Thursday, May 14, 2009

Invisible Fences

There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them. Anthony de Mello
To train an elephant, a keeper chains one leg of a baby elephant by a rope to a tree trunk or some large object that it cannot move. No matter how hard or much the baby elephant pulls, it cannot move the object. Eventually, the elephant gives up trying to move the stump and the keeper can move the elephant anywhere it wants simply by attaching the chain to a small piece of wood. The size and strength of the elephant is irrelevant. It believes it cannot move beyond the length of its rope. It is limited by and to its belief.

When I was in an abusive relationship I believed everything I did was limited to what he told me I could do, say, think, feel, be. In my belief that he had the right to control me, I was limited in my ability to move beyond his abuse. In my belief that I was powerless to change what he was doing in my life, I was chained to his abuse.

When I was born, my possibilities were limitless. As I grew, I became defined by the limits of the world around me, my family of origin, my environment, my inherent personality traits. Those limits confined me to believing I could, or could not, do certain things.

These limiting beliefs are like invisible fences. They confine us to the living, doing, being who we 'think' we need to be, limited by our fear of living, doing, being all that we imagine.

Invisible fences are like an electric pet fence. You can't see it, but try to cross the line and you receive a big shock. The initial shock forces you back. Again and again and again. Dogs don't believe they can get through the shock of crossing over, so, they quit trying.

Humans have the capacity to know that the fence shock is not strong enough to kill you, it's meant to deter you from breaking through. -- you can get through. It's just a matter of will.

But, too often, we give up, give in, give into the belief that this line, this invisible fence is our limit. We tell ourselves, "I can't take anymore. It's too much for me. I can't do it. I'm too short, too tall, too thin, too fat, too stupid, too old, too young, too weak."

Do something every day that you're afraid of doing.

Cross a line. Push beyond a limit. Drive through a barrier. Overcome a fear.

Speak up in a meeting when you usually stay silent. Make a phone call you've been avoiding. Write down your goals. Tell yourself "I love me" in the mirror. Wear a red hat. Wear mis-matched socks. And don't explain yourself! Don't excuse yourself for 'being different', for doing it different or for shaking yourself up. Do it. Don't excuse it!

Don't let 'I can't do that', or 'that's just not me' thinking hold you back. Break out! Break through the invisible fences that would keep you confined to the safe and narrow path of your comfort zones.

They're not comfortable! In fact, they're down right uncomfortable, you're just used to them.

Untether yourself from the belief you cannot move beyond the length of the limiting beliefs of your past. Set yourself free to live and do and be all that you imagine.

It's your human right. It's the gift of your brilliance.

Shed some light on the darkness of your fears and get shining!

The question is: Are you like the elephant? Are you willing to use your will to move you beyond the length of the rope keeping you tied to your limiting beliefs?


Anonymous said...

Anthony de Mello is my daughter's favorite... It's her guru!
She just graduated with a major in philosophy this May

I know what you mean about daughters. Aren't they just wonderful?

M.L. Gallagher said...

Congratulations to your daughter -- you must be very produ!

And Yes! Daughters are wonderful -- they keep me honest -- and real!

And, they keep me on my toes.



And congr

dee said...

Thank you for this!

Some days its almost impossible to get through the fear left over from the toxic ex, (who I once referred to tongue in cheek as beloved), and go past my limits. Its still very hard to get past the panic and agoraphobia, but I'm trying more and more each day. And each day I keep reminding myself that I DO have choices although I may be able to do little about a toxic job, (bullying), right now, I can choose how I react to those individuals. Instead of blaming myself for my failures to see the reality of the events that happened, I'm starting to recognize that I had qualities that lead me into them, but instead of focusing on these I am trying to focus on my strengths.

Anyway, I have to thank you for offering your suggestions and support for all of us in your blog.

Thank you!


M.L. Gallagher said...

Hello Dee, Good for your for knowing -- you can't change the abuse. You can stop abuse in your life by changing how you respond to him.

Keep taking baby steps. They will lead to a river of healing and loving and laughing. A virtual waterfall of dancing freely in the giving waters of life.

Shine on!