Do you find it hard to simply allow life to unfold as it does? I do. Here’s why.
The mind is a ridiculous thing. It’s so beautiful and powerful and capable of solving all of the problems of the day, but its trouble is that that is all it knows how to do.
Present it with anything, and it’s off solving the problem, figuring out how to deal with whatever it’s been presented with.
It doesn’t matter if I consciously asked for this. The brain solves and figures out, just like my heart beats and my lungs breathe.
Growing up, one of the things that left me feeling safe was working hard. If things felt tough, I knew I would be rewarded at the end. If things felt like hard work, I wouldn’t be left behind, I wouldn’t fall out of step, and I wouldn’t eventually find myself forever lost behind the pack.
Working hard meant I was loved and that I was succeeding.
Things feeling easy, for any longer than a moment, meant that I was probably falling behind.
Because of all of this my brain goes on overload when things start to simmer down. When things get quiet and peaceful… That’s when my brain goes into overdrive.
Our survival mechanism generally prefers the threat that it can see coming on the horizon. Yah, you have to sit on guard, but at least you know what you’re getting ready to defend against.
Take away all of the “threat”, and my brain (and probably yours) fires up all those neurons and starts trying to determine what there is to be on guard for. It creates false positives out of nothing, and finds things to be busy about simply for the sake of being busy, rather than because that’s what would actually serve me in the moment.
So I practise with it.
I create opportunities for peace, I do my best to empower them, and I try to catch myself when I’m feeling really busy. On the good days when I notice this (they come more often, lately), I ask myself “Is being busy really what I want for myself right now?”
And I do my best to honour the answer.
What are the survival strategies you learned in your youth that no longer necessarily serve you now?