Here is something for you to consider…Get Lost. And what I mean by that will vary person to person, but getting out of your usual routine is very important for not only growth but self discovery in general. Only in the presence of silence can you hear what is going on inside your head.
You need to know what that little voice inside your head is whispering into your ear all day and all night long. This is the driving force behind most of your decisions and actions, but it hides in the shadows all the time. You need to get that voice front and center and see what it has to say about you, and then you need to work on the things that need to change. It doesn’t matter if you go on a walk around the block or on a trek through the Grand Canyon, being outdoors in nature can be a huge help to your psyche in a lot of ways.
One of the things I love about fly fishing is the extended periods of stillness of mind. To quote a fly fishing guide from a video I saw, she states:
“There is always a time when the sound of the rushing water overtakes my internal dialog, and that is the stillness I am seeking”.
I couldn’t agree more, and I have experienced this on nearly every fishing trip I have gone on for a really long time now. I consider it an invaluable tool for clearing my head, getting my subconscious mind to come to the surface, and align these two parts of my brain. Most people, it seems, are deluding themselves with ideas about what they want to and who they want to be, but their subconscious mind does not view them in this light. If the driving force behind most of your actions and decisions doesn’t think you are capable of, or deserving, you are unlikely to get what it is you want.
The most effective way to monitor this, that I have found anyway, is to get into a quiet space and listen to what you are telling yourself. So many people avoid this in all kinds of ways.
Everything from constant activity to music and video games, and then of course more nefarious things like drugs, alcohol, porn and more. Bear in mind that your thoughts and feelings and memories are all taking place INSIDE your brain, which means you cannot outrun them and you cannot drown them out. The better understanding of this operating system you have, the higher chance you have for course-correcting and making better decisions overall. For example, if you struggle with addiction of any kind, you need to not only avoid the triggers that drive that behavior, but also figure out WHY you feel this way. There is a reason why you default to those patterns when things get tough. Or why you run when a relationship seems to be getting serious or you don’t take that job offer that has everything you were looking for. Something in your brain is telling you that you can’t, you shouldn’t. or you don’t deserve it. The question is…why?
We all have a ton of baggage that we walk around with, it is human nature to do so. We are the sum total of our experiences to date, and this is both good and bad. This is how we navigate the world, but in many cases it is through the eyes of a child’s experiences. Far too many of us are still using the operating system that was installed in our brains as a kid. We were learning everything from scratch back then, and a lot went wrong. This is how we learned things: try and do, crash and burn, try again. That’s how life works. When we get injured or emotionally hurt, we take note and try to avoid repeating that same process again. My question for you is, what are you avoiding as an adult because of your childhood operating system? Time to install some new software, free of the viruses of the past. I’ll give you an example from my life on this…
I remember when I was 10 years old I was very close to running across the street in front of a car, and would have been hit for sure if I hadn’t stopped in time. I was with some family members who of course freaked out when this occurred, and to this day I do not like crossing the street for fear of this situation. While it is good that I am cautious because of that experience, and it helps to keep me safer, it is not good that I still have that same experience flash through my head when I am about to cross the street. I am an adult now, I understand the traffic lights and pedestrian signals, and since I’ve been driving a car for nearly forty years, I can better estimate the speed and path a car will take when entering an intersection. But the fear is still there, and it can affect decisions when it comes to walking the dog or taking a stroll. I was aware of the feelings I had when approaching an intersection, but I started digging into why that would be. Once I (re)discovered the origin of that concern, I was able to better manage it and adjust accordingly. Now I have a small amount of concern, a healthier amount, given the price of getting squished by a car, but I do not let it paralyze me into non-action such as avoiding crossing the street or staying home altogether.
I believe that these kind of changes happen most often in a quiet state of mind. The ability to remove all the ambient noise of life and go into nature is a huge plus. You need this, for body, mind and soul; it is an embracing of our roots and what we were designed for in the first place. We were not meant to sit in a cubicle under fluorescent lighting for 8 hours a day, just to fight traffic for an hour to get home. We certainly weren’t designed to do this five days a week and for fifty weeks a year. Our bodies are designed for movement and exertion, and the lives we live today lacking in this lead to so many mental and physical health issues because of it. We are too separated from the past; yes we have a ton of modern conveniences that make life easier for us, but is that really a good thing? For example, lots of people have issues getting a good night’s sleep. I would hazard a guess that almost everyone that has difficulty sleeping is not getting enough exercise during the day. Try chopping a cord of wood and see how well you sleep that night.
In my opinion it is your job to constantly improve and maximize your life. If you want the best life you can have, this is non-negotiable. You need to be looking for ways to trim the bad stuff, enhance the good, and constantly chip away at the load of bricks you’re dragging around behind you. We all have them, and no two bags of bricks are alike. But if you want to live a vibrant, happy life, I believe it starts with getting “lost” so that you can find yourself. You need time spent in nature, in the silence, so you can listen to what the voice in your head is telling you. And yes, you can change what that voice is telling you when you need to, but first you must become aware of the content of that voice’s message and then you can take action to improve your internal software. You cannot change what you are not aware of, so take measures to improve your awareness by getting into quiet spaces and then listening.
Time to start taking an inventory of the messages you are listening to all day and all night long. Learn what your driving behaviors are by listening to the words that you are told by your brain all the time. If your own system is telling you that you never going to be successful, or that no one will ever love you, or that you aren’t strong enough to survive on your own, for the moment, that voice is right. Things will stay that way until you discover the problem and then take action to solve it. Once you become aware of that dragon then can you face it and kill it. We all have those kind of fights to have, and the sooner you can acknowledge this and start sharpening your proverbial sword, the better off you will be. Go kill the dragon…