“Freedom may come not from being in control of life but rather from a willingness to move with the events of life, to hold on to our memories but let go of the past, to choose, when necessary, the inevitable. We can become free at any time.”
– Rachel Naomi Remen, Kitchen Table Wisdom
They say that if you put a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will leap out right away to escape the danger. But, if you put a frog in a kettle that is filled with water that is cool and pleasant, and then you gradually heat the kettle until it starts boiling, the frog will not become aware of the threat until it’s too late. The frog’s survival instincts are geared towards detecting sudden changes.
Over many years my own survival instincts didn’t detect the gradual changes in my body, mind and spirit. The water of my life was heating up, but the change was happening one decision at a time.
My body tried to tell me I needed to make some changes. But I didn’t hear the messages through the stress, physical ailments, victim attitude, the work, and obligations. All my senses were blocked off so I could just keep on keeping on, oblivious to the warming waters.
I could’ve used an intervention – someone to take the risk to say, “Whoa, you’re way off balance. You don’t seem happy.” But it’s hard to take that risk and speak our truth with others. How will they respond? We leap when we’re ready to, no matter how hot the water is getting, no matter what someone else says, no matter how much our body is telling us to leap into a new way of being.
Finally I looked up from the kettle and saw a life as stuck and inflexible as I felt in my body, mind and spirit. I felt sorry for myself floating in hot water, until the urge to free myself became stronger than the urge to be a victim.
I leapt and reclaimed the wild, free-spirited, uncontainable me. The me who follows no rules, who not only lives outside the box, but crushed the box along the way. The me who paints outside the lines and whose one goal in life is happiness.
And when the water of my life heats up even a tiny bit, I leap again.