appealed to me… and I’ve been feeling really good about life ever since.

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