Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Break Out Of Your Discomfort Zone

Image courtesy of Mike Glier - click here for his website.

My son was despondent this morning. It's mid-way through the Easter Holidays and, predictably, he said he was bored.

I struggled with this, because my parents always told me if I was bored, it was my own fault. The world is full of things to do - you've just got to be able to see them there.

"Why don't you do some more drawing?" I suggested.

"Naaah," he said.

"How come?"

"Because no matter how hard I try, I never get any better at it."

I quit folding the laundry and went over to my son, a serious little fellow of ten years. "No," I said. "Sorry, but that just isn't true. Your drawing has improved leaps and bounds. That's just your corral of thorns talking, saying you're not improving, trying to keep you stuck where you are ..."

The corral of thorns idea is one I thought up ages ago to try and explain how some humans are so scared of change, that they will stay stuck in the self-same place for as long as they possibly can. Even if the change os patently for the better.

I used the analogy of a circle of thorns because I was thinking about how some herdsmen in parts of Africa keep their animals safe inside a corral of thorn-bushes. The corral keeps the predators out, and the animals are likewise kept in.

Some people are so frightened of the possibility they might encounter big scary monsters - things like Possibility (with it's 4" canines!), Change (it sucks blood, you know!) Creativity (hunts in packs and makes a sound like sarcastic laughter!) and Adventure (a shadowy nocturnal hunter with goggly blood-shot eyes the size of dinner plates) - that they would far rather stay forever inside their circle of thorns.

Is this one of your monsters?
Never mind that the grass inside the corral is now trampled and dirty, basically inedible. Never mind that the water-pool is stagnant and has mosquitoes breeding in it. Never mind that there is muck all underfoot now. Inside the circle of thorns is safer, because you can see everything there is to see in there, and besides: busting out would be foolish, because those thorns might scratch you to bits.

I made my son sit down and look back at his drawings, and see for himself how the voice in his head telling him he hadn't improved was lying, to try and get him to stay inside the circle of thorns. But by seeing the truth for himself, he could also look more closely at the fence that is containing him. Now he has the ability to see that there are weak spots in the thorn bushes, places where he could breach it without much effort, and certainly without getting as ripped up as he'd feared.

Anyone can break out of their corral of thorns, simply by challenging its need to be there. But first you have to recognise that it even exists.

Bournemouth Creative Breaks can help provide you with the tools to begin looking at your corral of thorns and how it's preventing you from living the creative life you want to live. Join us at the Arlington Hotel in the centre of Bournemouth for some gentle music-making, drawing, painting and writing. Break out of your discomfort zone.

1 comment:

  1. What a great story, well written with a great meaning. The Creative break sounds good, may well do that.