I’m about to admit something that could be potentially embarrassing but I do it gladly for all those who have had similar experiences. And, by the way, I’m not embarrassed – just bemused about the sometimes depth of my mindlessness. Last week I believed I locked myself out of my car, only to realize after AAA showed up and opened the door, that the key was not in fact in the car as I believed. To get to this point, I had to forget a whole raft of things related to the key. That I had put in it my purse. That I took my purse with me when we went to get ice cream. That I put the purse down on the floor while I ate the ice cream (so good!) and by the way, NEVER put your purse on the floor. That I walked away from the table without my purse. And there’s more, but you get the picture.
So what did happen? How could I be so mindless? As I thought over how this had happened, I realized two things. First, I’m allowed to be mindless, but there may be consequences. Second, if there are consequences, the last thing I want to do is perpetuate the same mindlessness that got me into trouble in the first place. As soon as I believed I had locked myself out of the car, I also locked myself out of my mind. Yes, I was clicking along ticking off my various options. Call the police. Nada. Call AAA. Bingo. They were there in a jiff. But if I had just taken Carlos Castaneda’s Don Juan’s advice: “In order to stop the world, you must stop doing,” I would have taken a wholly different path. Instead of feverously trying to fix the problem, all I really needed to do was stop, reconstruct and remember.
I would have done that if I wasn’t so intensely concentrated on making the problem disappear. Of course, I wanted to fix it. There were other people involved. It was at the end of a long (and fun) day, but we still had an hour’s drive home. But I was a little too much in the “I have to fix this NOW” camp rather than “let’s just figure this out.”
I love it that there is so much out there these days about mindfulness. Google mindfulness and you’ll find 28,000,000 entries robust with definitions, workshops, worksheets, seminars, apps, exercises, activities, and techniques. That’s great because we need all the help we can get. I see mothers pushing baby carriages across the street actually looking at their cell phones; people texting and talking while driving; crossing the street without any awareness of traffic (even without a cell phone). In my opinion, we are still light years away from truly being mindful. It’s wonderful that we feel safe within the confines of our own little worlds, but we’re missing so much and we could be losing so much.
If you’re feeling mindless, distracted, or stressed, let us help you learn to use The Option Method to “stop the world” and free your mind.