Red Light Revelation
It’s those times you realize you’re totally undeniably programmed … like a goddamn robot.
So, last week I’m driving to work, my dog, Little Dude, buckled in as my co-pilot and I’m stopped at the red light right by my building. Like I can literally see the building and the front parking lot, and for some odd reason it’s pretty empty. There’s plenty of parking. There are two ways to enter the lot at work, an easy (regular people) front way that I’m looking at in the moment, and a back entrance that you have to drive down a side street to enter, making an illegal left hand turn over double yellow lines, and then navigating through the slurry of random trucks in the back lot. Anyway, I’m about to make my routine right-hand turn to go into the chaos of the back lot when I think: Why am I doing this!? Why am I on auto-pilot taking the route I just always take even though (it’s more effort and) I can clearly see there are many empty parking spots steps away from my studio door?
Here’s the deal. In 2012 I bought a truck. It was love at first sight when I met my Toyota Tacoma, with her sexy black curves, double cab, and full-sized bed. I had to have her. I named her, The Beast, and she … was … great. She handled all sorts of terrain, hauled huge loads, took me on many a road-trip, and was even with me when my Dad passed. What she was really shitty at was turning. I mean honestly I couldn’t turn into anything. I’d hit the curb in U-turns, had to overturn every driveway, 40-point turns on the daily, and forget about parallel-lined parking lots, it was slanted spots or bust. To compensate I started limiting turns. At first it was conscious (I’m NEVER going to nail this turn … I’ll just do ___ instead). Then it was (obviously) unconscious.
A couple of weeks ago I bought a new 4Runner. I’m not gonna lie, while she’s a tad less lengthy than The Beast, she’s lifted 3 inches taller, has huge tires, and turns every dude’s head she drives by … she’s not delicate, y'all. So, you can imagine my surprise the first time I swing into a parking space, obviously expecting the same turning radius shenanigans, and almost overturned into the car next to me. I still can’t seem to manage a correct parking job in any spot … overturn after overturn. Same thing goes for driveways. Just this weekend my boyfriend chuckled that I slow down and swing wide to enter a lot, like I “had to” in The Beast, in order to not hit something.
So, I’m sitting at this red light contemplating my programming. I ALWAYS parked in back because those were the spots that were spaced out and wide enough for The Beast to easily get in to. The 4Runner doesn’t have that problem. I can damn near pivot turn in this beauty (comparatively). While I’m no longer physically limited by my vehicle’s capability, I continue to self-limit the ways I drive and the routes I take expecting (and acting in anticipation of) not being able to do things other people “just do.” Like parking in the easy lot. Isn’t that interesting??
Idling at this light I’m in the work mindset so naturally I start to consider all the ways we self-limit our movement expecting and acting in anticipation of things that are no longer true for us. Think of that client (or maybe that client is you) that had an injury, or was casted, or the one with that one chronic pain. Then it’s gone. They worked through that. Strengthened and stretched their way out of it … but the ghost of the pattern is still there. They weight shift to avoid their old truth. They limit range of motion to not go into the memory of pain. Isn’t that interesting?? Even when we “know” we’re physically capable, we still don’t KNOW it. So, we’re stuck practicing these old programs like robots with outdated software.
Anyway, I make the right-hand turn to go into the back lot. Then I pulled into a spot … reversed … and drove right back out of that lot and into the front lot. I’ve been making a conscious effort to enter through the front lot. Not because it’s better, but because it’s different. Sometimes I remember to do the different thing, and sometimes I just find myself unconsciously in the back lot. In my mind it’s not about the way I park the vehicle (both ways are driveways, right), but about creating options for my life and mind … consciously … so that unconsciously I’m not stuck in a program. Because if I’m self-limited by driveways, watching many of us self-limit our movement, I can only imagine my life and relationships are limited by numerous things I’m doing to myself for no other reason than I just don’t realize I don’t have to do THAT. So, I’m starting a life-change, a software update, one parking space at a time. My question to you is, what can you just do differently today, neither better nor right, for the sake of experimenting if that something different is a new way to explore your life more consciously? It might be interesting.
by James Crader