The news about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as of late has it so I can’t open up a major website or email without seeing something about the coronavirus. Some folks are preparing big time, others doing basic things like stocking extra water, rice, beans, and hand sanitizer in their home.
Yesterday I came across an ad for a G.O.O.D. bag, otherwise known as a get-out-of-dodge bag. It’s mostly a portable kit that contains the items one would require to survive for 72-hours when escaping from a disaster.
It typically comes in a backpack and is made so that you can grab it and run should you need to escape the area.
I realized we experience something similar thing with our thoughts.
We all have a get-out-of-dodge thought that shows up when things get tough, uncomfortable, or unpleasant and we need to escape. This thought drives action to take us away from our current state.
My G.O.O.D. thought has always been: “I’m outta here.”
From leaving my parent’s home at 19 to my divorce at 27, that thought helped me take action in my life at crucial times.
It was a gift.
Until it wasn’t.
Allow me to explain. I have been in the most incredible relationship since 2015. The longer I’m with my husband, the more my gratitude deepens for him and what we’ve worked to create in our relationship.
But it wasn’t always this way. There was a time when at least twice a week, he’d say or do something that triggered my “I’m outta here” thought. Some days the thinking would snowball; other times, not so much, but each time there was always a lot of thinking.
I intellectually knew I was with an incredible man; however, I couldn’t reconcile why I reacted this way time after time. Then one day, as I sat there catastrophizing and making meaning out the latest thing he’d said – it hit me.
What if I sat with my discomfort? What if I chose to feel uncomfortable and not race away from it the way I knew best? After all, I’ve never heard of someone dying from discomfort (unpleasant as it may be).
I tried it a few times, and my experience shifted. Significantly.
One day a while later, I had another thought: what if I didn’t think that thought? Could it be that simple?
At that moment, I was free.
Freedom from the thought didn’t mean it wouldn’t ever show up again; it meant I was no longer chained to it.
So when it shows up, I know I can choose to allow the thought to float on by like the feather on Forrest Gump, observing it without engaging with it.
The delta between ‘freedom from’ and ‘freedom to’ can make all the difference in our life.