the MIRREN LEE

The 2012 Act Three Journey of an Actress/Coach/Writer.

Day 40 New Paths

Posted by themirrenlee on 09/02/2012

Do you want any future paths to be different from past ones?

New Paths.

That’s what we need to go down when we find ourselves in patterns that aren’t healthy for us, be they physical, mental or emotional. For instance, how often have you heard someone (or yourself!) ask why they seem to always fall for the same type of person, who then ends up hurting them in the same old way?

We find lots of the same old wrong paths taken in relationships – usually due to what became comfortable to you while growing up. You might get lucky (or good counseling!), and take the opposite path to the unhealthy one you observed and learned subconsciously to imitate, but usually you follow the same path because it feels “normal”.

Changing to a new path in any area of our lives can be not only very difficult, but often traumatic as well, if the old path has felt comfortable for as long as you can remember.

This also applies to those of you who suffer chronic health conditions. You might find yourself in a rut with a doctor, a medication or a habit that you’ve gotten into. I’ve had to kiss many “frog doctors” before I found “royal ones”, who gave me the care I really needed. It’s so hard to start over with someone new, having to repeat the usually incredibly complicated health history you’ve lived through, but it is of vital importance if you want to make more progress than you feel you are.

Remember the saying from Anthony Robbins I quoted in another post: “Are you making measurable progress in reasonable time?”. Or are you stuck in the middle of a path going nowhere? Or, even worse, going down the same path over and over, driving yourself crazy. (Definition of “crazy”: doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.)

Habits are stubborn little buggers to get rid of. When you do something repeatedly, a neural pathway opens up in your brain, like a cleared runway in the middle of a field, where the habit sets up camp very comfortably. If you stop encouraging it (i.e., doing whatever it is) for long enough, the runway will get overgrown again, and the habit will have nowhere to exist. Ah, but it’s a lot harder to actually do than to talk about!

Your habits could be simple ones, from addiction types such as smoking, or complicated emotional ones where you’ve become “comfortable” with people discounting you or treating you badly.

One of my habits is to feel enormous guilt over my health issues, which of course is kind of an illogical addition to fighting a chronic illness like Fibromyalgia. This habit comes from being the main caregiver to my six siblings while growing up, when I wasn’t “allowed” to get sick. The runway started to make way for the habit again this week because I’ve had to break a couple of appointments due to some side effects from the anti inflammatory drug I was taking.

I always feel great stress if I have to break an appointment, even though logically I know that if I can’t help it then that’s the way it is. This particular habit is still stronger than the logic, though. I continue to work on the Guilt Button, in general. Unfortunately, it’s a very, very large Button – it was fed and nurtured for years – and sometimes I feel like I need The Incredible Hulk to smash it!

My first counselor gave me the following “advice” to hang on my wall, which I have done. I repeat it frequently to help with keeping the Guilt Runway clear, and maybe it will help you, too.

AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN FIVE SHORT CHAPTERS         (by Portia Nelson)

CHAPTER ONE

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in.

I am lost … I am helpless

It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

CHAPTER TWO

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in the same place.

But, it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

CHAPTER THREE

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in … it’s a habit

My eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

CHAPTER FOUR

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

CHAPTER FIVE

I walk down another street.

I hope you’ll read it a few times, and really take it on board if you find you’re walking on streets that you need to avoid. I don’t know who Portia Nelson is, but she seems quite wise about paths taken.

Please note, however, that the most important element that’s part of changing the streets you walk down, the paths you take, is personal responsibility. I know some people don’t want to hear that phrase, but it really is up to you to make the decisions, and follow through with the actions needed, to change your habits. Habits that put you in the middle of streets you don’t want to be on. No one can do it for you. So the next time you find you’re asking yourself, “How in hell did I get on this path again?”, don’t be discouraged. Just keep looking for better streets to walk down.

I’m just avoidin’ Guilt Street …

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