The Open Cage

cage

Somedays we feel trapped. Our freedom seems compromised and we think that we can’t fly or run away. It may be caused by external pressures which seem out of our control, or it may be coming from within. In that low state, we may fell powerless.

We also know that we could look on the bright side of things. Rationalise that our condition is not that bad – that we should not really complain. We know that there are plenty of people who are in much worse circumstances. We remember that nothing is fixed, things are in constant flux and that there are most probably many ways out of our current misery.

When one feels psychologically trapped – it seems all too real, but it is very often simply a construct of the mind. We have put ourselves in a cage. Our thoughts are going in circles and we need to do something different – we need to find a way out.

Today, I have felt that way. Too many commitments and failing to keep all the balls in the air have left me paralysed.  Instead of keeping struggling, I decided to… move. I had a sense that  physically moving my body may bring in some clarity. So I decided to temporarily drop everything and I went for a run. While  running, I focused on the outside – on the surroundings. Then, I washed mindfully enjoying the sensation of the water. Lastly, I lied down and relaxed my body and turned my attention to my breath. I was alive and well and in a much better place to face what was troubling me.  I took a piece of paper and wrote down five actions that could change things around. I then looked at them one by one and chose the one that attracted me most and immediately did something about it.

More than a copping strategy, this course of action, helped me to understand that it is possible to break a negative pattern. I realised that the cage was always open. After moving and recharging my batteries, I was more able to face the discomfort, to dig a little deeper and do something about what was bothering me.

Without turning it into a system, I was wondering if this approach would help others. Not everybody may be in a position or inclined to go for a run, but going outside for a brisk walk or putting some music and dancing  may do the trick – anything that may help letting go of the mental block that may be trapping you.  Then facing the situation with fresh eyes and with a solution-focused attitude. Listing half a dozen actions that could make a difference and picking one physical step that can be done straight away. Ensuring that one can complete a small step in a different direction may help us find a way out.

All to often, when we pause and start looking, we may realise that the cage we felt trapped in was opened the whole time.

Breather*