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I live in a suburb in the Midwest with a large school district.  English is the primary language spoken in all of the schools except the Spanish Immersion school.  Only Spanish is spoken there by all who enter, so the students are “immersed” into the language and culture completely.  I don’t know enough Spanish to visit that school as it’s a rule that nothing else gets spoken inside those doors.

Sometimes we’re lucky like that.  We choose immersion.  We get the rules: don’t suit up and get on the field or the court unless you’ve been at practice and know how to play.   At some starting point when we decided to learn that “thing”, we signed up, showed up and learned, then we figured out enough from our coaches, mentors or teachers to be a success if we put effort into whatever it was.

Learning new things can ignite all kinds of emotional and mental dormancy.  There is a usually a rapid awareness of the 3 different Categories of Knowledge.

1)      What I know that I know.

2)      What I know that I don’t know.

3)      What I don’t know that I don’t know.

In the case of immersion, often times #1 is minimal, #2 is significant and #3 is either frustrating, keeps us in denial or helps us survive because of our naivety.  There is magic in #3, because often times our answers that we believe are beyond us live there.

Recently I found myself in “blog immersion”.  I decided that building a website for a new business venture couldn’t be that hard because, after all, I’ve been periodically posting on this WordPress site for some time now.  The language is in English, I can find anything on Google, so what the heck?  I was heavily immersed in Knowledge Category #2 (I thought) as I knew I didn’t know how to build a website.  I was blessed to get a few of Sandi Krakowski’s video clips to figure out that I had to customize my dashboard.  I soon realized it was very different from my lovely little blog dashboard behind this post which someone in WordPressland magically made super simple.  I began learning the “language”, which was a different English than I know.  “Plugins” are not really the thing at the end of the cord that goes into the wall to turn on a lamp.  “Widgets” are not the things that the guy at the hardware store sells to fix the whatever-it-is that needs repair.   How would I know that my hosting company was where I needed to deal with a FTP file...and what IS that anyway?!?  After my frustration level got somewhere between breaking out in hives and full-blown shingles, I realized that I wasn’t living only in the land of Knowledge Category #2, I was underwater in Category #3.  I didn’t even know what questions to ask because I didn’t know enough of website design language to ask Google.   I wanted to quit.  And I couldn’t.  I needed to get the website done.  Guess what happened?  I somehow crossed the “invisible line” that happens when we choose to continue, not retreat.  I switched my mindset into thinking “this is a fun puzzle and I’m liking to learn this new skill.”  Ok, it was “fake it till I make it” for a little bit.  Now it’s solid.

Where are you “immersed” in your life?  Immersion STRETCHES us beyond our comfort zones.   Do you think a seedling is all excited about poking it’s head out of the comfy ground in springtime just to get accosted by the elements?  It has no choice if it is to grow.  Neither do we.  Growth comes from restlessness, when our current state no longer "fits" us.

Whenever you find yourself in the space of "restlessness", that's a sign...it's time that you are "up to something", something different.  You've outgrown the need for your current situation as it stands.

Here are some questions to consider if you’re feeling an internal need of some inspiration, new learning or something "different".  Maybe you could use a bit more passion or excitement or feel "called" to do something new or "crazy"?  That's called a clue.  Time for expansion.

When you find an opportunity or something that you’ve not done that sounds intriguing, do you get excited and check it out or would you rather “pass”?

Do you find yourself giving in too soon because of frustration or wanting to only do what comes easily or naturally? Note:  in our instant-gratification-fast-food-texting world, that is something significant to pay attention to ... not all results are immediate.

Is there REALLY any mental stimulation in doing easy puzzles or limiting your reading to 140 character twitter posts?

Do you grow emotionally by only hanging out with people who agree with you or share your opinions?

Do you need to do grow in your job or expand into something else in order to create a more meaningful financial future for yourself?

Can you grow spiritually without learning forgiveness or self-care?

Are you really where you feel the healthiest you’ve ever been or do you need to adjust your diet or exercise program?

It’s easy to make-believe that, like a fish swimming in its same bowl, our “sameness” is working for us because the water doesn't change.  There is no growth in "familiar".  Eventually, there is no excitement in familiar.  Ask yourself if you are TRULY comfortable with your “familiar”, whatever you may name it.  Or has Restlessness poked its nose into your comfortable daily grind?  Maybe it’s time to choose an “immersion” for yourself!

Before I go, I need to touch on the other kind of immersion – the one that isn’t necessarily consciously chosen. If you are diagnosed with an illness, lose your job, get in a car crash or a loved one passes, you are immersed.  Fast.  The themes might be different, yet your head will be exploding with questions and your emotional triggers will be going off like fireworks after the Superbowl once you get past the initial shock.  One solution to aid you from shutting down is to come up with a simple daily practice.  Here's an example:

First breathe.  Next, write down (list) 1) what you know that you know, 2) what you know that you don’t know, and be aware that the largest category is 3) what you don’t know that you don’t know.  It’s crucial that you don’t let Category #3 scare you because that third list is "empty".  There’s an excellent chance that what you are looking for will come from there.   You’ll be surprised at how, as you write your daily lists in your practice, things move from list #2 to list #1.  And magically....more answers emerge!  Where did they come from?!  They came from you, your inner genius.  Then, because you did your part, the forces beyond us jumped in to play, too.  Lucky you.

So as I write this, I am experiencing a personal new "immersion"...that of a new lifestyle called "empty nester".  I realize I dislike that title as much as I disliked being called a "newlywed" a few...uh...years ago.   My youngest child left for college a few days ago.  After having my kids around for more than 27 years and all the emotion that this time stirs up in me, I'm experiencing restlessness.  How is being immersed in quiet and no drama is going to suit me?  I’ve got a pretty big category #3 staring at me and of course, the list is empty.  This isn't a "stick my toe in to check the water" situation.  I just dove into that unknown, have come up for air and I'm starting to swim....and the options of where to go are not mapped.  Immersions bring unlimited options!  Nice.

Thanks for stopping by.   I’d love to hear about your restlessness...or immersion(s).

BE the inspiration YOU ARE in our world...


Reader Comments (1)

I LOVE that you're SWIMMING!! A medium you resist =;->
I'm immersed in being a Texan. It's a bit much, and I like that.

August 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeana Watts

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