From Blanket Forts To Living In The Can Zone

“A ship in harbor is safe– but that is not what ships are built for.”  John A. Shedd  *

I loved the idea of making forts as a small kid.  I remember once getting a bunch of chairs, draping blankets over them, weighing the blankets down with books and creating a fort.  Inside the fort, I existed in a small comfortable world that I had constructed. This world seemed cozy because once I was inside it, I was contained and unable to see beyond the soft walls of my fort.   This fort came down when my parents needed the chairs for our next meal and I moved onto other interests.

One of these interests came to be building a cozy comfort zone for myself.  I would gather some experiences like chairs. Then I would drape a grand belief over the top.

Have you ever built such a comfort zone fort?

The grand belief I draped over the top of my comfort zone fort was that I was disabled because I had a speech impediment and some coordination issues.  Based on my grand belief in my disability, I told myself that people wouldn’t understand me; people wouldn’t like me; people wouldn’t want to be my friend; women wouldn’t be interested in me; and that I wouldn’t amount to much.

I realize that the fortress I created sounds more like a painful place than a comfort zone.  But within this reduced world, I was comfortable because I didn’t have to be responsible for rising to my capabilities and living that life.  Other people would ask me to do challenging things and I could basically say, “I would love to but I can’t because I’m disabled.”  My dreams would ask me to do challenging things and I could push them aside with the same old excuse of “I’m disabled.”

Peter McWilliams points out, “To the degree we are not living our dreams, our comfort zone has more control of us, than we have over ourselves.” **

Our comfort zones can become Can’t Zones.

From my perspective, there a multitude of difficulties with Can’t Zone forts.  I’ll talk about two:

First, our Can’t Zone forts limit our view of the world.  When I was hiding in my blanket fort as a kid, did that mean the rest of our living room and dining room didn’t exist?  Of course not!  I just couldn’t see them because I was hiding behind some blankets.

The same goes for our talents and our potential.  Just because we sometimes choose to hide from our talents and potential, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

The second problem with Can’t Zone forts is that they are flimsy like blanket forts.  Think of a blanket fort.  Somebody bumps into a chair or kicks a book aside and the whole thing comes down.

The exciting thing is this problem is also our access to living in the Can Zone.

For example, now I see my speech impediment as one of my greatest gifts because it allows me to connect with and inspire a wonderful variety of people.  The amazing gift of my speech impediment, more over, provides me a richness of life that I would never have been able to experience had I been born speaking normally.  This is me writing from the truth of my Can Zone.

I did not have to drill for years through rock to realize this truth, I simply had to be willing to lift the blanket off the top of my Can’t Zone fort and see my abilities and the world in an entirely new way.

I’m not saying that this was easy.  My Can’t Zone at one time did very strong because it was the only reality I allowed myself to experience.  It was a reality I was addicted to.

My work of healing was realizing over time that my Can’t Zone was not solid like a prison but simply a blanket fort that I could emerge out of when I was ready to live in my Can Zone.

* quote from

** quote from

Game of the Day

Speculate about what beliefs make up your Can’t Zone?

What would your life be like if you emerged from these beliefs to live in your Can Zone?


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