Friday, March 9, 2012

Stepping Through Doorways

I know it sounds kind of strange but that's how this comes to me. Life brings many event, situations, dilemmas and cycles. Each time there is a moment where we step into the doorways of these things that we are led to.

It is scary at first and sometimes we want to run away. It's too much, we are not equipped to handle the new things coming at us, we have no frame of reference and quite frankly it is way out of our comfort zones. And sometimes we are looking for an easier way out than going through the doorway to a different thing than we have ever known.

The fact is most of the time these challenging situations that present themselves right in front of our faces are opportunities in disguise. Opportunities for growth, self learning, confidence building. It gives us a chance to know ourselves better. Our comfort zones are not always the best place for us to be. This does not mean it is not painful, scary, uncomfortable or anxiety producing. Even amazing things can prove scary and challenging.

I know my pattern. I take a step, peek around and retreat quickly. I regroup, take a few more steps into the new situation, while internally gauging my sense of response ability. There have been a few times where I was just thrown kicking, whining and screaming into the doorway. But I always found my way somehow. AT some point I take a deep breath and start taking more determined steps until I find myself totally in the new room.

I gotta be honest here, my first response is always denial. I am not familiar with the situation, it is not in my frame of reference and it is not in my comfort zone so I do try and pretend to not to have "response ability" to the situation. I manage to work through will finally dawn on me that if I am here then what is happening and how I handle this is my responsibility. I finally gain the ability to respond to this new challenge.

I am familiar with many things about life now because of my adventures into things unknown to me. We are not born with familiarity and knowledge of everything in this physical world. But we can learn, one step at a time. It expands us, adding "rooms to our internal house".

I am now observing my partner as he is being presented with "doorways" into challenging situations way beyond his frame of reference and experience. It is Definitely not in his comfort zone. Moving to West Virginia has been one new situation after another. And so far he has faced most of them with admirable results.

I am thankful I am able to observe his patterns without butting in, taking over, lecturing, nagging, using guilt and sarcasm as leverage to push him over the threshold. I am able to see the resemblances of his experience to mine. His first inclination is always to refuse his ability to respond. He tries to ignore the doorway but he always ends up taking that step. First he is discouraged, mad and irritable with the situation.

He will tell me several times, "I don't know anything about this, I can't take care of this, I don't know how." I wrestle my big ego to the ground and just listen. No helpful epitaphs to "Man the hell up, Pull your big boy pants on". No, none of that. It doesn't help. I also do not run in and try to fix the problem so he won't have to face it. I will help after he has taken responsibility for the issue. It is not up to me to take his learning experiences away. The fact that he is frustrated by it is a good sign. It means he is already challenging himself to move out of his comfort zone and work on the issue.

I listen and let him verbalize his frustration. After he does this, he begins to focus on the situation and actively steps in "the doorway" and begins working on whatever needs to be addressed that is out of his frame of reference but staring him down in the face.

Time and time again I have seen the results of his ability to respond to these challenges and it is always good. His world is growing. As I see this happen to him, I realize that my world has grown as well, one doorway at a time.

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