Growth and Freedom

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. Viktor Frankl Holocaust Survivor

This space Mr. Frankl speaks of is everything. It’s where we choose to fuel or break a habit. Habits impact the quality of our lives. How do we create space when stimulus is pounding on the door?

For years I opened the door and let stimulus run amuck. Amuck looked like overeating, over drinking, overspending, all activities to numb discomfort.

I also have mental habitual activities with the goal of comfort: controlling, rushing, and worrying.

We innocently seek comfort because we have a brain wired to survive. Comfort is interpreted as safe to our brains.

After a hard day a brain might suggest a pint of Hagen-Dazs, and the same brain will criticize and belittle you for indulging in the treat.

What is a stimulated gal to do?

I have found that slowing down and being curious are beautiful companions.

I’ve been slowing down throughout the day. I catch myself rushing around as if there is a finish line. There is no finish line. There is only life. The only reason I rush is because I get caught up in my habitual thinking that when I get it all done, I can rest. It is not what to do that tires me, it is the incessant thinking about the things on my to do list. It is my sweet brain attempting to create a mini happily ever after. It would go something like this, Gina worked all day, walked the dog, vacuumed, pulled the weeds, spent one hour of quality time with her husband, then she lived happily ever after …. until tomorrow.

Slowing down gives me space to see the bigger picture. To just do what I want to do without getting caught up in my brain’s narration of it and what it means about me. I can clean the house because I like a clean house. Full stop. The brain doesn’t really get periods. It likes run-on sentences. Slowing down means I understand that brains like to chat, and I can go about my business without trying to quiet it.

In this slowing down, there is space to become curious. Curiosity is kind and friendly.

Does the house have to be perfect? Can it be perfect? Why would I want it to be perfect? Do I want it to be perfect, or is that my brain’s seeking comfort….again? Brain: perfect house…perfect person, safe person. Brains are clever but they are not wise.

When I was willing to slow down and be curious about my experience, I began to hear my innate wisdom. It said, “slow down sweetheart, don’t miss your precious life by rushing through it.” I began to see the reason I sought numbness at the end of the day is because I misunderstood my brain’s constant pushing and seeking as truth. I saw that I innocently thought my brain’s output was factual instead incredibly biased. There was a lot of fake news going on. With these insights, I began to experience the growth and freedom that I longed for.

Slow down. Get curious. See what your wisdom has to say.

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