Anne Lamott famously said that her mind is like a bad neighborhood; she tries not to go their alone. Walking through life with a psychiatric service dog means that I never have to be alone into the darker recesses of my own mind; but I do have to learn to make distinctions.
What Anne calls a bad neighborhood I lovingly refer to as my hostage mind, the terrorist within, lizard brain or simply doing mind. You’ll recognize doing mind by it’s propensity to see life through the lens of problems to solve and what ought to be done.
According to Mark Williams, the author of The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing yourself from Chronic Unhappiness, the problem with doing mind is that it focuses on the gap between where we are and where we want to be. It’s focusing on this gap that fuels the nonstop conversation in my head about not being good enough, fuels a sense of overwhelm and oft times leaves me feeling defeated before taking the first step.
Doing mind is externally driven. It can feel like life is about putting out fires. It fuels the busyness in our lives, those times when one feels like a human doing rather than a human being. It’s that out of control feeling when your life is not your own and it feels like the tail wags the dog.
Doing mind is judgmental.
I contend the antidote to doing mind is cultivating a journey mind. Journey mind Journey mind is internally driven, it begins with listening to our internal compass — head, heart, gut … body, mind and spirit — all seek to inform on this very human of journeys.
Intention drives journey mind.
It’s journey mind that says things like Rome wasn’t built in a day and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Journey mind knows that life is not to be measured. Journey mind let’s us stand in the present moment and chart a course toward where we want to be. Journey mind knows that feelings are part and parcel of what it means to be human. They are part of the journey and not problems to be solved.
It’s journey mind that reminds me that my biggest challenge is keeping my heart in the game.
Take care. Doing mind can be a rough, tough and unforgiving neighborhood. Don’t go there alone.