How many times have you fallen down your favorite rabbit-hole? Here’s an alternative to going underground, and a resolution for the New Year.
In the childhood classic, Alice in Wonderland, as she was about to catch the rabbit, Alice was “just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge. In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.”
Ah, the rabbit-hole. It’s a metaphor for adventure, but sometimes the trip is none too fanciful. For many of us, this metaphor has more meaning as a place where we fall down and get stuck in our stuff. It’s not a fun journey.
“We had the same argument all over again. He pushed my buttons and I blew up. I said I wasn’t going to lose my cool and I fell right back down the rabbit hole.”
“I watched a Hallmark Classic and it reminded me what an awful childhood I had. It felt so unfair and it’s why I can’t have a decent relationship. I ate a whole pint of Cherry Garcia and fell right back down the rabbit hole.”
When we find ourselves in the rabbit-hole, it’s a dusty bottom. Down there we mill around with our fears, our phobias and outmoded mindsets. Very quickly we decide that this is a terrible place.
In there we come face-to-face with the things that scare us. And those that keep us from coming back up for air. We forget that it’s a long way down. Uncomfortable. Yet we make the journey anyway. We can’t seem to stop ourselves from falling down our favorite rabbit-hole.
The entrance and décor of our favorite rabbit hole is familiar – in an often dysfunctional way – and often we become addicted to the drama of falling down. It’s such a familiar journey, and we make it over and over and over.
But what if we decided not to make the trip? What if, instead, we dance around the edges?
The Way Out is Not Going In
I know some people that spend their entire lives subterranean. That’s easier and less painful for them than making the journey out.
Here’s how it goes. By the time you’ve found the hole, fallen down and wallowed around in the dirt, you’re tired. The light is bad, you’re almost out of food and when you realize how far you need to climb to reach the light…it can be overwhelming.
It’s familiar down there, and scary up here.
This is why many people stay stuck.
Here’s something novel: The way out is by not going in.
The climb out is upward, and it can be arduous. It takes a lot of effort and energy to come back to the surface.
What if, instead of falling down, you did something else? What if you danced around the edges of your rabbit-hole?
When you know the terrain, you know what to expect. And you can learn how to avoid the fall. Maybe not every time you’re triggered, but more times than not, you might mill around the edges of your favorite issue instead of diving in.
Perhaps you decide to dance in the uncertainty of a situation. Or maybe you feel really radical, and you decide to push out of your comfort zone by asking forgiveness from one that you’ve hurt, or jumping out of the plane with your parachute pack, or dumping that relationship that’s familiar yet toxic.
Dancing, not plummeting down.
A Resolution for the New Year and Always
As one year closes and we move into the next, I’m giving myself permission to dance around the edges of my favorite rabbit holes. In one moment with a single decision, I can change everything in my life. You can, too.
You’ve learned from the trips down your favorite rabbit holes and you are wiser, stronger and more compassionate now. Remember the way out is by not going in. Dance around the edges instead. You’ve got this.
I have this vision of all of us dancing, singing joyfully as we navigate our lives from above ground. May you have every blessing in this New Year and dance with wild abandon, all across your world.