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On Being "Thrown Out of the Nest"

By July 31, 2011

This is one of my favorite quotes by Pema Chodron -- "To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest."

What do I love about this quote? I think it speaks to the fact that life is inherently scary. It speaks to our very human desire to stay in a safe place, protected. And it speaks to our need to confront reality to be truly alive. In my work with patients, we often tackle these issues. People with BPD have every reason to seek security -- many have been deprived of security in their childhood, or, because of the nature of their symptoms, feel insecure even when they are in a safe place. But, by seeking security all the time, they can miss out on life's big opportunities; the chance to try something new, to fall in love, to pursue their goals.

Of course, this doesn't just apply to people with BPD. We all sometimes choose the comfort of security over the endless possibilities of living. Do you do this too often though? Are you limiting your life in favor of feeling protected?

August 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm
(1) Connie says:

It’s a lovely quote when applied to “normal” people. However, the person who wrote this obviously has never struggled with the devastating, fear, abandonment and rejection that is a staple of BPD.

September 5, 2011 at 1:23 pm
(2) oldsoldier says:

I can understand Connie’s comment. We who are living a “normal” life can see examples of how life is and how we cope with life. However, when a BPD sufferer feels these emotions and relates to these experiences then the condition kicks in and the world becomes even more scary than it already is. How much is the condition blowing up these fears? Nobody can put a figure on the amount of inflation in the fear factor but the people that care for the sufferers can see a volcano blowing at close quarters. What we see as a nice quote or a beautiful picture is seen through a different pair of eyes. We can see picures by7 Monet or Picasso, both are entirely different. Same with words. We may enjoy Shakespeare or Bronte but others don’t. Life is beautiful to most of us but to a sufferer this is a nightmare which is usually carried out with the loved one or carer being on the receiving end of the fight against the nightmare.

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