you don't have to be in the ditch.

The other day, Nathan and I were talking about what we are learning. I had just finished C-School with Jess Lively. Nathan finished Michael Pollen’s new book. So, for a while, we shared bits and pieces of information and I totally geeked out at how it all fit together. (And Pollen’s book is now third in my to-be-read stack.)

One of the things Nathan talked about was how the brain creates ridges in our patterns of thought. And, because it isn’t possible for us to actually take in all the stimulation we encounter, we default to these ridges. We take in the information that supports these ridges and we don’t absorb the information that doesn’t fit into these patterns. I immediately thought about the ridges that cars create driving in highway lanes over and over and over. The water pools there because there are indentions and dips.

I’ve been thinking about how this relates to my limiting beliefs and my patterns of destructive thinking. I have identified two major beliefs that keep me small.

There is nothing special about me.

I’m going to screw this up so why even try.

I have been trying to use affirmations to come at these, but it isn’t working for me. Because the discussion feels like I’m trying to reason with a toddler.

I was laying in bed this morning, trying to go back to sleep after work stress woke me up about an hour before my alarm. You need to see Patient X and send that appeal. You’re going to screw it up. Krissie. Stop. You haven’t ever screwed this up before. You’ve done a few and they have been fine. This is completely in your competence. I’d feel better for a few seconds, but then the panic would come up again.

Out of my half-sleep haze came this voice that said GET OUT OF THE DITCH.

I could see myself. Walking along the ditch of doubt and fear. It wasn’t deep, but it was rocky and I wasn’t wearing shoes. Just beside me - maybe shoulder level - was lush, soft grass. The ridge. I didn’t climb out. I pictured it like a video game where I was plucked out of the ditch and placed in the grass slightly above. And I kept walking.

Then another situation came to mind. An email I sent that could have been read a different way. She is going to think I’m incompetent. She’s a bully and she’s going to call and yell at me tomorrow. No, Krissie. You know she read the email yesterday and didn’t respond. You are FINE. Again with the inner argument. And again GET OUT OF THE DITCH.

And BOOP. There I was. Walking along in the grass.

Then it got a little fun. I’d intentionally bring up a situation. Feel the anxiety and BOOP pluck myself out of the ditch and onto the soft grass but without the discussion. I did it a few times so that I even have a sound effect in my head to go along with it.

Before I knew it, I was walking along a lush green countryside. I could see the ocean and the rocky shore below me at a safe distance away. Kinda like how I imagine Ireland. I’m sure the ditch was there somewhere, but I wasn’t in it. I was in the grass.

I am not sure if this will continue to resonate with me when I’m not half-asleep, but I’m going to try and see what happens.

Out of the rocky ditch. Onto the lush ridge. Not with argument, but with a BOOP.