Detoxify Your Practice
I wrote this on a sticky note in 2018 and moved it around my office so I would always see it. Now the stickiness is gone, so I wrote it on my white board - proof that I had decided to change my life - personally and professionally.
After years of studying and practising curiosity, I was still unable to be curious when other people were driving me crazy! And at work, if I were to be honest, many of those people were my colleagues! I’m pretty sure I drove them crazy, too, with my “quick to judge” and “swift to analyse” traits.
My curiosity practice allowed me to catch myself judging others, and then judging myself for being so judgey.
And then I got curious about my reaction to what I was noticing:
As I practiced more, I noticed more. I began reacting to the people around me who were reacting! Just because I had spent some time calming my brain, that didn’t mean everyone around me had. So I had more practice, to be less judgmental of the people around me who were just like me but hadn’t taken substantial time out to practice curiosity.
It’s kind of like a food sensitivity:
It’s the reminder: This food is toxic to me!
Then, it’s easier to avoid the food in the future, because you remember.
BUT it isn’t until you remove it from your diet that you become aware of its effect.
As I noticed my judgments, I would pause and practice curiosity. This has changed my life profoundly. So does curiosity get all the credit for detoxifying my practice? I think it’s the essential element. The quality that made all the difference. I got to it through some painful withdrawals and was supported by people who love and challenge me.
I want to share some tips to help you detoxify your practice. Here is one that works for me.
When I wake with work on my mind, I notice that I am thinking-thinking-thinking, I take my mind to a favourite picture of my loving parents. I can feel my brain calm. I relax into the feeling. I don’t tell my brain to “turn off”. I don’t push. I just let the image be there.
You can’t push yourself to calm. Your brain will resist you when you tell it to stop thinking.
Try a soothing visual approach. Breathe. Relax. Feel. The toxins won’t have a chance.