Laying Down New Tracks

Personal perspectives are not immutable. How we perceive, interpret, and understand the world shifts as we grow and change. This statement, of course, is applicable only to those adults who are brave enough to allow themselves to be transformed. People who insist on a single, inflexible frame of reference cling to that familiar and worn out perspective for dear life.


How many people do you know who stubbornly refuse to release old ideas and opinions?


What fixed ideas do you hold? Yes, you. You’re guilty of this as much as anybody else.


I say this as an expert clinger-onner. In fact, in previous years, I might have been described as a Champion of Rigid Thinking. Now, to be fair, as a Taurus, this sometimes comes with the territory, but even we bulls have had a moment or two where we’ve managed to un-root ourselves. However, just because I have singled my Sun Sign out does not mean the rest of you are off the hook! I can say with confidence that I know folks representing each of the Zodiac out there who have demonstrated great flair and elan for fixed thinking.


Re-booters are aware of this danger and recognize how much better life can be when we take that terrifying step of letting new perspectives or interpretations enter our lexicon. But don’t just trust me on this. Everything from common sense to scientific research to mythology supports the theory that our experience is directly related to where we focus our attention. If we look to be insulted, we will be. If we think of ourselves as lucky, we can find examples to support that, too.


My dad believes he has incredible parking karma, and you know what, he does! He’s gotten parking places that astound me—when he moves on to the Great Beyond, this is what I want to inherit. Parking karma is priceless. On the other hand, his utter refusal to change the way he thinks about and behaves with regard to old relationships has handicapped his life and made difficult situations actively painful for those around him—including me. Fixed thinking doesn’t just hurt the “thinker,” it can harm a lot of others, too.


The collateral damage related to such intransigence is only part of my point. Recently, Alison Gopnik of the Wall Street Journal wrote about scientific studies which track how shifts in mental attention are reflected in different neural pathways being laid in the brain. She writes, “In fact, the response patterns of most brain areas changed when people changed the focus of their attention. Something as ineffable as where you focus your attention can make your whole brain work differently.”


Masuro Emoto, a Japanese author and entrepreneur, best known for his claims that human consciousness has an effect on the molecular structure of water, wrote a marvelous book called The Hidden Messages of Water which demonstrate some of his experiments tracking molecular changes in vials of water which were labeled with different words such as love, envy, hate, fear, gratitude. When you consider Emoto’s experiments in light of the fact that water makes up about 60% of adult body composition, what we tell ourselves and how we choose to experience the world have a direct, physical impact on us.


There’s an old Cherokee legend about a man instructing his grandson about internal battles. He describes the struggle as one between a good wolf and a bad wolf. When the boy asks him which wolf wins the battle, the man replies, “The one you feed.”


So, what about you, my fellow Re-booters? Which wolf do you feed and under what circumstances? (Remember, it’s possible to have amazing parking karma and nurse a decades old fury.) Which long time relationship do you refuse to reconsider in a new light, determined to hang on to whatever romanticized image or annoyance or hurt feelings you experienced in the past? Or, perhaps, you continue to believe that your lackluster performance in school or having been fired once upon a time is a fair and accurate summation of your worth? And how might such a line of thinking have impacted your physical wellbeing? Is your hearing or eyesight loss possibly related to a refusal to listen or to see things in a new light? How have your interpretations about life impacted those close to you?


Would it be really so terrible if you simply decide to change how you thought about “that thing?” These are simply seed thoughts, my friends; let them filter through your consciousness awhile and see what might occur to you.


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