Shifting gears

In the car this morning I was reflecting on a few conversations I've had of late (so that I could put any actions to one side and clear my mind for the weekend) and it reminded me of something I wrote last year. "The past is a Wagon Wheel" - we swear blind that it was bigger in the past.

I'm still comfortable with it as an analogy but I think I missed something in it. While it is true of the good things we reminisce about with fondness, it is also true about the bad things in life.

Those mistakes that are not fatal hang around in our mind for years (or can do, I won't assume absolutes). They cast a long shadow. Sometimes it is little more than shade, sometimes it's a cold, dark, sunless valley. I suspect, like the good things in life, the more they are replayed the bigger they seem. We add colour and intensity and more recent things can seem but pale imitations.

And these things can be like an invisible hand on the tiller, subtly nudging our heading as we go through life. Whether it is echoing the thoughts and mannerisms of parents and mentors or the dark whispering voice of doubt, the impact is there.

When we stop for a minute and look at them with our rational head on, we can start to see them for what they are - a small voice we are amplifying with distance. Through mindfulness and conscious practice we can overturn these things before they sink us.

Awareness helps, but at some point we have to draw a line through the past and use the lessons to effect change and move on. The trouble is we can become so embroiled with these habits and habitual responses that they become woven into our identity and this attempt to change can seem so much bigger than our ability to do anything about it.

Nonsense of course. But breaking habits can be off-puttingly difficult...even once we are aware of them!
Right, I'm off to learn an array of new skills to fundamentally change something I've been doing for many years. Frustration with being a novice will be the enemy. But that's why I wanted to clear my head - I'm going to need the attention control!


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