Ep 82: The trappings of a small life

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It’s easy to think that what you’re doing now is all you’re capable of. That’s how we get stuck with small visions.

This episode came out of a little motivation for myself earlier this year. I’m always challenged to think bigger and more expansively, because I get so comfortable with where I’m at.

Maybe this helps you a little, too.

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 82: The trappings of a small life

Hi. I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

Sometimes I feel challenged by the smallness of my life.

I don’t mean that I Iack resources, blessings or opportunities. I am beyond blessed. 🙏

But if I’m honest, I push back kind of hard against a wide open, spacious life. A life where anything feels possible and I’m not limited by what I can see right in front of me.

That kind of life requires enormous commitment and sacrifice.

I know what I’m capable of, and I have these super inspiring and confident moments. But the security of what I already have keeps me in such a small space that it’s hard to see the vastness of what lies ahead.

Have you ever experienced this?

You can see adventure and accomplishment just ahead. You see others doing it so you know it’s possible.

But you also know that it requires you to live with such narrow focus. Isn’t that ironic?

In order to live a life that is wide open and adventurous, you have to have a narrow field of vision.

Living a wide open, spacious means trading something that feels more sure in the moment for the fog of the mountain in front of you.

We hide behind our ability to bring order to our days. We very much like that each week we have some idea of the outcome.

And we surround ourselves with enough comforting distractions to keep us from letting that vision of a wide open, spacious life take root in our hearts.

How do we cut through the noise and engage this wide open, spacious life?

Is there a portal door for this thing?

How do I tap into a spiritual sense of adventure, significance and impact?

Well, the first step is to let go of the past.

The past can be painful and shameful. We all have things we wish we could’ve done differently.

And it’s no secret that the past is history and cannot change. But the past is so comfortable to us.

We know exactly how certain chapters ended and we take comfort in the predictability of that.

That’s why we play the past over and over in our minds. It’s a way to try to work it out again and maybe this time feel better about ourselves.

It’s kind of like watching Gone with the Wind yet again, hoping that Rhett Butler doesn’t leave Scarlet this time.

We resort to the drama of our memories and fantasies about different outcomes to try to make sense of the past.

But this leaves you stuck in that story, and places an enormous amount of drag on your energy as you’re trying to move up that foggy mountain.

If you let it go, then what will then replace the excuses and justifications for why you’re not living your wide open life?

Adventure requires that you step up and trust that your painful past equipped you to move into the open.

It’s your move.

Living a life of wide open adventure means serving with joy.

Serving takes me outside of myself. I can’t easily worry and ruminate about my own life while I’m busy helping someone else.

I can tell you that in my work in therapy I have honed my ability to focus purely on my clients in that session. Helping others walk through all of the details of their struggles pushes my own fears and worries aside.

I absolutely have to be fully engaged to make sure I understand and hear my clients.

If I can’t do that, then I really can’t help them.

Serving others in this way challenges me to consider perspectives outside of my own. It conditions me to not always ask myself how something affects me.

If I’m serving others, then I am helping to expand someone else’s life.

In turn I also expand my own life.

Serving with joy means choosing to find hope in spite of my own challenges and shortcomings, even if all I feel is cynicism.

Joy always opens things back up and creates space and room for growth.

Finally, living a wide-open life means embracing discipline.

Fill each day with tasks and activities that move you a little closer to your adventure.

You know what those things are.

And you also know the things that waste your energy and let you avoid stretching yourself.

Do less of those things and more of the things that have a direct line to where you want to go.

You kind of have to become a disciple of your own adventure.

When we think of a disciple, we think of someone who trades their previous existence for a completely new and uncertain life.

We might even think of a disciple as a fanatic of sorts. Someone who has sold out completely to a thought or an idea.

Selling out sounds negative in today’s culture because it paints the picture of what you have to give up. To sell out to something, you may have to lose part of yourself.

But becoming a disciple of your adventurous, wide open life may mean that you gain yourself with what you decide to lose.

That is always the trade-off in every adventure.

How differently can you engage this week with more intention and purpose?

What do you need to focus on that will create the rhythm and purpose you need to live your adventure?

What simple choices can you make that will clear the path in front of you and reveal the openness of what’s possible for you?

What can you do today to step out of your limited vision and into an expansive adventure of significance and impact?

You can catch episodes of Mental Health Moment by visiting mymentalhealthmoment.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Just search for “Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller.”

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If you’re STILL wanting for more, you can find articles and videos about stress and mental health, by visiting my website at LoriMiller.me.

Thanks for listening!

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