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Wednesday
Oct242012

Jane! Get me off this crazy thing!

We all remember that part of the show, George Jetson who started out taking dear old Astro out for a walk on the space treadmill, winds up alone, frantic and calling for Jane's help. All while Astro who was smart enough to just take one step to the side and remove himself from the situation watches smugly as George struggles.

So reason asks, why does George keep on, doesn't he know safety is just a side-step away? It was so simple that Astro figured it out, so why couldn't George? We can learn a lot from dear old Astro.

Sometimes we get stuck....unable to free ourselves from the treadmill of life which seems as though it has spun out of control. Being busier than ever, with work, home, kids, that we can sometimes lose site of ourselves, or the escape hatch that might be as simple as saying "no" to one thing and stepping to the side and allowing another to take your place on the treadmill. Even for just one event, or one day.

In the panic, all we can see is the belt of the treadmill moving more and more quickly, losing sight of your goal....is Astro even still here? If not, then what am I still doing here? Is it habit? Sometimes when you have done something for so long, or repeatedly, it is hard to see yourself in anything but that role. But the past doesn't have to dictate today or the future. What is important is that you hold the key, you can, take that step to the side and get off this crazy thing.

So many of us get caught up on our own treadmills, and they look different for everyone:

  • everyone's problem solver
  • mediator
  • peacemaker
  • nurturer
  • fire-fighter
  • rescuer
  • enabler
  • can't say "no" to anything
  • super volunteer
  • teacher
  • dieter
  • dutiful employee

And when you have played that role before, or are good at it, it is hard not to get sucked into it. Don't get me wrong, all of those are good thing, necessary in fact... in moderation. The problem is, when we identify ourselves almost exclusively as one of those things in the same old patterns, and it keeps us stuck from growing. The problem with treadmills are that you don't actually get anywhere.

Burning Down the House?

If the same fire truck returned to the same house every day, to put out a little fire in a garbage can, it wouldn't be long before someone was having a discussion with the homeowner about fire prevention. So, why in other parts of our lives is it so difficult to focus on the fire prevention so that we can get off the treadmill of fighting those daily fires and make ourselves available to bigger challenges, ones that we are called to fight.

If you quit running to the garbage can fire, will that house, block, neighborhood go up in flames? Probably not, and if it does, you can't hold yourself forever responsible. Sometimes the smoke rising from the garbage can is a signal for the need for change or for someone else to step in.

A project doesn't get done, someone else has to pitch in, an event needs to be cancelled, it happens. Just because you might not see how it can all work out, resolutions or utter happiness for everyone on the horizon, doesn't mean it isn't there. People pitch in, adjust their schedules, or are maybe even relieved when a cancellation call comes. 

In reality, no one is indispensible. People move on, people die every day, leaders arise, change happens. And while not always easily, life goes on. Sometimes thrives in the process.

We all have choices to make, Astro chose his, what do you choose?

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