This is the first installment of a three-part series on how to break free from the boxes we were born into in order to live the truest, authentic life possible. Check back each week for the next segment.
Fire alarms are fabulous… until they’re not.
They quietly sit,
up on the ceiling,
watching over us,
keeping us safe.
And then, before they’re unable to keep doing their duty,
they let off a shrill beep.
Often frustrating to track down due to the length of the intermittent, incessant noise.
And let’s be honest. This usually happens late at night. You’ve curled up in bed and are ready to enjoy a long rest after an even longer day. It forces you to take that moment and address the challenge. Your biggest hope and prayer is that you don’t have to trudge out to the garage for a taller ladder. You know the one…It’s big and clunky and loud. If there were someone else to deal with the constant nagging beep you would have asked them. Maybe even bribed with deliciousbreakfast or coffee in the morning.
This little chirping, nagging, largely unobtrusive device’s job is to detect fire. To warn the people inside of danger. They follow the rules, do exactly what they were designed to do. As the functioning human being protected, we have the responsibility of changing batteries regularly so they can continue their important work. They squawk when we don’t follow through on our end of the agreement.
Having recently endured this tradition I was struck at how this is symbolic of life. I know, weird.
We are brought into this world and raised by humans who love us and want to protect us and see us succeed. They teach us in the path they know and believe and have followed. Parents squawk when something is not going the way they’d like. They work with the child to encourage a course correction. (battery change) Sometimes the noise, or root of the issue, is easy to pinpoint and remedy and yet others are more challenging and upsetting.
It goes both ways.
Children squawk every time they come up against a rule they’re not fond of and want to change direction. It’s a constant battle as we grow up, stretching, learning, understanding. We constantly test out how we feel and where we stand. Sometimes we simply adopt the mannerisms of those raising us. It’s the easiest way and the path of least resistance. Other times we fight with all of our might until we are free to make our own choices and decisions.
Regardless, we all have to find our own way.
So, we ask, separate from my parents, who am I? What do I stand for? What do I believe in?
We begin deciding what labels we’ll choose to wear.
The noise continues. It keeps beeping in the back of your mind seeking your attention as you navigate.
At some point you may realize it is no longer a fight between your parents and yourself, it’s all you. It’s in you. The conflict of; Who? What? How? Why? The squawking you attempt to pinpoint and understand.
Perhaps you were raised in a deeply religious family with racist tendencies. And as you leave home you meet a myriad of people. Initially, you’re nervous and uncertain of where you fit. You find people who are different from what you grew up with knowing as “the norm”… and they are pretty damn cool. The box you were brought up in no longer seems to fit the mold and it’s time to go home for Spring Break. You hear slurs. Jokes. This just doesn’t feel right and your heart is conflicted.
Can you go against your family and be friends with people you know they would look down upon? And how can you leave the friendships you’ve built? These friends are amazing and you’ve learned so much. What will your family say if they knew you were dating someone they laugh about and mock? How can you be true to yourself and still honor your past? Have you already had this conversation with your friends? Do they know your family background and beliefs? Do they understand you and how you truly disagree? Do you hope for understanding and built bridges?
Or would it be easier to go with the flow and not challenge your past? Perhaps you hang with the friends so you can feel you belong and yet deep down you truly look forward to getting back home to the people you feel safe with.
And there’s that Squawk. What’s the issue you need to deal with?
Think of the lessons you learned growing up. The society, religion, or area you were raised in.
What are the deep personal beliefs you hold on to and have completely embraced as your own? The ones which bring you peace and comfort. The knowledge of truth soothing your heart.
There are others you don’t fully agree with. They squawk at you saying the belief/understanding/actions are not in alignment with your inner truth.
How do you explore these new feelings while honoring the old? How do you step out of the box created from birth to embrace the sincere ringing of rightness and harmony in your soul?
You stretch. Explore. Learn.
Seek out what feels most true to your heart and soul. You may find it’s a hybrid between what you learned growing up and are learning as you age and mature. Experiencing the world and charting your own path means you have the opportunity to open your eyes to see a new perspective. This perspective may feel dramatically different which could cause a bit of discomfort, forcing you to be brave and stand on new ground.
Find your truth.
Learn. Grow. Challenge.
This is the first installment of a three-part series on how to break free from the boxes we were born into in order to live the truest, authentic life possible. Check back next week for part two.