When The Brain Is No Fun
I just got back from vacation.
It is somewhere that I have been before. Often. Gorgeous Coronado.
And so I was sure it would turn out a lot like it did in other times.
Lots of time to go slowly.
But my brain had other plans.
My AC went out on my car. It was 118 degrees in Death Valley.
A 6 hour trip turned into an 11 hour trip. Each day of the 4 days of travel.
Our campground was next to the freeway.
My inflatable mattress deflated. At midnight.
And I became grumpy because I was thinking that things should be different.
And then I started judging myself for being grumpy and added some shame on top of disappointment.
I was a terrible travel companion for myself, and others, and I knew it was my mind that was creating the scenario.
When I get this way I get quiet.
I pull myself away.
I stop interacting as much.
I become less present.
And I ruin trips for myself.
So how does this cycle end?
Recognize how self-judgement is showing up.
Recognize that this is just what the brain does. It is it's job. The brain is made to keep us thinking the same old things which will always get us the same old results.
Rather than spending more time in self-judgement we can begin to move to curiosity. Ask myself questions like: Why do I believe this experience should be different? Why do I believe I should be happy about this? Why do I believe I should always be kind and patient?
The point of being curious is not to "let myself off the hook" for being irritable and cantankerous. It is to get away from the shame that keeps me from having awareness and toward an emotion that creates openness to possibility and acceptance that generates change.
Because continuing to whip myself, or gripe myself, to be better, to be happier, to be different just creates more frustration.
So here is where I ended up:
"This is where my humanity really shows up" In 118 degrees with no AC, searching for an inflatable mattress store at midnight, 11 hours in the car for 4 days, sleeping next to a freeway.
Of course it does.
And without that layer of shame I can get on to the business of talking to my brain about how to create some fun out of a vacation with a plot twist.
Happy End of Summer,
PS Have you been tempted to judge yourself, judge others, and then feel ashamed about it? I can help you learn how to create more grace in your relationship with yourself and others and get out from under shame and judgement.