I was thinking this morning of a trip I took to Albuquerque New Mexico years ago. I was picking up a good friend of mine at the airport who was arriving a day or two after my arrival to join me for a conference on science and consciousness. I had been venturing out to explore the city most of the day and felt I had a good idea of visual landmarks to get me back to the hotel which was one of the few tall buildings around, each time I ventured out. This was pre-GPS and iPhone so I had to rely on memory, intuition and a simple map given to me at the car rental office. I arrived to pick up my friend without a problem as the sun was setting. We hugged, packed up the luggage at set off to the hotel. With confidence I began the drive back to the airport, except for the fact I kept ending up where I started.
I thought to myself I was sure I turned left at the concrete factory. I remember thinking to remember this and turned left. I turned left, only to end up back at the airport. I turned and turned and turned the way I felt was correct and would lead me to where I was going, only to end up in the same place. I started to get frustrated, then angry, then stubborn, then embarrassed and feeling stupid, then resigned, then sure, and I kept doing the same thing over and over as if the outcome would suddenly change. Even with the map I was completely confused, turned around and agitated. After an hour of this my friend asked that we stop to pick up a burger, hungry from her travels. Heading a different way to old town in search of food I found a drive through, purchased a hamburger and set out trying to find the damn hotel we were staying at. We quickly found our way back to the hotel (The hotel was 7-10 minutes away from the airport) and I still have no idea how I could get so turned around and stuck, ending up in the same place each time. I keep doing the same thing, expecting different results.
A few things make me chuckle from this. 1. How interesting it is that experiences pop into our minds out of nowhere when we are open to learning a new way to look at challenging situations. And the seeming little events are the greatest teachers. 2. How often human beings keep taking the same turns over and over, knowing they will be leading to the same place, even with evidence that it is wrong, and expecting to get us where we want to go and the outcome will somehow be different this time.
FOR GOD’S SAKE, TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT.
Throwing hands up and letting go allows us to be open to new outcomes. I didn’t have to leave the car I was in, or get a new car to change direction new outcome, different experience or what I wanted–getting to the hotel. (Metaphor for not confronting things in life by changing our own behavior to get what you think you want, or go a different direction). Getting a new car or switching cars would make no difference in getting me to the hotel if I keep turning left when I should be turning right.
I merely needed to put a period after the same way I keep doing things over and over and over and over and over, expecting a different outcome. Try different. Driving to the fast food drive resteraunt at my friends request interrupted my behavior and freed me to find my way. I was open to leaving my left turn loop behind and step outside of what I was doing and it freed me up.
People are so quick to leave challenges in life, believing that leaving will be the solution to being stuck or challenged. Don’t be so quick to try to get a new car thinking it will solve your turning left problems. Try to look at the journey in a new way understanding wherever you go there you are. You can always get a new car, but you are still the driver.
An Article worth reading: The Art of Looking by Maria Popova
What 11 Experts Teach Us about Seeing Our Familiar City Block with New Eyes.
“Attention is an intentional, unapologetic discriminator. It asks what is relevant right now, and gears us up to notice only that.”