Breaking Habits of Mind

I spent 21 years of my life as a student and I am now 44 years old, which means that I have existed on this planet as a non student just barely longer than as a student.

Most habits are hard to break.

This is what I learned as a student: every word and sometimes even little dots or circles or otherwise nondescript scratching written (and most spoken) will be evaluated and judged. Same goes for most movements of body and mind. Everything I do is either correct or not. Right or wrong. Sometimes even good or bad.

No left turn

The grey matter, even muscle and sinewy, grown and wrapped itself around these dichotomies. It has been a matter of survival. Or at least each cell became so easily convinced that it was a matter of survival. So that body and mind built up around a pillar of assessments.

Now. I’m no longer a student. Those pillars have crumbled away. How long will the spiraling neural pathways take to build shortcuts through those now empty, dark spaces? At the moment, I feel all hesitancy and fear, fumbling through new freedoms, searching for meaning in the absence of assessment and judgment.

Am I going to be tested on this?

It was raining this morning. All day, in fact. Still the dogs need their exercise and so do I. I donned my red hooded jacket and grey rain boots to take the puppy out to the yard to chase the ball (him, not me). The yard is relatively small, just enough room for him to take short sprints to and fro. Still, it’s enough. And on a day like today, I imagine for brief moments that we are hiking on a wind swept Irish coast. And I’d like to do that and be there and to end up in a pub with a beer and stew and a fire for the pup to lounge by.

But outside my brain and yard, a truck rattles by and right into the barkeep with his hand on the tap.

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