Beyond Our Limits

by Christopher Lovejoy on October 10, 2010 · 6 comments

I’ll be the first to admit that it feels good to stay inside your comfort zone.

It feels safe, secure, stable, and altogether reassuring.

Like a mother’s womb.

Which is why we live in a world where things can happen.

Nasty things. Complicated things. Things that go bump in the night.

But also beautiful things, wonderful things, delightful things.

And amazing things, too!

When you venture forth, you never can tell what lies around that corner, behind that door.

It’s exciting, it’s disconcerting – heart-pounding entertainment for the earthbound spirit, here to learn and realize the meaning of control and submission in a dense material realm.

And now, in the early twenty-first century, we’ve reached a point in our collective evolution where we can now, in greater numbers than ever before, assume conscious control of our states of being.

To put out good vibes into the universe and create a world of our own making.

So why would I want to write about going beyond our limits?

Henry David Thoreau, a famous author and naturalist who lived two years of his life in a most unusual but interesting way during the 19th century (and lived to write about it in a seminal work called Walden), is quoted as saying, the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.

We need only take a quick ride on public transit in a big city during rush hour traffic to get a glimpse of what he was talking about.

When we stay snuggled inside our comfort zones, carefully arranging our schedules and our physical and social environments to suit us at every turn, we simply have no room to grow.

No room to grow, develop, ascend, or fulfill ourselves in any meaningful way.

This is no way to live.

In the 1990s, I did some fine art nature photography in out-of-the-way places, under less-than-ideal weather conditons.

With camera and tripod, I traversed muddy, rocky terrain along shorelines in the dead of winter, faced blistering ice cold winds that cut clean through my winter clothes, got whipped by snow blizzards so thick I could hardly see two feet in front of me, and endured temperatures so cold I lost all feeling in my face or fingers  (welcome to winter in Canada).

All of which were incredibly invigorating.

I felt unusually alive after such outings – with a deep, pervasive, fulfilling sense of satisfaction.

Fortunately for me, this is just one of many examples in my life where I dared to venture forth.

Such ventures made me aware of my limits and tested them severely.

To be sure, any measures that I took to compensate the next time were less than adequate when conditions changed or worsened.

Not all ventures, however, need to be physical to be challenging or rewarding.

They can be sensuous, romantic, erotic, sensual, or sexual.

They can be emotional, intellectual, mental, or spiritual.

They can be occupational, vocational, professional, or financial.

They can be personal, interpersonal, or social.

Within the scope of any one of these types of venture, we might ask ourselves, with the intention of meeting our limits so that we can go beyond them: what if?

When I think about ___, I need to ask myself:

What if I hold my ground and keep doing this?
What if I move beyond the fear and actually do this?
What if I summon the courage and take it one step further?

What if I _____________ (fill in the blank)?

The point of this exercise is to challenge yourself a little – or a lot, depending on where you are in your journey with any one of the types of venture mentioned above.

The power of what if engages your sense of promise and opens up your sense of possibility.

At the present time, my deepest, most pressing, most passionate what if is spiritual:

What if … I continue to clarify and express the nature, meaning, and realization of personal fulfillment to a point where they can no longer be usefully clarified and eloquently expressed?

Perhaps there is no limit to how far I can go with this. But then again, maybe there is.

I won’t know until I … do … go deeper … do go further … do go higher.

Engaging or exploring the unknown, however, has a way of raising the issue of limits.

But are they real? Or are they merely specters of the soul?

Yesterday, I heard someone talk about how he ran his very first marathon.

While running, he recalled, in the midst of his pain and fatigue, that every time he had an urge to stop running, he willed himself to merely observe the urge inside his awareness until it faded away.

He didn’t complete the marathon in record time, but within the bounds of his beliefs, he did complete it.

I would venture to say that if you believe you’re bound by limits, then you’ll invariably and inevitably attract the necessary conditions to manifest evidence of this and make it so.

If, however, you can honor your fear, summon your courage, get off the ground, and carry the possibility that you’re not bound by limits,  you just might surprise yourself with what you’re capable of being, having, doing, and becoming.

And go beyond your perceived limits to a time and a place where you know – not just think, but know – that your life is a dream coming true.


BriteLite October 11, 2010 at 8:55 am

I find this interesting: to exceed limits, limits are required.

Limits must be identified or discovered before they can be met or exceeded. We need our limits, if only to give us the means by which we can grow, evolve, and ascend.

Christopher Lovejoy October 11, 2010 at 8:38 pm

So true, BriteLite.

I think a point can also be made about the perception of limits. It pays to be aware that our perceptions of limitation can sometimes confine us, constrain us, or restrict us unnecessarily.

Evelyn Lim October 11, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Magic begins at the end of our comfort zone. I admit to enjoying the comforts of security but as I reflect, the periods that I have come alive are those that I have lived in abandonment.

It would have been nice to see some of your photography works. I can imagine how beautiful they must be.

Christopher Lovejoy October 12, 2010 at 10:44 am

Hi Evelyn, living with abandon has a way of bringing us vividly into contact with the present moment. It can also be quite exhilarating.

I posted a small sample of my work on Flickr over four years ago. You can view them here.

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