Losing Your Mind? That's Great News!!!
Updated: May 11
"See, the human mind is kind of like... a pinata. When it breaks open, there's a lot of surprises inside. Once you get the pinata perspective, you see that losing your mind can be a peak experience" (Jane Wagner).
So many of us go through large parts of our lives running on our original programming. We all absorb certain operating systems from our families, schools, religious institutions, media and marketing that cue us how to be and function in ways that will help us 'fit in' and 'succeed.'
In my childhood home, for example, there was a right way to fold towels, a certain day of the week designated for cleaning, a daily requirement for bed-making, and a strong religious focus that informed a lot of what I came to consider the 'good people' rules.
When I got married, it was like someone took a swing at my head (metaphorically speaking). My husband did not know the towel rules! He did not understand the sanctity of vacuuming on Saturday mornings, or scrubbing the toilet bowls by hand instead of with a brush. He did not seem to understand the importance of 'a place for everything and everything in its place.' WHAT?! HOW CAN THIS BE?!
The transition into marriage was one of the early cracks of light into awareness of my programming. Of course, coming to see the world un-blinded is a process, so...
I spent the first years of marriage trying to get him trained in... which, as you might imagine, did not go well. It turned out his training became my own. ;)
The journey of personal growth came with large doses of humility as I discovered both as a human and as a future therapist that we learn as much or more from the 'what not to do' lessons in life as from the 'what to do' teachings.
I discovered that we find the beginning of true freedom when our world reaches expansions that cause cracks in the effectiveness of old programming.
Over the course of the next decade, I kept catching glimpses... sometimes little glimmers, sometimes flashes of light, and eventually the final blast that blew my mind wide open (though, in my experience, the final blast was really more of 'the straw that broke the camel's back').
The glimpses and flashes came in simple forms cued up by anxiety and the irritation of things not working:
Oh, I am still making my bed because I am afraid I will get in trouble if I don't.
Ahhhh, we don't have to follow my parents' housekeeping rules anymore.
OOOHHH! There is not a right way to fold a towel. Wow! (Although the video below suggests otherwise :).
And then there were the bigger things...
Why did some of my 'good people' behaviors feel so empty? Why was doing more of them not creating the fulfillment I was promised? What was going to happen if I let go of what I knew to become what I might be? Would my people understand and support me?
It was not pretty. It was painful. Confusing. And amazingly complicated at different phases along the way.
No Road Map.
I was exchanging my system of navigation from one of following the road map I had been given toward one of accessing my internal compass, and following the deeper knowing that existed within me.
I was learning to pay greater attention to my thoughts, feelings, needs, intuition, desires, and dreams. I was discovering ways I had betrayed myself into becoming what I thought I needed to be to be a 'good person,' and began feeling authentic sparks of life re-ignite.
No one tells you that in order to follow the deepest, truest parts of yourself, you will likely have to risk everything. The things that matter most to you, you will have to release.
A lovely example of this experience is the character, Moana.
Moana is a young, island girl, set to become the next chief. Moana's programming is relayed in the words of the song, Where You Are. She is told to follow tradition, that everything she needs is right where she is, that she is meant to be the next chief, and that 'no one leaves [the island].'
Moana's heart, however, seems to have other ideas. She feels pulled to sea.. and the only one that notices is her grandmother. Her grandmother tells her,
You are your father's daughter Stubbornness and pride Mind what he says but remember You may hear a voice inside And if the voice starts to whisper To follow the farthest star Moana, that voice inside is Who you are
Moana sings about her inner conflict and effort to reconcile the outer and inner worlds in the song, How Far I'll Go.
I know, everybody on this island seems so happy on this island Everything is by design I know, everybody has a role on this island So maybe I can roll with mine I can lead with pride, I can make us strong I'll be satisfied if I play along But the voice inside sings a different song What is wrong with me?
Moana is pulled between the expectations of her social programming, and the inspired, quiet knowing that rests within her. Though she continually entertains the voice of inspiration, she also blames herself for not being able to just settle into compliance with what she knew it would take to please others.
Finding Courage to Follow the Voice of Inspiration
It is often when we step into listening to the quiet voice inside of us that keeps nudging us toward the something that feels forbidden, the something that might cause disapproval or get us kicked out of our existing tribe that we find our truest self: the gifts, skills, passions, and visions that cast a light for others through us in our one-of-a-kind position in the world.
Consider what the voice within you is saying... what is it asking of you? What does it mean in your current season, space, and position in your life to take steps away from programming and into full living? Full living is not always easy, but it is more than the existing that we often reside in when we allow ourselves to settle into complying with a life run by programming.
Of course, this will look incredibly different for each of us. What we are 'fighting' for, or how we are 'fighting' will take on many unique shapes, sizes, and stories. Each path must be unique so that we can contribute a something special back to the whole of our human tribe.
Please, take a chance! Do you! Do you for us!
Fight Song Rachel Platten
Like a small boat On the ocean Sending big waves Into motion Like how a single word Can make a heart open I might only have one match But I can make an explosion And all those things I didn't say Wrecking balls inside my brain I will scream them loud tonight Can you hear my voice this time? This is my fight song Take back my life song Prove I'm alright song My power's turned on Starting right now I'll be strong I'll play my fight song And I don't really care if nobody else believes 'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me Losing friends and I'm chasing sleep Everybody's worried about me In too deep Say I'm in too deep (in too deep) And it's been two years I miss my home But there's a fire burning in my bones Still believe Yeah, I still believe And all those things I didn't say Wrecking balls inside my brain I will scream them loud tonight Can you hear my voice this time? This is my fight song Take back my life song Prove I'm alright song My power's turned on Starting right now I'll be strong I'll play my fight song And I don't really care if nobody else believes 'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me A lot of fight left in me Like a small boat On the ocean Sending big waves Into motion Like how a single word Can make a heart open I might only have one match But I can make an explosion This is my fight song Take back my life song Prove I'm alright song My power's turned on Starting right now I'll be strong (I'll be strong) I'll play my fight song And I don't really care if nobody else believes 'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me Know I've still got a lot of fight left in me Source: LyricFind Songwriters: Dave Bassett / Rachel Platten Fight Song lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC