• One of my job duties is to observe and evaluate concurrent High School teachers. One day last week, as I sat in the back of the room waiting for class to start, I began reading the motivational posters the teacher had hung across the room at the top of the white board. Most of the posters boasted familiar clichés, but one really caught my attention. It said, “Take Up All the Room in Your Life.”

    Take up all the room in your life. I couldn’t stop thinking about this idea. I realized how many of us, instead of being fully who and what we came here to be, simply abdicate. We quietly shrink into a corner of our own lives. It’s like owning a great two-story house but only occupying one tiny corner of the smallest bedroom.

    What are some ways we fail to occupy all the space in our lives?

    1. We store other people’s junk in our attic. Have you lived most of your life with other people’s words and thoughts stored in your head? Their description of you? Their prescribed limits on your life? What they think you should or shouldn’t do? Clean out your attic! Your mind is yours alone. You get to decide what gets thrown out and what gets stored there.
    2. We play small. Most of us have dreams and desires, but how many of us actually muster the courage to pursue them? Worrying about what other people will think of us if we happen to fail (and who says we will???) keeps us small in self protection.
    3. We falsely believe that if we take up all the space in our own house, we will be encroaching on others. We live in a large world, with an infinite number of ideas and plenty of opportunities to express. Being the highest expression of ourselves doesn’t limit others; it blesses them. Our expansion paves the way for others to expand. Our freedom models freedom for others, tacitly giving them permission to be their own true self.
    4. We refuse to explore the basement. Every human being experiences fear. Most of us have been afraid of the Boogie Man in the basement at one time or another in our lives. However, ignoring our fears, pretending they aren’t there, sublimating them, refusing to face them, only makes them bigger. More fearful. Even harder to face. When we let fear control us, we shrink from life, from situations that could be for our highest good, but we’ll never know because we are upstairs hiding in the corner of the smallest bedroom.

    Take up all the room in your own life. Move into the biggest bedroom and throw open the curtains. Fill every closet and drawer. Strew your stuff on every flat surface. Kick off your shoes by the back door. Cook a huge meal in the kitchen. Sit and eat at the big dining room table, even if you’re alone. Run in the hallways. Watch whatever you want to on TV. Store your treasures in the attic. Do your laundry in the basement.

    It’s your life. Take up all the room. Live it large.