2015, June 1-3rd we had experienced the second Amara Transformational workshop in Finland. At the Open Space session teams mixed of facilitators and participants co-created inquiry to questions from the audience. I‘ve got joy to jump into the group coping with tough existential question How to get out of the box? The conversation created insights that I will try to summarize here. However I recognize, that my memory is cheating me thus I openly ask co-creators to correct or add what was forgotten by posting comments on FB or our blog.

  • When we grow our Comfort zone becomes a Discomfort zone. What was helpful before becomes limiting toward the future – we feel irritation for being caught in “the box”.
  • Awareness of “the box” is a start of personal transformation.
  • The power moving us out of “the box” is curiosity. Curiosity is so natural and strong when we are children however adults need to put conscious efforts in order to cultivate curiosity.
  • The power bringing us back to “the box” is fear for uncertainty. By facing fear and still overcoming it we develop courage.
  • We test the walls of “the box” by challenging ordinary behaviour, by trying new uncomfortable experiences, by accommodating new non-standard thinking or by developing new habits. For some of us, novel and challenging behaviour is learning to say “No”, for others it is a smile when meeting anger or pause when being eager to act or meditation instead of the morning coffee, or practicing action inquiry…
  • Our box is our system. There are boxes of others around us and sometimes we feel acting against our will. Awareness of our free choice may be eye opening.
  • Even a small shift in our thinking and behaviour reboots the whole system. Imagine if we were expected to agree, as always, but we unexpectedly say – No. We were expected to be frightened, but we unexpectedly smile and show dignity. The mirror reflection changes when we change ourselves. We own the power to exit.
  • We move outside “the box” and experience transformations by continuing and disciplined practice of the new way of living, by making small steps every day.

When searching for the final statement or quotation to share I could not find anything gentle and inspiring, anything that was outside the box. But suddenly I noticed a picture of a butterfly, peacefully sitting on the card box. What if there is no box? What if there is only growth? What if we suddenly are too big for shoes we wear?

There’s a nice little book on the dilemma of being in and getting out of the box: Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting out of the Box by The Arbinger Institute.