Life in the Past Lane

Do you ever feel as if your life is repeating a series of past events, akin to looking out your driver’s side window and constantly seeing the same scenery? Are you opting to be a creature of habit, largely living in your reptilian brain, or are you choosing to see new sights and open to new thoughts that are always at hand, waiting to be accessed?

(c) Carl Studna
(c) Carl Studna

Years ago, I was having an in-depth conversation with my seventy-six (at the time) year old father asking him detailed questions about his relationship with his father while growing up. As my dad began to recount various memories, he gradually grew more and more emotional, like a pressure cooker reaching its boiling point. His face grew red and his muscles tightened as he began to yell out all of the reasons he felt his father had been a coward in deciding to take his own life and abandon his family. He insisted he could never forgive his father for the choices he had made. When I suggested the idea of seeing a therapist, he gawked and yelled insistently, “I know everything that happened and there’s nothing a therapist can tell me that I don’t already know!”

How often do we fight for our limitations?  In this case, thinking that if the intellect can’t solve a problem, there’s nothing more that can be done. Often, it’s necessary to step outside of our comfort zone in order to discover a new thought or an emotion that’s been too painful to address. Whenever we choose to explore these uncharted territories, a greater sense of freedom is available as we heal the wounds that have kept us bound through an illusion of safety.

Take this week as an opportunity to pay greater attention every time that you choose a conditioned thought or take an action simply out of familiarity. Step out of your comfort zone and be an explorer throughout each day’s set of experiences. When we view our life as a grand adventure, we see and think anew. You might feel a bit scared, but rest assured that on the other side of the fear lies a rich meadow of freedom. Forge your new path today and you’ll never again find yourself driving in the past lane.

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