As you continue to drift at sea, your mind wanders to things long since past.
You contemplate the life you once had, the dreams you wanted to pursue. As
you do, your soul aches within you. Sadness overtakes you as tears well up in your eyes.
It seems your present and future have been shattered.
The world has been turned upside down. It as though a large pit has opened
beneath you and swallowed you whole, leaving no way of escape.
You stare blankly across the sea, a stream of tears pouring down your face.
A glimmer of sunlight dances atop the waves.
You begin to think to yourself, “My life is over…”
“What hope is there for me amidst this vast sea of the unknown?”
When tragedy strikes, no matter its form, there is a sense of being lost in a fog. The world we once knew appears to have been burned to ash and blown away by the winds of life. This thick fog consumes your vision, causing you to lose sight of the things that matter. It sidelines you from living life.
It does not have to.
Being benched is a choice. We voluntarily throw ourselves into a pit of despair, thinking it is our only option.
This is only natural.
Sadness, like all emotional elements, is disabling, but only if we allow it to be. When left unchecked, it devastates our lives, from distancing us from our loved ones to shutting us completely out of life.
So, how can we change this?
Imagine for a moment you had a horse named Horace. Horace has spent all his life in a corral, constantly going around and around in circles every day and enjoying it. One day, you decide to take Horace for a ride. You open up the corral and venture on to the land beyond. You traverse the golden fields of grain and climb up a small nearby mountain. When you reach the top, you climb off Horace and stare off into the distance, entranced by the beauty of it all. After a moment of pure enjoyment, you turn to get back on Horace, only to find he has disappeared. You search everywhere for the silly creature, but find no sign of him. The day slowly comes to a close and you still have not found Horace. Saddened, you return to home. To your surprise, Horace is there in the corral, going around in circles again.
Horace is a perfect example of our brain.
It loves patterns!
Our brain is constantly locking in patterns and routines that we do not even realize. For instance, when I tell you to think about something that is red, what comes to mind? For some, they may say a stop light: for others, it may be an apple. Whatever the case, when your brain hears the word “red”, it immediately sifts through its mental folders for the file listed as “RED”.
Amazingly, your brain has done the exact same thing when it comes to sadness or any other emotional element. When you think about your unexpected odyssey, your brain, like Horace the horse, wants to go back to those pathways that lead to sadness.
This is where you come in.
You have the ability to step into the middle of this process, take the reins, and tell Horace, “You know what? I think we’ve been down this path long enough. Let’s be adventurous today! Let’s find a new path.”
Instead of following the path to sadness, venture out of your normal environment. Enjoy the fresh air, see friends, explore something new! Whatever will get your mind out of the pit and help you build up the flourishing side of your brain, do it!
This is a tool that is not a “one and done” type deal. Horace can be a stubborn mule, and he needs someone just as stubborn to lead him down the right path. It takes time and practice, but, in the end, you will be all the better for it.