Your mind is not your friend unless you actively train it to be one.
Reprogram or Bust:
Whether we are aware of it or not we spend our life in a state of cognitive deficit. I am not talking about brain damage or learning challenges. Rather, if our brain is a computer this cognitive deficit download is a virus. The virus works likes this - under the noble guise of setting goals, it causes us to put joy on the back burner while we instead focus on the deficits of what remains to be done in a given situation or in our lives or what we have done wrong and is in need of correction.
While we may not see ourselves as deficient, the fact that there is always more to do says otherwise. Whether we are at work, at home with the family, or thinking about our taxes this deficit focussed inner program never rests.
Some argue that this type of thinking is motivational, keeps you on your toes, accomplishing and feeling accomplished. That having goals keeps your eye on the prize. In theory it sounds good - in reality though we can feel overwhelmed by where are not, by how much farther we have to go and by the immediate appearance of new goals the moment (or even before) the old ones are reached. The program is a loop. Without us realizing, it keeps replaying. Can you say Ground Hog Day?
One of the areas most deeply impacted by this deficit programming is our relationship to joy. Joy has become something we put off, delay often indefinitely until our to-do list is done. Many of us never get to the JOY part of our day. We think that goals will bring us joy in spades - joy in what we have accomplished and joy in being finished but in reality goals just bring more goals. Like begets like. Again, that is the program - and to be very clear joy is not part of the program.
While often we will help others notice all they have accomplished we rarely do this for ourselves. For the most part the majority of us remains mired in identifying with what we have not done, what we still have to do and what we have not done well.
One of the areas my kids always tried to drive home to me when they were younger was that I focussed on the undone not the done - and they were RIGHT ON. Is your homework done, is your room clean, did you brush your teeth? Years went by dominated by this dialogue. Joy eluded me. I thought that was parenting.
My parenting was just reflective of the way I treated myself. Joylessly. As a type A I felt it was indulgent and unnecessary to burn daylight acknowledging and feeling good about what I had done. The minute I completed something I was on to the next thing. My ego told me that indulging in my accomplishments was egotistical - you have to love the irony.
OCD, depression, anxiety and panic are not unusual responses to the chronic negative cognitive skew that keeps us swimming in the sea of deficiency, perpetually behind the eight ball, joyless, and feeling out of control and trapped by a mountain of mounting individual and global circumstances. This state of affairs which we call normal reminds me of a movie from yesteryear, ‘I Am Dancing As Fast As I Can’. The implication being that, try as we might, our best is and will never be never good enough. Our programming sets us up to fail.
It is time for some new programming, a new cognitive normal. One where joy is built in not dangled as a carrot on the end of a stick. The path to peace is an easy one. So easy, in fact, that ego will tell you it is too easy to be life changing. As always, ego would be WRONG. Here is what you do….
For Fear: Reprogramming for Dummies
It is time to harness all your OCD, your relentless Type A energy, your overachieving tendencies as well as your perfectionism and funnel it into asking yourself incessantly one powerful question:
What am I doing right (right now)?
Each time you ask yourself this question, you will answer yourself. Simple.
Please note this is not what is right with this situation but what you are doing that is right in this very moment.
When I say to ask this of yourself incessantly, I mean in every moment this is the only thought you are having!!! You are never not asking yourself this question. Capish?
You are in a grocery line - what am I doing right right now? I am getting food for my family. You are paying - What am I doing right? I’m paying. You are walking to the car…. etc…
You are at the doctor and feeling crappy - what am I doing right right now? I am taking care of my body, my health etc..
You are at your in-laws. What am I doing right right now. I am breathing air.
You are fighting with your spouse, boss or kids. What am I doing right right now? I am doing my best in this very moment.
You get the idea. There is no right or wrong answer.
Notice your mood as you begin to ask this with regularity.
Notice how you feel.
Notice what starts to happen around you - how you interact with people and how they respond to you.
Are you smiling more?
Do you feel lighter?
Is your mind calmer?
Do you feel joy?
Teaching this brain reset button to our kids is priceless in a world dominated by focussing on what we did wrong or what we have yet to do.
These benefits continue to compound as our ever plastic brain literally reprograms itself in response to this new input.
I would love to hear your experiences - so keep me posted!!!
*Please excuse my typos. Only ego judges...