Taking the brain out of my life’s driver’s seat

develoPhoto by Christopher Carson on Unsplash

Without realising it, my brain has been in overdrive the last few weeks.

I travelled like ‘normal’ for the first time – heading to the UK after work by hopping onto the train on Friday night. I attended The Ultimate Experience, an event around ‘Being’ – choosing who we want to be and being challenged to go further in the way I live my life. People I spoke to were extremely fascinating in different ways, with particularly powerful and humbling stories. Yet it was also incredibly intense, particularly since it was the first large scale event I had been to for the last two years.

I then travelled across to Bristol to see family I had not seen since the pandemic started. Again, this was reconnecting to a whole side of my life that had been left relatively dormant, reconnecting with how other people’s lives had developed, as well as seeing nieces and nephews who had grown up rather quickly!

I then returned back the next day by jumping onto the Eurostar and straight back into work without much of a pause, returning to a flat in need of further furnishing, but somewhat getting there!

The idea of who I am being has been a big cloud over me in the last few weeks, both due to the conference and from the build-up towards it. The idea that we can decide who we want to be in life is both extremely liberating and daunting – I can effectively decide what personality I want to have, and I do not need to be driven by my ego in terms of how I react to situations, nor be defined by my labelled identity.

This is a very different way of framing life – instead I’m looking to focus upon how I act based upon the criteria I set myself, and live upon those every day. With this new framework I’m playing with, I continuously find myself asking questions about what this means in how I live my life. Needless to say, it’s quite a tiring exercise to see most things in my life through a new lens!

Otherwise, moving places is that it shifts your daily routine quite dramatically. Spending so much time in one place in the pandemic to now move to a different one takes a while to adjust. In hindsight, I underestimated how much time and energy it would take to really settle into a new home. Likewise, our modern working way is to jump straight back into gear at 100% as soon as possible with work, and I’ve found myself getting frustrated that I cannot quite hit my peak as of yet whilst I’m still fatigued by COVID.

I think a big part of addressing this situation is to accept a lot is going on in my life. It took a moment of coaching reflection to realise how much stuff I’d been up to in the last few weeks. Whilst I wanted to simply ride off the highs of doing lots of exciting stuff, I did not allow myself to slow down and take in the information. It was no wonder I had quite a few lows over the last week as my energy tank flatlined. So going with the flow of the ups-and-downs means I am no longer judging when I am low on energy. I’m also accepting the temporality of my situation – in other words, my strength will come back soon.

I’ve also been returning to my ways to ‘turn off’. One of my go-to switch off leisure activities is playing on my Playstation, however I noticed I had little motivation to do so. This is usually a warning sign where I am at such an intense phase that I am unwilling to actively start anything. So somewhat paradoxically I had to push myself to actually do something that I enjoyed, rather than doing things which amounted to personal development work.

Another part has been to revisit my basic routines. There’s some way to go with this, but having a better bed-time routine is a start. I’m still using my phone a lot in the evenings, but at least I have moved my charger across the room so it’s not the first thing I look at. That said, I’d like to build a stronger routine in terms of wake up times, relaxing mornings and building in my exercise. Again, I’m not beating myself up here for not having it down right now. It’s normal to not have it all figured out in the midst of lots of changes.

But the biggest fundamental shift I’ve had is reviewing how I am operating within my life. So much about this spiritual shift I’ve had is moving away from rational thought. Yet, I am still relying on my brain to drive my activity and life. In other words, I am returning to the use of my analytical senses to figure out the world around me. This has been extremely tiring as my brain is tiring to work out philosophies that quite literally cannot be explained (for example, the idea that we are connected to ‘everything’). This is a re-occurring state for me, where I’ve historically liked going into my bunker to analyse the world.

So my shift I’m now working on is to not be led by my brain. Instead, I want to allow more space for my wider senses – body and emotion – to guide how I am being. In unity, I see this as my ‘spirit’, i.e. the space that connects my mind, body and emotion, which I would like to lead my life, rather than my mind being the one that is in the drivers seat. In practice, this means not starting situations by analysing them, instead being driven by a wider sense of wisdom that takes information from all three different spaces of the mind, body and emotion at the same time.

This may sound very abstract, but it also reflects the fact that my beliefs have shifted so far in terms of how much I believe in objectivity and reality. I no longer want to always revert to logic when I now believe how much life is subjective and irrational.

This is rather new for me, so let’s see how it goes. But I also wanted to share it with you, as the reader. I know I’m not the only one trying to put too much logical sense into the world, whilst not giving enough space for my emotions and body. So I hope that some of these reflections will help you look at what is driving your life, and whether you are happy with that balance.

I hope you found this week’s article enlightening, as one that was a tad more personal than usual. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and whether you have any comments on what you’ve gotten from reading this.

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