What are My Feet Doing?

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Day 1

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

Day 2

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

Day 3

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

Day 4

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

Day 5

I walk down another street.

— Portia Nelson

So much of our lives feels akin to playing a giant, cosmic “Groundhog Day” video game. 

Where do you get slayed, flayed or played into making the same fatal mistake – each and every time you put your quarter in, and spin? 

I know that much of my own life is ruled by this strange habit of automaticity and self sabotage – this odd attraction of finding the gaping holes – the weird, wobbly, wonky soft spots on the road -feeling their magnetic pull, and with both feet betraying my better directional intuitions- tripping, slipping and falling in. 

(only to have to dig another quarter out and spin again 🙂

Setting a mindfulness alarm, for me, is like the ultimate superpower. 

It requires that I ask myself – “what are my feet doing?” – and it reminds me, in every moment, I am in control of my character – I know where i’m heading – and I can always choose anew.
 I know many of you reading this are following us for entrepreneurial ideas – and I can think of no better advice – for avoiding the “doom loop” – the dubious distractions – the bright and shiny objects that never are quite as bright or shiny up close – than asking yourself something similar – to stay ever vigilant – and always on course.

To me?  This is the META rule that rules all other rules. 

But ultimately – it’s really about paying full attention to the character of our lives.

What are my feet doing? 
What is my heart doing? 

Am I awake and in control?

Or am I just sleep walking through busy, hazy days that will invariably conspire to lead me, and bury me back in the bottom of the same ditch I tripped, slipped and fell in last week?

The bane of the doom loop – the thing that makes it so depressing and frustrating and aggravating, paradoxically, is also it’s liberating virtue.  

 You always get to choose anew.

 No matter how many times you’ve found yourself on the wrong end of a deep ditch looking up and wondering how you got there, today, you’re feet are back on a firm foundation.

The path ahead is dimly lit – but NOW, you know where the potholes and road blocks are.

So pay attention on the path.  Walk confidently, but carefully. 

And keep a pocket full of quarters.  Just in case you want to spin again.

🙂

Ian

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