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Making Room

photo by Jason Ryan Smith

Jason was done with Portland. He knew it for a while, but his comfortable and easy job made it hard to leave. He had friends in town and had built a loyal clientele. Everybody loved him.

But his soul wasn’t happy. He knew it was telling him to make a change, and he need to make a move.
Right before he moved, we spoke. He was sitting on a lawn chair, the last chair in his apartment, talking to me on the phone.

“Why are you sitting on a lawn chair?” I asked.

“I’m making myself uncomfortable,” he said. “Everything here is fine; I could do it for a while. They like me at my job, I know a lot of people….I could be reasonably happy….but I’m not…. I’m bored.”

We agreed that being bored in this great life is not an option. It was time for a change.

So he decided to make himself uncomfortable, slowly selling off possessions and furniture, making it hard for him to stay.

“Eventually I’ll just have this open space and I’ll quit my job…then I’ll have to leave.”

We laughed at the ridiculous genius of the plan and he told me his deadline. He had his sights set on LA.

There is nothing wrong with being comfortable. I feel like it’s something we all crave and deserve. But we should also recognize when being comfortable isn’t enough. If our lives are easy and full, we forget to make room for necessary changes that will make us more of who we’re supposed to be. It’s like when you’re sitting on a couch, slowly sinking in, watching a great show on TV for hours. Suddenly you realize you fell asleep there. Only it’s not the next day, it’s been a few years. The sleep was good. Maybe the show was too. But you don’t really remember any of it.

You usually know when things aren’t just right. In relationships, jobs, living situations. Sometimes you just have to make them work. But most of the time you don’t have to make things work, but are afraid of change and of pain. We’re worried that we’ll never be comfortable again. So we stay still, snuggling in, pulling the blankets up over our ears and forgetting why we’re really here. We don’t think about these other hundreds of opportunities, knocking on our chest, asking that we just make a little room to think about it. Shouldn’t there always be that thought that something different that could make life even more full and that our personal mission could make an even greater impact?

One of my dearest friends just decided to make the leap and apply for Peace Corps, her life-long dream. She has a good job, she is beautiful and single and 30 and over it. She was desperately bored with corporate life. She decided to open the door and see what would happen.

“I feel like I’m just waiting for life to happen to me,” she said, “and I just can’t do that any more.”

Even if she does get her wish, she’s changed just for going through the process. She moved some things around, made space, and her interview is this week. Instead of sitting behind the stack of papers on her desk, she moved them over, saw the window, and started looking out.

Jason moved to LA exactly when he said he would. He knew he wasn’t moving to an easier life, but that wasn’t the point. He needed to make a drastic change and seek a different path because he knew he should. He is struggling, but he is happier. At least for a little while he is allowing his spirit to rest and revel in the room that he made for his heart to breathe.

Photo by Jason Ryan Smith
Published inUncategorized