Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Amygdala Hijacking (oh noooo!)

I am a relatively busy person--and like many busy people, I keep post-its on my desk and a wall calendar next to my desk to help me remember the things I need to do. It always seems like a good idea to write things on post-its. If I'm on the phone and need to remember a phone number, name, and date, then it's much faster to reach for a post-it than scramble through my book bag for my homework planner that I don't look at very often anyway. For the big important things--like a meeting or a deadline--I make sure to write them down a few times, like on a post-it, my calendar, my homework planner, and sometimes my hand. And still I manage to forget a lot of important things. Why is this??

I'm sure a lot of it has to do with my fear of taking responsibility for my life, being fully present, awake, and engaged, and of being seen and heard. On the one hand, I often want to be seen and heard, but on the other, the more I am seen the more opportunities I have to make a mistake that someone will notice. My unconscious mind tries to convince me that if I hide in the "background" and don't step up to actively paricipate in things I'm asked or have committed to do, then no one will notice and I can slip away "safely."

What my conscious mind is slowly realizing is that people notice me when I'm not there. I am seen and heard even when I'm not around to be seen and heard--what I mean is, my lack of presence still has an impact on others, especially those who I have broken a commitment to.

My lack of presence also has an impact on me, no matter how much my unconscious mind tries to tell me that I'm not missing out on anything if I don't show up to the meeting I said I would or to the class I signed up for.

So how can I fight my unconscious mind when I'm already doing "so much" to thwart it (see: post-its and hand notes)? I need to work with it. What's driving my unconscious mind if often fear--of rejection, of failure, of not being recognized, of not mattering, etc. I don't need to fight these fears or pretend they don't exist, because that will just make them pop up and paralyze me when I'm not expecting it. Pretending I don't have feelings doesn't change the fact that they're there. What I need to do is acknowledge the fear (or anger, hurt... whatever it is that is holding me back) and get control of my mind back. Instead of being mentally hijacked by fear, I can name the feeling and decide to go to that meeting anyway. Without acknowledging the emotion, I can't take back my mind and I will continue to operate unconsciously, but if I acknowledge the fear, I will be able to use thaat energy to propel me instead of drag me down.

It's a journey and a constant effort, but getting my conscious mind back from my unconscious for moments here and there is like catching the first small waves in an ocean of opportunities.

Learning lots,

No comments:

Post a Comment