Looking back into my childhood, I remember standing in the playpen. In the early 1960’s many of us lived out our days in these little open top cages made of padded framework and mesh netting around the sides. Much like how bunnies or puppies are sold at the pet store. The playpen was our earliest childhood home once we began moving around under our own power.
First the roll over, then the drag, moving onto the crawl and eventually to the vertical upright-ish walking position of the humans, aided perhaps by the ability to hang on to every piece of furniture in the house as we practiced our mobility.
At some point, the playpen becomes unable to contain us and so our new playpen expands to become a room or even the entire floor of the house. We are still totally unconscious creatures at this point believing everything we experience is truth, and care only about our own basic needs; food, sleep, clean-ish clothes and some love.
Next, our playpen expands again as we venture outside the home into a yard space. Stay inside the fence and off the road. We are still mental vacuums sucking up every bit of information we observe; unfiltered all this information is stored it in our head for future survival.
Then, our mind snaps, we become conscious and aware. We learn the word no and begin to practice where and when it might be most effective in meeting our needs. We also learn other ways to get our needs met efficiently.
This is where the train goes off the tracks so to speak. We are not yet independent or even interdependent, no, we are still very much dependent on those bigger people for all, of our basic needs; we are powerless to change our circumstances.
So, we adapt to please the giants and assure our survival on the planet for a while longer. We learn that to adapt is to live longer. And therein lives the lie.
To adapt is to suppress living, in exchange for actual survival or even perceived survival.
In some cases, during my youth, it was indeed active survival as my life was threatened at knife point on more than one occasion.
And finally, we re-rail our train but this time, we are the conductor. We leave the nest and begin the adventures of living or surviving on our own; armed only with the life skills handed down to us from our survival teachers we take on this challenge.
Here are the four simple steps to creating a grand size playpen, not only for yourself, but also for everyone suffering from adaptive survival syndrome. Did you catch that, Adaptive Survival Syndrome? Okay, ASS is not a real disease, I made it up because I suffered from it for most of my life.
Step one: Accept where you are on the journey. Lost, confused, aware? Stuck, terrified, depressed and giving up?
Step two: Accept 100% responsibility for being where you are. This is not blame, only acceptance of being responsible to change your life, will you empower yourself to do so, and permanently.
Step three: Set a small, measurable goal to achieve by a certain date that will expand the size of your play pen.
Make it flexible but really do your best to achieve it. One of my first goals was to open the curtains and answer the door no matter what when I was dressed pretty inside my home. It took a few months to muster the courage to just swing the door open wide and smile through my lipstick at whomever was there.
Next, I set a goal to go outside dressed pretty, on my own property; like, to the edges of the property. This in my case is a whole small-town block. Then, off my property to the post office, which is across the road. The first efforts to accomplish this quest were made well after dark. Then in daylight on a weekend when it was closed; going during the day and risking being seen by strangers was enough of a stretch at the time.
To now, I will go collect the mail whenever I please with zero fear! I am as loose as ashes inside. I travel to new cities with confidence and certainty and most recently, across the border into another province.
I wander about as if I am normal. Why, because I Am Natural; normal holds no weight for me any longer.
Step four: own each stage, set a new quest, or goal and grow into it until it is mostly comfortable. Rinse and repeat.
Once I become comfortable at a particular level, I challenge myself to expand a little further. From the curtains opening to the door open, to the open yard, then post office and so on. Always in safety.
Then one day, I glanced back and said wholly crisp! Look how far I have come? Look at how much more authentic I am now and how much more of my life I am “actively living” and not just surviving.
My wish and vision is, that each of you whom still struggle and even still suffer on this path, will one day feel the certainty, freedom, inner peace and calm confidence I now experience from practicing the four steps above.
I love who I present my self to be, I love who I am, and I love my life in such a greater percentage than ever before, and it keeps getting better as I practice creating a grand playpen.
Thank you so much for reading Your Weekly Reset my Amazing Sisters.
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