In therapy, and in life, there are moments when things change. It may be that the way you have been looking at something changes. It may be that you the way you react to an action by someone else, or to a difficult circumstance changes. It may be that the way you see your response makes it seem for the first time, that it gets you nowhere. Possibilities begin to open. Excitement may even be the result of such things. Possibilities!
The question – once again in therapy and in life is how do you keep this moment of openness from being just one more time you saw another way, and then settled back into the “same old” forgetting that moment and losing its potential.
I think it becomes important to seize on the excitement, or motivation, or interest that arises from such an experience, and use that energy to keep building on such an event. Follow the energy could be a motto here. And the goal, to continue to meet life as it comes at you, with the possibility of reacting again in the same(new) way. Or the possibility to see it in this same (new)way. It is going to take awhile and a number of repetitions to build a new response and a new way of being.
There are tools and skills that will help this building process to continue. Mindfulness is one. Management of difficult emotions is another. Mindfulness can be a meditation done for 15 minutes twice a day. It can also be an on again off again reminder to stop multitasking and stop being lost in the hundred nothings that eat our attention. The result of either of these approaches is that the odds of you being mindful in a given movement become higher. And then the chance that you come to one of those bifurcation points, forks in the road if you will, and go a new way, because you noticed what was in front of you, also gets higher. Which can feed some more excitement.
Same for the management of difficult emotions. Emotions give us life, we wouldn’t feel alive without them. On the other hand when difficult emotions get to a certain intensity, they begin to override our overall sense of awareness. They make our reasoning deficient, they skew our perceptions, to say nothing of how they impact our behavior. These are all states where we are driven by the worn old tracks of thinking, perceiving and acting. Not too optimal, if we are trying to burn new ones.
And so, I am encouraging everyone to become interested in these moments – moments where we have an insight, a new feeling, a new possibility about ourselves. Without knowing it you may be feeling Expectancy – one of the most overlooked and basic emotions we have. (And one I talk about on this website in the section on Theoretical Orientation under the category of Affective Neuroscience). Once you have that experience, you can ride the wave of that excitement and interest and energy, and keep building on it. Building using the tools of awareness and repetition, to ease ourselves into new territory, and new engagement with life.