Thursday, November 3, 2011

Getting out of dodge

image from Kalidassa on Deviant Art
I don't know about you, but sometimes I get stuck. I get stuck in my own patterns, my own drama, my own skin. I don't always notice it as quickly as I might hope, but when I do, I panic. OH MY GOD WHAT DO I DO I'M STUCK scream all of my internal critics. They all suggest that being stuck is an eternal state and I won't be able to do anything about it.

They're wrong. There are a ton of things I can do about being stuck, things you can do too.

Some of those things are pretty simple, like talking to a friend, going for a walk, helping someone else, standing on your head, things like that. Stuff that gets you out of your own mind and out of your rut. But sometimes that isn't enough. When that happens, I get out of dodge.

I know, I'm nowhere near Dodge City, Kansas and you probably aren't either. But I get out of my current locale, I go someplace else where I can meet new people, have new experiences and be someone else or, more accurately, remember the best of who I already am. When I was younger I used to go overseas every few years and pretend to be someone else. I would tell stories about another life, the kind of life I wanted to live and create a person I hoped I might be when I got home. But I never was that person and these adventures only left me with a vague sense of longing, so now I go to other places and give myself permission to be my best self, without the baggage of the day-to-day that so easily can pull me down. I have permission to soar.

I've become more selective about where I go for these moments, so I can be both genuine and fed without any temptation to be someone else, and recently I had one of the most enriching out-of-dodge experiences of my life. I went to the PopTech conference in Camden, Maine. If you've not heard of the conference, this is how they describe themselves:

We’re a global community of innovators, working together to expand the edge of change.

When I was there I absolutely felt as though I was part of that community. I felt enhanced by possibility and moved to action.

It was three-and-a-half days of talks, conversations, excellent food and inspiration. I met people who had great ideas to change the world and acted on them.

I realized that I have every opportunity to be one of them. As a storyteller, I change the world every day when I listen to someone, when I tell a story that moves an individual or a group. What's more, I met dozens of wildly creative, intelligent people who got it when I told them I am a storyteller, who understood the broad application and possibility of story and narrative.

I felt as though I had come home to a family who had just been waiting for me to walk through the door.  By getting out of dodge I was able to remember who I am and carry it back home with me. I am energized and motivated in ways I haven't been in a long time. This trip out of dodge did everything I needed and more. I have remembered the best of who I am and am acting on it. I am so grateful that I was wise enough to go, so grateful that these experiences exist and the community welcomed me.

All of this begs the question: Why don't I give myself permission to soar all the time? Why do I have to get out of dodge to be my best self? The easy answer is about the daily grind, the commute, the bills, the things that wear me down. But the better answer, one I think you and the PopTech community will understand is much simpler.

I have permission to soar all the time. I just need to remember that I have wings.

(c)2011 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

1 comment:

  1. I think the question or the answer also lies within the word 'dodge' which you mostly used in the lower case! When you want to get out of dodge, are you not wanting to dodge yourself and the great person you are? The great people we all are? Just a simplistic thought!


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