What are the limitations that are present in your life today? What have you tried to do to rid yourself of these limits, if any? Have your efforts been productive?
You and I live in between unlimited potential and harsh realities of our limitations. Part of growing up is engaging both ideas and beautiful realities, embracing them to their fullest potential.
Let’s start with the idea that we are unstoppable. I love this song from Wicked discussing how we can defy even the most natural limits, like gravity!
Together, we’re unlimited
Together we’ll be the greatest
Team there’s ever been
Glinda, dreams the way we planned ’em
If we work in tandem; There’s no fight we cannot win
Just you and I, defying gravity
With you and I defying gravity; They’ll never bring us down!”
– lyrics “Defying Gravity” from the musical Wicked
OHMIGOODNESS, yes, we are unlimited.
When you consider unlimited potential for yourself, you KNOW that you’re unstoppable for building: positive relationships, productive social justices, boundless creativity and artistic expression, successful businesses, thriving health and wellness, financial freedom, clarity in thought and communication of those thoughts, powerful non-profit projects, and so on!
The unlimited potential is a beautiful and reverent thing you hold in your hands.
The wickedness of delusional “unlimitedness”
But within the context of becoming unstoppable, some pretty toxic ideas and choices (that will later on challenge and bite you in the a$$) often come in to play. And unfortunately they are celebrated in our culture. You start to believe you can truly control all outcomes – your manifesting efforts are the answer, and that, in fact there is a playbook, a blueprint, a perfect line of thinking and doing that will give you the results you are after. There is a points system and if you make enough points, you’ll be the clear winner in life.
You become willing to do just about whatever you can, to sacrifice, “hustle” and strive to animate dreams, ideas and successes. You say things like: “Crushing it. Powerful. Visualize and manifest” so that you can be seen as WINNING IN LIFE.
Any anything less means you are doing something wrong. You take a look at people not living us to this distorted “potential” and wonder why they aren’t working on their mindset, because then everything would change. Perhaps you sell them on those ideas and soon experience the immense validation that selling them on the perfection playbook can bring.
Validated because of your so-called successes and everything “falling into place”. If you keep playing the game, selling the game, embodying the game, there is no stopping the manifestation of your dreams and efforts!
This is certainly a fascinating power we humans hold. But it’s pretty damn boring; and sick. The magic of being out of control and acknowledging realities dissolves which is a crying shame.
Why? Because the adventure of living includes boundaries.
Beautiful [and difficult] limits
If you are breathing then there are very real limitations, boundaries, and difficulties that thwart what you want. There are limits that will not go away, no matter how you try. A power beyond sits you down. Roots your feet so you cannot run. You are injured, rendered powerless, boxed in, and find yourself suffocating on the boundary lines you so desperately want to knock down.
Such limits may look like: experiencing failed relationships; seeing that the mindsets you grew up with negatively impact you and the people around you; creative and artistic endeavors keep falling flat; business efforts fail (over and over); experiencing physical, acute and chronic physical, mental, emotional (don’t forget spiritual!) pain or injury; the inability to articulate intensions no matter how sincere, witnessing your own greed (embarrassingly) inside yourself, and so on.
Ancient authors intimately understood the pleasantness of being bound up:The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; knowing we have been assigned a “portion and cup” for each moment of living.
We cannot be unwilling to taste the limits of our lives. Yes it’s so much more fun to think about the unlimitedness of our lives. But it is far more beautiful and powerful when we also wrap our arms (and thoughts) around what contains us.
Respond to unlimited and limited
Once you see the strong things that won’t budge, you cannot respond with a passive defeat, self pity, or blaming someone else (and no, we cannot blame institutions as they are not people, if you’re angry, it is with someone or someones.) We must see the light. Some of it can change. Some of it won’t. It’s really up to you to work out which is what, and understand that each new day is just that… a new day – things can change rapidly, or things can become more rooted. Awareness is key. Knowing we can change is also key.
Nor can we live with the delusion that perfect lives exist, that everything we want will materialize and come our way if we only want it bad enough, work hard enough, struggle enough, know the right people or have the right education or do all the right things.
Millions of refugees, widows, orphans, the marginalized, the incarcerated, those in perpetual poverty, living with disease, abusive parents or partners, or with other harsh realities – these souls would speak a different message to this line of thinking. They would prove the “manifest destiny” wrong in a succinct and powerful way.
Why am I discussing this boundless and boundary-filled existence?
These are the things I would say to my younger self. I would encourage her to challenge the negative storylines she rehearses far too often in her mind. All the self-limitations she places on herself.
I would also encourage her to embrace what is here for today, to see the beauty of the limits she is surrounded with. I would encourage her to respond with expansiveness, introspection and from a place of grace, patience and wisdom… even though it’s so very hard to do.
I would encourage my young self to reach out to a wise person and discuss her feelings a lot sooner. I would challenge her to address the bullshit in her own life in order to break free from the falsehoods, and to really START LIVING.
To embrace the unlimited AND limited in her life. I would let her know it’s ok to live with both.
A self-inquiry practice
When a pain point, limitation or injury arises, notice all the thoughts and feelings that come with this. Explore this deeply.
Identify any recurring thought patterns associated with the pain, limits and injury. How does it arrive in your body and mind? Is it difficult to observe them without being caught up in them?
What limitations exist for you? Are you able to really taste and see them? Is there a possibility that you could respond with change on the inside to take a new vantage point, to thank the limitations as your teachers?
What ideas do you have of being unlimited in your own life? How has this served you or negatively impacted you? Is this something that could be strengthened in your life, or deconstructed in some productive way?
See the light
At the bottom of a dark hole, the light shines brightest.
One person, finally letting go of delusions can find herself in the most brave and vulnerable state. And can dynamically change her own internal world (and yes the external world would change too, it’s just a byproduct of doing this work.)
What wisdom do you hold inside? What do you know? What light continues to carry you through?
“In daily life we see people around who are happier than we are, people who are less happy. Some may be doing praiseworthy things and others causing problems. Whatever may be our usual attitude toward such people and their actions, if we can be pleased with others who are happier than ourselves, compassionate toward those who are unhappy, joyful with those doing praiseworthy things, and remain undisturbed by the errors of others, our mind will be very tranquil.” ~ TKV Desikacharacfar