I read about an experiment today described by Susan Monk Kidd in her book “The Dance of the Dissident Daughter”. It was an “experiment in which flies were sealed in an aerated jar and left for an extended period of time. Finally the lid on the jar was removed, but — strange thing — the flies did not try to leave. Well conditioned by now, they no longer looked for the exit. They just kept circling the tight perimeters of the glass, going in their familiar patterns. Their reality had shrunk to that jar. It had become their entire world. It had become safe. Life beyond it had ceased to exist.”
Long pause. Put the book down. Stare out the window. When I retired from the corporate world, I took off the lid to that jar. HA! It occurs to me that I’ve been “circling the tight perimeters” of my current world ever since. Oh sure, I’ve taken a few minor, safe excursions beyond the edges of this known world. But truthfully, they were all short forays into fairly familiar territory and within easy quick retreat to the “jar”.
Nothing has felt like a major departure from the old. No change has been made from which there could be no easy return. All the things you fantasize about when chained to a corporate desk, traveling, reading, martini lunches, spot volunteering, etc. are all well and good, but they still feel like they’re inside the “jar” for me.
I can get really excited thinking about a “break out”. It has to be something that stirs the soul, gets the blood pumping and wakes you up at night with anticipation. But where would I go? What would I do? Those callings are still in their most embryonic state. In the meantime, gotta run … lunch date is calling!