"Thrown out of the Nest"
While browsing through the web recently, I came across a post that really grabbed my attention: A picture with nothing but a black background and two white circles drawn on it. One circle was very small, and an arrow pointed to it with the words "comfort zone." Next to this tiny circle was a much larger and more expansive circle, the arrow pointing to this one read, "Where all the magic happens."
I found a great deal of wisdom in that little picture with the two circles. In my experience all the magic in life does indeed always happen outside my comfort zone.
It's pretty easy for any of us to get into a routine in life, and the routine can very quickly become a "rut." Of course there is nothing wrong with the comfort of a regular routine - I very much enjoy getting up every morning and, as usual, reading the paper, feeding the dogs, sitting in silence in my beautiful desert garden for my morning meditation, writing a daily blog post.
But yesterday I got up and left the comfort zone of my daily life as my wife and I made our way to the airport and embarked on a journey across the country to visit our son and daughter-in-law, and our beautiful new baby grandson.
As I sat on a plane flying 30,000 feet above the earth, looking out over the vast expanse of billowing clouds, I remembered that little post with the two circles and thought to myself, "Yes, indeed this is where all the magic happens."
Yesterday we met all sorts of new people in the airport and on the plane, we got to hug our kids and kiss our grandson, the new sights, new smells new sounds of a "back-east" big city. Who knows what great surprises the week ahead may hold?
Lots and lots of magic is happening here.
I think about something Buddhist nun and teacher, Pema Chodron, once said,
To be fully alive, fully human and completely aware
is to be continually thrown out of the nest.
As I moved out of the circle of my own nest yesterday I once again came to appreciate the wisdom of this observation.
But I know that I don't have to get on a plane and fly across the country to get "thrown out of the nest," all I have to do is be aware that every day and every moment is in fact a new moment. Life is a continual process of change and impermanence, and so if I am to be fully aware I must take care to approach each day with an uncluttered mind and an open heart awaiting those new possibilities that will inevitably come to me even in the midst of the most ordinary of everyday comfortable routines.
I am reminded of a "saying" attributed to the Buddha:
The problem is that you think you have time.
The older I get the more I realize that this is indeed a problem.
When I was younger I believed I had all the time in the world. I often told myself that I would eventually "get around to it" - eventually get around to forgiving people who may have injured me, eventually take the time to tell the people I love that they mean so much to me, eventually do the things or see the places I have always wanted to do or see, but I had plenty of time to do all this and so it was much easier to stay within the routine confines of my own circle of comfort.
But as I get older I know that every minute of every day is precious and valuable and so even in my everyday life I am eager to be thrown out of the nest every day.
Of course you don't have to wait until you get older to learn this valuable lesson - so much magic awaits.