If you’ve been following my Facebook page you’ll know that recently my life has been dominated by something rather different from my usual activity – painting and decorating (and even assembling furniture). All my life I have thought of myself as not capable in that way, and so have avoided doing it where possible.
Faced with a deadline and the excellent motivation of wanting to sell our house, I threw myself into the manual work with total abandon and dedication. And what do you know? I found that not only was I rather good at it (my “cutting in” where two colours met and my edges received praise from a professional no less!) but I also really enjoyed it. The process stretched and exercised me in ways I wasn’t used to, and the accompanying sense of expansion and capability fuelled and intensified my more usual spiritual work.
It made me realise how much we limit ourselves, and how easy it is to hold on to judgements and beliefs about ourselves which are simply not true. When did I decide that I wasn’t practical? I really don’t remember precisely, but I’m guessing it was when I was at school and comparing myself unfavourably to others who could do that sort of thing much better than I could at a first attempt. Fast forward 30 years and I know I’m nowhere near the same person I was then, so why on earth should I continue to define myself in the same way? But we do, we do it all the time.
I could have gone through the rest of my life labelling myself as “not practical” so what was the impulse that pushed me to break the mold? What prompts us to step into the new? The answer is I had a definite goal in mind which I cared about deeply and I had a short time in which to achieve it. Having asked for a quote from a professional decorator it was more than we wanted to invest, and it was difficult to find someone who could do the work in the timescale we wanted. There’s nothing like a sense of need and urgency to get you moving!
The universe always provides me with beautiful illustrations of what I’m experiencing and this was no exception. As I was busying myself with home improvements, I noticed my lovely and loved butterfly plant looking a little sad and droopy. I spent a few moments communing with it and understood that it was feeling constricted, it needed more room to grow. So I found a spacious pot, wondering at the time if it was really a bit too big, and replanted it immediately.
Only yesterday as I varnished my last window, I suddenly saw how much this plant had blossomed and grown in its expanded environment. It looked so much stronger and more vigorous, and it now completely filled out and owned its new home. Just like me, it had benefited greatly from being freed from its “small” environment and transplanted into one with space for it to become more of itself.
If you want to be healthy and happy, then it’s important to continue to grow and blossom like my butterfly plant. That means questioning whether you’re limiting yourself, including with your own self-judgements which were probably set in stone many years and many yous ago. Occasionally and regularly, find a burning reason to try something you wouldn’t normally do or place yourself in an unfamiliar environment. The reason is everything because if you’re not motivated you just won’t see it through. It could be tackling something that’s simply a current necessity for your own life, or it could be taking part in a project that would make a difference to others. Make sure you’re passionate about it and you have a clear goal or time-frame in mind to give you that extra kick.
Then just uproot yourself from your too small container and revel in stretching and unfurling your cramped roots into unexplored and unrestricted territory. There is no pot too big for fabulous you. In fact, who needs a pot at all?!