Shauntelle Mystral, famous explorer, slices through the thick jungle vines with her trusty machete.
She wades through swampy muck, trudges through the tangled undergrowth, and carries on until the light begins to dim.
Slung across her shoulder is a huge burlap bag she’s been dragging for miles.
It’s huge, but not heavy – because what’s inside it is a whole bunch of…
Shauntelle Mystral, famous explorer, prepares to set up camp.
She doesn’t need a fire. She didn’t need to bring along a co-explorer and set a watch. She doesn’t need to set any traps, or find a safe spot to rest.
Instead, she builds a pillow fort.
“I’m totally safe from snakes. There’s no way one could wriggle between these pillows,” thinks Shauntelle Mystral.
“I’ve got pillows under me too, so there’s no way any of those nasty ants can get at me,” thinks Shauntelle Mystral.
“I can’t see a jaguar, so I’m not even worried that one might pounce on me at any moment,” thinks Shauntelle Mystral.
The harsh truth about Shauntelle Mystral’s pillow fort
Those pillows aren’t going to protect Shauntelle Mystral.
In fact, the pillows are going to blind her to any real danger.
Without the pillows, she could see any danger and respond to it.
With the pillows, she feels more safe, but she is actually less safe.
Are you building a pillow fort in the jungle?
Here are the most common pillows that people build their forts out of:
- “I can count on my job security”
- “I don’t want to hurt anyone”
- “Spiritual practice will make me feel okay, so I don’t have to act”
- “I can’t”
- “I don’t want to rock the boat”
- “But I love my partner”
These are all nice, comfortable-looking pillows, each a fluffy wrapper around the hard truth:
It’s okay to be afraid. Shauntell Mystral, famous jungle explorer, is afraid too.
But she’s safer with her eyes wide open to potential danger than she is inside her comfortable-looking pillow fort.
If you ensconce yourself inside the pillow fort of job security, you’ll be caught unprepared if you’re laid off.
If you bury your face in the “I don’t want to hurt anyone” pillow, you might be avoiding responsibility for your own choices.
If you hide inside the pillow fort of the spiritual bypass, you hide from the discomfort of standing up for yourself.
If you cover yourself in pillows embroidered with “I can’t”, you opt out of taking the helm of your own life.
If you nest inside the pillow pile of “I don’t want to rock the boat”, you say that avoiding conflict is more important than your own needs.
If you cover the ground with “But I love my partner” pillows, you turn your face away from the fact that you’re not happy, effectively telling yourself that you don’t deserve to be happy.
Don’t you deserve to be afraid?
Don’t you deserve to be truthful with yourself?
If you’re afraid, say, “I’m afraid.”
There’s no need to build elaborate pillow forts to hide from the truth of your fear.
It’s okay to be afraid. Change is scary. Even thinking about change is scary.
But at least be honest with yourself, and admit the truth about what’s stopping you.
Say, “I’m afraid.”
Shauntelle Mystral, in the jungle, without pillows
Shauntelle Mystral, famous jungle explorer, says, “I’m afraid.”
She stands up, still afraid but newly empowered. Pillows go flying everywhere!
Shauntelle Mystral walks on, with eyes open. She spots movement from up ahead – could be a jaguar.
She pauses, then changes her route to avoid the danger.
1 week later, the newspaper headline reads:
SHAUNTELLE MYSTRAL FIRST JUNGLE EXPLORER TO RETURN ALIVE
SURVIVED WITHOUT PILLOWS
Once you step out of your pillow fort, the true work of Pathfinding beings.
Now that you can see the true landscape, no longer obscured by illusions, you can find your true path.