Updated: Nov 23, 2020
There’s a lot you can discover about life by simply paying attention to yourself.
One of my most profound and life changing moments was hidden in an experience I know you too have had.
My moment occurred at about 6:30am. I was literally waking up. Orange sunshine was piercing my closed eyelids. Chirping birds were pulling me from eight hours of slumber. There was a satisfied smile tucked into the corners of my mouth. You might say I woke up happy. I felt alive, hopeful, ready for the day. I remember thinking these very thoughts as I swung my feet to the left and placed them on the cold early morning floor.
But somewhere between that moment and standing at the sink brushing my teeth I made a left turn. My happiness had receded - pushed to the background by a random memory. With no seeming provocation, I drifted to the memory of an argument I had years prior. It appeared that I had traded the start of a great day for an old over-hashed memory. But upon a closer look, this morning proved to be exceptional.
For the first time in my life I saw myself actually make this unprovoked left turn. I caught sight of being happy and then following that happiness to this virtual fight and dead end. Seeing this made me curious. How often, when I am happy, do I make this left turn and travel back to some old fight or disquiet? Where does this habit come from? I vowed to observe myself and catch this habit in action. Then I began to play a new game with myself. I call it “Turn Right.” When my mind takes that left into old aimless worry, doubt or fight, I remember that I have the inner power to refocus and “turn right.” Turn towards my dreams and happiness. Think about what I want for my day or my life.
Next time you are “mindlessly” taking a shower, washing dishes or driving, play this game with yourself. Become aware of where your mind has gone. Ask yourself: What are you thinking? Are you grinding old thoughts, or contemplating your life in new rewarding productive ways?
Now, of course, if your left turn places you in front of a legitimate concern, that’s a different story and blog. Legitimate issues require conscious consideration. For now, play with seeing the wild random way your mind works in general. Catch sight of your mental habits. You will be amazed at your ability to take your power back from your unconscious habits, and no longer be their puppet on a string.
To explore this idea further, check out Question Two – Are You Living Life Thinking Something’s Wrong and Against You – in The Little Book of Big Lies.