Field: an expanse of open or cleared ground defined by boundaries for the cultivation or pasture; a sphere of activity, interest or knowledge; a seemingly unending monoculture of sameness to unload, release, and cultivate new possibilities and expand boundaries.
Walking from London and through northern France on our way to Jerusalem has taken us through numerous fields. Through England many of these are clearly defined by hedges and woodland as we opportunistically skirt the edges clinging to the dappled coolness of shade to avoid the blazing sun where possible.
As we journey through France my experience of fields has been quite different to England. Fields here seem to stretch on to the horizon and are distinguished by monoculture crops – wheat, barley, canola. Endless seas of greens, gold and yellow.
Entering the Discomfort Zone
Walking often thigh deep through fields in the heat of the day can be hard going. Each step is carefully placed to avoid divets in the ground that could spell a sprained ankle or a fall. Wearing shorts sees one being mindful of nettles, and thistles and other thorny and scratching undergrowth.
Seeing a sea of sameness as we walk through open ground becomes a mental challenge at times.
It is at these moments as we cross a sea of gold to make it to the coolness of the hedges on the other side that the mind is given an opportunity to unload.
Happiness’s Great Contradiction
We are programmed to want variety. But not so much that it takes us out of our comfort zone. Too much variety and we long for routine and stability. It is a constant juggle of craving the new and slightly unfamiliar, skirting the edges and at the same time not going too far beyond our comfort zones.
Happiness is a constant push and pull of craving the unfamiliar, the edge and staying within the familiar, the comfortable.
Fields provide the perfect ground where sameness brings up discomfort and need for the new, the novel. Walking through the heat of the day through endless fields tests our resolve. Ploughing forward emotions start to stir, the need for variety brings up discomfort.
I have become so used to comfort. To a pasteurised homogenised life.
A ‘pathteurised’ way of being. A life of comfort with just enough variety to keep me questioning.
Just like a rabbit crossing an exposed field, I felt the same kind of exposure. Exposed to the elements, a field provides a vulnerable ground for stuff to surface. Away from the coolness, comfort and safety of the hedgerows and woodland, rather than skirting the edges fields expose us to feeling.
Discomfort can bring out our primality. Heat, pain, discomfort – we are
Field of Vision
Our field of vision walking through tall crops ready for harvesting can often be limiting. We cannot always rely on being able to see the safety of the edges. Other times, we may be on high ground and we have the opportunity to expand our field of vision. To let go of limitations and be open and exposed to new ideas, new thoughts, an expanded comfort zone.
Field of Potential
Fields can bring up our primal fears. If we can allow ourselves to be exposed like a rabbit instead of ducking for cover, if we can become comfortable in our discomfort we have the opportunity for growth and healing.
Everyone of us has great potential. Very few of us ever reach our full potential. Often we need to allow ourselves to sit still in our field, to allow ourselves to be exposed, to feel uncomfortable to expand our field of potential.
Left of Field
Sometimes when we are called to grow but shun away from the field, the field comes to us.
Crises, accidents, dilemmas, major decisions, dramas – they materialise to help us grow and expand our comfort zones. Nothing is coincidence, even though our mind will make it sound so.
Coincidence is simply incidences or events coming together to teach us what we need to know to expand our field.
Coincidences often happen when we are not willing to venture in the field. Other times they ‘happen’ as we are ready to venture forward.
On the edge of fields, particularly in England you’ll notice hedges, trees and shrubs grown to create an impenetrable green boundary between fields and country lanes. They provide excellent wind breaks and shade as well as define property.
Often in life rather than make firm commitments we hedge our bets. We sit on the fence. I have found in life the times when I stepped out of my comfort zones and made a firm commitment one way or another I have had great growth.
Sitting on the fence is easy. It keeps us ‘safe’. We live in the known and shy away from the blazing heat that promises to expose ourselves and who we are. Hedges clearly define our boundaries.
Make A Stand
This journey for me is about making a stand. To walk out of the comfort of the shade that hedges provide. To stop living in the shadows of fear and walk into the light. To allow myself to be exposed, naked and vulnerable. I let go of my business, security, comfort, my life and my love to spend what will be five months walking. Walking every day out of my comfort zone and into new uncharted territory within myself.
The journey I am on walking from London to Jerusalem is an opportunity to walk through the field. To venture through the blazing heat, to feel with each step the ground under my feet, to not be phased by scratches and stings, to allow discomfort to expand my comfort zone.
Expanded Field of Possibilities
I look forward to the journey opening up a great field of new possibilities, thoughts and ideas. The more I can just let myself be open and vulnerable the more this great field will expand to allow the realisation of potential.
Taking The First Step
Many feel stuck in their field of sameness. Often it takes for either this sameness to become intolerable before they venture forth. Other times they are forced into new fields of experience through crisis.
Some call this being ‘stuck’ or ‘stuck in a rut’. Often we need to be willing to walk through the field, to step out of our comfort zone to expand our field of possibility to find new life. Are you willing to take the first step?