I had an Insight of the Day, last week that had this phrase: “The space is the place of choice.”
This is truth. We may think we have choice. We are told that we have choice. And then you find yourself in a situation and boom… you are thinking, saying, and doing things you told yourself that you wouldn’t do. Can you recall a situation like that in the last few days? I can!
What is happening? Our mind is wired to save us from danger. In cave times that wiring was very important, life preserving mechanism. If the saber tooth tiger was prowling, you needed to react so has not to be dinner.
The system works like this. There is this danger situation. Before you can even think about this, the brain has alerted sympathetic fight/flight system. Adrenalin and cortisol flood the body. And a reaction, like jumping out of the way, or running fast happens. The brain will get you out of danger. You can socialize and think about it later.
When we are under stress, the limbic and fight or flight system takes over and our neo cortex goes offline. The neo cortex is about being able to think.
In 2021, we do have funky, scary happenings, but it is not the same as during cave time, or war time. Our brain is slow in evolving and thinks it is back in less civil times.
Now you have an action or behavior that you want to change. You figure out what you want to do. It doesn’t matter what area in your life. Could be food, or difficult conversations, or getting out to exercise. You have the plan. Low and behold, something happens to trigger you and starts the process that you don’t want to do.
What things can trigger people? It can be a sight, sound, or smell. I can be a habit. You do this action, and that other action follows automatically. For example, I am very sensitive to tone of voice. If my husband uses a particular tone, not necessarily the words, but the tone will have me skipping down the path of defensiveness. Hmmm.
Let’s think of some things that can “trigger” emotions or feelings (good or bad). I am going to throw out some ideas that may illicit a response from you. As you read through these, notice sensations in your body.
Smell of coffee. Smell of freshly popped popcorn. Smell of fresh French fries or pizza. The first few notes of a favorite song. A sigh. Angry voice. Flowers. A baby.
Notice the sensation you may have experienced reading this list. What would be on your list?
One ability we have is to segment events into tiny pieces, which is key in a difficult situation. And between the segments there is a gap or space. The gap or space is the important piece to focus on.
Example is breathing. The breath can be in-breath, out-breath. Or in-breath, space, out-breath. Or in-breath, out-breath, space. Take time to notice the space in your breathing, or conversation, or situation. Just notice the space.
The space is the place where all possibilities can arise. Get curious. This is the place where choice lives.
I would love to know how this lands for you. Please comment.