The Gingerbread Cage

The gingerbread cage is the pretty lie we hide behind. We sometimes don’t realize the lie grows so strong that it locks us inside of it.


You can dress up your cage, but it’s still a cage. You can create a nest of comfort for yourself inside your cage, but it’s still a cage. You can fill your cage with distraction and vice, but you’re still in the cage.


You can hide in your cage to avoid the ugliness and shame of having to say you’re sorry, of having to put one foot in front of the other, of admitting you were wrong, of DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT. But no one will crawl in the cage with you. Because if they do, they too will get locked in.


Life requires your participation.

So do something. Anything. Rather than complain about what is, think about what could be. And then step toward it. Maybe only first in your heart, and then with all the colors of your imagination, and then with one little practical action. Feel good about it. Tell someone. Dream. Celebrate. Keep going.

You could sit still so long, expecting the golden egg. And life will keep moving. And you will perceive that life is taking from you, is unfairly robbing you of happiness, is discluding you from the joyful moments you see pictures of on Facebook. But really, life isn’t singling you out. It’s just moving, as it does. As we, too, are meant to do. We are meant to be brave and to desire and to change, to walk towards one dream and away from another, to dip our toe into some experiences and deep-dive into delicious others. We are meant to be sad and to grieve and to endure seasons of self-reflection and refinement before we go back into the fold, better for it. We are built to adapt. Change is the truth about life. 

I do not believe we are meant to get cozy on the couch with another rerun of the same show, hoping tomorrow’s sun will shine on us while we wile away the hours with cigarettes and distraction. I believe in trusting the universe and a higher power and other people and most of all, ourselves. If we trust ourselves, we move. We change even when we are afraid to. We leave when staying would be easier but would steal the last of our light.

We grow because we know that even when it hurts, it’s good. It’s progress. It’s experience. It’s a story. It’s a privilege someone else didn’t get.

Participate. Make a decision. Leave the gingerbread cage. Choose to stop sounding off about your discontent. Live in integrity. Do the right thing in secret. Do for yourself what other people cannot do for you. Stop blaming the economy, the direction of the wind, the grumpy cashier, the system, your family. Make the hard move. Allow the hurt. Allow the light, even if you can’t yet see it. It’s here. And so, miraculously, are you. You are here to create and to change and to experience a spectrum of emotion, to give and to listen and to love, to turn yourself outward and ask about someone else’s day, to feel all the joy and all the pain, to thrill at the luck of your beautiful messy life, and most of all to participate.


Be what you wish someone would have been for you. Be grateful for the gift of your day. Be humble and flexible and innovative. You have more to give than you think. I for one am prone to thinking that GIVING is the first piece of the jailbreak–and not just giving money or volunteering time (although if that’s your thing, YES!), but maybe offering advice or comfort, maybe doing your art, and maybe simply giving that apology or recognizing where you’ve limited yourself and shut off the grace of others.


Give the best of yourself, for the world and for you. Change your story, your trajectory, your relationships. Choose to stop avoiding and to start feeling. Find the grace in effort, in motion. You can. 

You are not in the world. The world is in you. -Deepak Chopra 


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