Fresh Air Intake

September 25, 2005 at 4:12 pm Leave a comment

“The true journey of discovery does not consist in searching for new territories, but in having new eyes.”

— Marcel Proust

Along side the driveway outside of the cafeteria at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, where I periodically teach a one-day stress reduction retreat, there is a sign that reads:

FRESH AIR INTAKE

No Parking or Idling Engines in This Area

Each time I see this sign it is a helpful reminder of how easily I get caught in and recycle my thoughts and behaviors, and how this keeps me stuck: parked or idling. Most of us have patterns of thoughts and behaviors that cycle through our minds over and over, much like tapes that we replay once they get triggered. Although this is a common human condition, it leaves us little chance for new responses and, more often, we find ourselves reacting automatically out of these conditioned thoughts and behaviors. At times, our automatic reacting causes us a great deal of stress or suffering, even if we are not aware of it at the time. More effective responses may arise if we can free ourselves from these automatic thoughts and patterns to see new options.

Just as most cars have a button on the dashboard which allows the driver to manage whether the air in the car is “fresh” (coming into the car from outside) or recycled (reprocessing the air already inside the car), each of us, too, can learn to chose whether we allow ourselves to take in new information, experiencing each situation with a “beginner’s mind” (seeing it as if for the very first time), or whether we merely react to each situation based on our preexisting thoughts, out of what we already think we know about the situation.

  • In what way(s) might you be recycling old thoughts and behaviors as you react to situations/challenges in your life?
  • Can you shift to a “fresh air intake,” allowing yourself to see these situations/challenges from a new perspective – to perceive new options for your response?
Advertisements

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , .

Impermanence and Equanimity Identify Intentions Before Setting Goals

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Author

Julie Forbes, Ph.D. photo
Julie Forbes, Ph.D.

STRESS MANAGEMENT
Consulting * Training * Coaching
Serving: Corporations * Groups * Individuals
Bookmark and Share

RSS Subscribe

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

Fan My FACEBOOK Page

© Julie Forbes, Ph.D. and Minding Your Stress, 2013.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julie Forbes, Ph.D. and Minding Your Stress with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

%d bloggers like this: