I dropped my daughter off at preschool last week and decided to do a few errands. Driving into town early that morning, I decided to take a different route than usual to avoid the morning commuter traffic on the highway. I remember making the decision to do this, and then I appeared to not be aware of anything after that until I had just about reached my destination. I was required to stop for a red light. I was startled to realize I had driven that far. I was also thankful I had be “conscious” enough to stop at the red light.
I’ve done this before, but only for moments at a time. This situation scared me a bit. Apparently, it is actually a phenomenon…unconscious driving. It was then I realized the poetic justice of this happening. I wondered what else I had been doing unconsciously…
Many things now that I have had some time to ruminate on it. In fact, over the last several months, I have realized that I have been living my life rather unconsciously. That is not to say I’ve been asleep at the wheel of life, but I have been floundering around in a level of awareness that is rather superficial…and getting really old. Ironically, one of the assessments I do on a frequent basis for my job as a neuro nurse are “level of consciousness” evaluations (we usually ask the client’s name, whereabouts, date, etc.). The time came a few months ago for me check myself out. The only thing I was sure about was my name and the date. Where I was and where I was heading were looking pretty fuzzy.
It’s true when they say that people will take action only when they are ready. They will hear when they are at a point of having the ability to accept what is being said-regardless of the outcome. They will understand when they realize that all we really have is “now”…this very moment. We don’t have 5 minutes from now, nor do we have 3 years ago. My “a-ha” moment came a few weeks ago, but I had a lot of priming to get me there. The priming helped to peel away the layers so that when the moment came, the purest part of me was ready to be receptive to the message and go forward (I would use the onion reference, but they’re just so smelly).
So here’s what I’ve learned that has shifted my thinking. Finally, after 35 years, it has shifted and I am so thankful that it did not take me 70 years to get it:
-we are human beings…not human doings (don’t define yourself by your job, your marital status, your body type. You may not know how to define yourself yet, but it will come. Don’t put external labels on it)
-if you don’t tell the truth about yourself, other people may tell it for you. You may mistake this for criticism.
-understand WHY you do what you do. Every choice is rooted in something (the big choices…not how you take your coffee).
-things will NEVER go the way they are supposed to (**had/having a hard time with this one-not good for us control freaks of the world)
-it is NEVER in what you lost…it is ALWAYS in what you have
-you are not your story (your story is a series of events that have happened or are happening…they are not who you are but only things that are taking place. How you respond is who you are)
And there is much more where that came from, but that’s the framework in a nutshell (or a chickpea, I should say). As I was writing this blog, I decided to make some hummus (from scratch…how “organic” of me…I know). But I digress. I decided to be a thorough chef and soak my chickpeas overnight (as they recommend-you can use canned or just boil them straight away, but the soaking was emphasized so I wanted to carry through with it). After 15 hours of soaking (they recommend about 8-12) and 2.5 hours of boiling/simmering, those darn little chickpeas were still tough. My immersion blender managed to mix them, but the hummus leaves A LOT to be desired in the way of consistency. My point? I am not unlike the chickpea. Not soaking, nor boiling or the application of a stainless steel appliance could get those little suckers to mash-they just weren’t ready. I didn’t get “it” until I was ready. You won’t either. If you already have “it” you are miles and miles ahead of the rest of us. You are living consciously.