There once was a walled garden. It was a very large garden with room for a great many people.
The people within the garden were all there by choice. They had worked to be there, found success in being there, and had created a world within the garden that worked quite well, most of the time.
Like a stepping stone along the path of life, the garden is a well-ordered place with rules and expectations, with authority and structures set in place to maintain and keep the people well.
When people first come to the garden (from the land of chaos), it is a welcome relief to their previous way of life, for in the garden there are well-laid parameters and ways of being. And many fit into this place quite well as it nurtures the development of a persons habits and responsibilities. People grow here.
What has been lost in the garden is any sense of a world beyond. Those in the garden think that the garden is THE place to be. And of course, for many it is… until it isn’t.
As I’ve said, the garden does an amazing job of giving people a place to grow, of finding out what they are good at, of confidence found in many good things brought to the table.
And yet, stay in the garden too long and it becomes a much smaller place. The rules and the authority structures, the should’s and the ought’s (that previously molded the rough edges off of people), become themselves the rough edges.
For what has been forgotten in the garden is that there is a world beyond; a world where the vistas are wide and the freedoms are vast. Where each person walks in the authority and responsibility of their own life. No one answers for any other, and no one is to blame for anything.
Stay too long in the garden and what was meant for good becomes like an ingrown toenail. Stay too long in the garden and the safety and parameters begin to pinch like a much too small shoe.
Because, quite simply, we are meant to outgrow the garden.
Stay too long in the garden and the knowledge of another land quickly dims; sounding like folk-lore and legend and lies.
‘There is no other land. This is it.’
And yet, there are a remnant that know that the success found in the garden is meant to be taken to a bigger world. A remnant that know that the confidence found in the garden is meant to fuel larger passions.
Stay too long in the garden and parameters that once shaped and molded become excuses and increased responsibility falls away for blame and childishness.
“The rules made me do it.”
“I am not allowed.”
“No one gave me permission.”
“This is just the way it is.”
Burn-out is high in the garden. Because the life-blood of vim and vigor is given over to safety and protecting. In the garden everything is under guard: one’s time, energy, passion, just to name a few.
And yet, there is another land, just on the other side of that wall. Yet the wall is high, and few make it over. For the discouragements are many; the warnings and scare-tactics compound the closer one gets to the wall.
For in the garden it is paramount that everyone plays by the rules. And the rules explicitly say, ‘Don’t go outside the garden’.
“The way of life here, the authority and the rules, the safety and the parameters, are the only way. If you leave here, if you refuse to submit and play by these rules, you will be destroyed. You will be confounded and broken down. All that you are good at will be lost. The influence you have will fade away.”
“There are monsters out there. Don’t go that way, you will be destroyed. There are fire-breathing monsters and other very bad things!”
Words are powerful. And for many who hear such words, they are enough to stop them in their tracks where they try to reposition themselves in the garden.
Repositioning themselves within the structures and the expectations of that place (when the whisper declares they are made for so much more) lead many to die slow living deaths.
In contrast, the few who make it over the wall, they find a land that sounds like a fairy-tale, a place more magnificent than they had ever even imagined.
They risked it all on the basis of a few whispers, subtle rumors that the garden keepers tried to squelch, risked to find out just if…
And amazingly, on the other side of the wall….. there are no monsters, there are no cliffs, there are no slippery slopes. Success is not lost but amplified. Influence is not cast away but increases. Fear is shown to be a blown up bully filled with nothing but hot air.
All the bogey-man stories are false!
On the other side of the wall there is land stretching as far as the eye can see. Soft green fields of blowing grasses, sun that shines and gentle winds caressing the face.
One can go in any direction one wants and never stop. The vista is endless, the opportunities abound.
Everything is truly possible.
Here the individual is responsible for him or herself. Here the individual takes full responsibility for their own life. What they want, what they don’t want. How much success, how much freedom, how much vital work. Here the individual has full say to make of his or her life exactly what they want of it.
And here the individual takes on that challenge, gladly and willingly.
In the garden we can always blame someone. The authority, the boss, the friend, the system, the rules, the lack of time, the loss of energy. The other side of the garden there is no one to blame. On the other side, each person stands as his or her own person.
And because of this, here the people give back. They are not overwhelmed. They are not tired. There is enough time for everything. Days carry a rhythm that nurtures and grows. With meaningful work, energy is released and expressed in beautiful and creative ways.
The basics of success and well-formed habits of ethics and integrity found within the garden, literally take wing outside the garden. All of who a person is comes into service of others. And relationships are rich.
For freedom and trust abounds outside the garden. Pinched, protective, narrow, suspicious thinking is replaced by compassion, generosity, and abundant manner of being.
In the garden it was all about what we did, and that begins to shut down after time. Outside the garden, everything flows from who we are, and time simply multiplies our being.
Plan to make your escape today. You will never regret it.