As I was driving home from work today I remembered that I wanted to try a new route…a new road had recently opened that had potential to cut some time off my commute – or at least lessen the headache of some traffic. But normally when I am headed home, my brain goes into autopilot and I completely forget about my intention. Today, I remembered! And a thought struck me…this is just so like my life.
My brain goes into autopilot and I miss everything around me. I get stuck running around in the same paths … paths that at one point may have served me well, but could now be holding me back from progress or may be completely destructive, and I am blind to it. When I’m in autopilot, I don’t even notice that a new path is available, much less remember to take it.
So how do I notice the new path and remember to take it?
This past year I have learned so much about the importance of being in the now … being present with what I am doing right now. Not thinking about what is going to happen in the next day or next hour … not thinking about what happened yesterday …. but what am I feeling now? What am I thinking now? What am I doing now?
This practice started with eating (and it takes practice!!). I discovered that I was rushing through meals, stuffed but unsatisfied. How can this be? I was challenged by some health coaching that I was receiving to begin to slow down while I was eating. Become aware of taste, texture, smells, flavors … breathe deeply … turn off all distractions (no tv, music, mobile devices, books) … be present and eat slowly. My, my what a challenge. And at first, I didn’t do too well. At first, I would reach the end of the meal and realize that I was supposed to be slowing down. But the more I kept it at the forefront of my mind, the quicker I was able to intercept that old routine and begin to do something different. At one point, I was halfway through before I remembered that I was supposed to be slowing down … and then it was after a few bites…and now, I take 3 deep breaths before I start and try to put my fork down between each bite. I’ve even started checking in with my body when my plate is half full … am I still hungry? Of course I’m not perfect, but I have made so much progress here. And I’m enjoying my food. Experiencing every texture, smell and flavor. I like that I don’t miss out on such a great gift.
And now I’m working on a more internal path. Learning to love who I am … who God created me to be. I am, after all, a child of God … a beloved daughter of the King – which, by the way makes me a princess. I am created in the image of God. But is that how I have viewed myself? Not even close.
When I look in the mirror, I see pain and ugliness. I see a broken, alone, rejected, fearful and hurting little girl. My past pain has clouded my view – distorted the image of God. I can hardly stand to look.
Am I still this hurting, alone, broken little girl? Not by any means. I have worked through so much of this pain with God in counseling and in Celebrate Recovery. I have forgiven those who hurt me. I enjoy life and love where I am in life right now. I think what has happened is that these little programs keep going off in my head – they haven’t been quite interrupted enough yet. My brain is in autopilot when it comes to how I see myself. Others see my progress, but I’m blind to it. I still hear the messages … the lies. So I have to be intentional to interrupt the lies and replace them with truth.
Yes. I have many thoughts on how to proceed with this. It will start with conversations with myself as I look at my reflection in the mirror. It’s time to be intentional and interrupt the autopilot pushing the buttons on the negative tape players in my head. I will also identify those lies and squelch them with truth — record new messages….true messages. I foresee a few more blog posts on this topic … :)
By the way, the new route home was perfect .. shaved a few minutes off of my time AND a lot less traffic! Score!
~Digging even deeper …