Six weeks ago, I moved into my parents’ house, the latest stop on my adventures in living “home-free.” They still live in the house we moved to when I was five.
The house sits on a block that is an shaped as an oval, with two points of entry and two cul-de-sacs. Most mornings, I start my day with a warm-up walk around the block a few times, before I begin my yoga practice. Many evenings I walk around the block while I talk to friends; it’s a good way to keep moving after a day of Zoom meetings and computer work.
The block isn’t that big — the loop is only 0.6 miles — and the loop can get boring and annoying.
Walking around the loop is a literal thing that isn’t serving me. It’s an escape — a way to avoid doing more challenging work that my body really needs. I’m not being served by walking this loop every morning.
Also a metaphor for the other loops that keep me stuck: the thoughts that sometimes get stuck in my head or the habits that no longer serve me.
Breaking out of the loop is hard, because the loop is convenient. Familiar. Easy. The block doesn’t get much car traffic, so it’s ideal for walking or running. It has becomes comfortable — even though it’s not comfortable.
The exit points are not hidden. At any time in my walk around the loop, I can exit and explore a world beyond the confines of this block. Even better, I can find a different activity and avoid the loop entirely.
The loops in your head, the patterns and habits that keep you trapped, work the same way.
We find comfort in what we know, even when we know it isn’t serving us. We find comfort in the familiar, even when it’s not comfortable.
The exits are available to you at any time.
All it takes is a willingness to break free of the loop.