All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.
- William Shakespeare
I've heard the above Shakespeare quote many times throughout my life.
Each time I come across it, it has new meaning for me. Lately, I have begun to consider it in relation to the roles I play for other people.
Many times the thing that keeps us from feeling we can change (or that we have changed) is that other people have an idea of the role we should play. They see us in a certain role in relation to them, and for various reasons, they want us to circle round and round in that role forever.
One of my favorite visualizing exercises is to imagine my life really is a play.
What would it mean if you suddenly realized you're actually an actor in a grand theatrical play? Would you keep playing the role you play? Or would you say HELL NO and demand a new role be rewritten? Or better still, maybe you're simply going to stop playing any role at all and awaken to a new experience.
As a fun way to change your perceptions, try to imagine what role you play in this world. Then try to imagine that you suddenly become a self-aware actor, and everyone around you is confused and trying to get you to "stick to your lines."
Imagine what you would say if you cast off this role completely and walked off the stage to something entirely new. What's outside of the stage you're playing on right now?
p.s. How amazing is the bookstore in the photo above? It's in Buenos Aires and called El Ateneo Grand Splendid.