Serial Experience Junkie!

DSC_3639/AndreaRoseYup, you can add it to my resume.

I was a Serial Experience Junkie!

For more years than I care to count, I bounced from new experience to new experience. In my case, you could also add job to job, country to country, relationship to relationship.

I loved the challenge and adventure that came with new situations. In a way it was like a reality game. Move to a new country, master a new job, meet new people, figure out how things worked  then when it became routine, head off to a new adventure in a new place.

For several years, my life span in any one location was 2 years. The first year everything was great – a challenge, but by year two I was looking for the next fix.

To begin with, I loved all the new experiences and gained some amazing insights, but slowly I came to realize that if I wasn’t happy in this place what were the chances of me being happy in another place.

Initially, I came up with great excuses: the school had problems, administrator was bad, country had too many issues, it just wasn’t right for me, I could do better. My thinking could come up with the most convincing reasons why I should move.

Finally, I began to pay close attention to the pattern my movements. What was it that triggered me to begin looking for another experience fix? What was missing in this particular place?

The answer was clear ~ nothing. It was me! Or perhaps more exact, it was my thinking about my unhappiness! My thoughts about a place or situation were a reflection of the unhappiness with myself.

Ultimately, I was responsible for my happiness. No place, no external experiences, no amount of new friends or things would bring me happiness, it had to come from me.

This insight changed my life. I slowed down and kept my focus on the here and now rather than casting my thoughts into the future. Each time I wanted to bolt off in a new direction, I would pause and look at where this thought was coming from. Was it an external reaction or did this come from my inner wisdom?

It didn’t take me long to notice the different feeling between a knee jerk reaction and my inner voice or wisdom.  Knowing this difference has changed my life.

My life is much more peaceful, happy and content. When I do take off on a new adventure it comes from a deep desire and not a means of escape.

Can you relate to this?  Are you constantly on the move looking for new experiences and wondering why you can’t find them?  It could be that your thinking is keeping you distracted from the inner source of this discontentment.  Are you ready to make the  shift from an outer focus to an inner one?

A good place to start is with my ebook: Finding Innate Joy or No More Chasing Butterflies. 

A Hole in the Sidewalk.

Life is like a hole in the sidewalk, this metaphor running through Portia Nelson’s poem simply describes how our thinking keeps us trapped in repeated patterns/habits.

This poem could be my autobiography. I would find myself in a situation, blame everyone but myself. Play all kinds of mind games. Finally, my awareness would expand to the point where I could see the hole ahead and choose another path.

This poem represents the 3 Principles in action.

How does it speak to you?

An Autobiography in Five Chapters 
by Portia Nelson

Chapter 1

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in. I am lost….I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the side walk.
I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I fall in….it’s a habit…but my eyes are open.
I know where I am. It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5

I walk down a different street

Dressing up reality to match your perception!

Have you ever walked into situations with preconceived idea of what it should be like?

Perhaps you went on that dream vacation only to discover it didn’t live up to your dream image. Maybe you’ve had a difficult time with a certain type of person. Then every time you came upon that type person, you instantly knew what you were going to face. Or you encountered a particularly trying time at work and now you are constantly on the look-out for it to rear up again.

I too had a long list of like/don’t like, acceptable/unacceptable, not my type or here we go again. Until, I discovered that each one of these labels was restricting my experiences.

I was letting past experiences, personal biases and outdated beliefs rule my thoughts, as a result they were blocking me from enjoying or gaining from each new situation. These preconceived thoughts kept me in a vicious emotional trap.

It was very difficult to enjoy someone or something if you are always on the look-out for what could go wrong, get screwed-up or live up to your expectations.

In reality you can change this pattern by understanding that you are just living your thoughts.

Yes, that is right! All those justifications, opinions and adjectives are just thoughts. They have nothing to do with the person, thing or event.

Let’s take a person for example, a person is a body. It only becomes more than a body when we dress it up with our thoughts. Confused?

That person only acquires a personality or identity when we give them one. They become a mother, father, brother, daughter, friend or enemy when we think of the word form. Next, we add qualities kind, helpful, self-centred, difficult or generous. None of these identities or qualities are real, they are only thoughts. The only apparent reality is, they are a body.

We see a person our thoughts begin to create and before we know our enemy is before us! The person maybe before us but the enemy is only a thought. It is only our thinking and our perceptions that create the attributes.

We are human beings who believe it’s the world around us causing us so much pain when in actuality it’s our thoughts about situations,events and people that cause our pain.

Understanding that I was causing my own pain was big “AH” moment! I started to watch my thoughts. I didn’t try to change them, fix or adjust them!

Please don’t try or you will end up in another vicious thought cycle leading no where.

All you have to do is notice them for what they are – thoughts. By themselves they have no power. They only gain power when we give them power when we encourage them. Left alone they just fade way.

Look at something or someone in the next few days and notice your thoughts around them. Pay attention to what happens when you stop thinking about them.