I just had one of those moments where I saw very clearly the power my mind has over my actions.
A friend asked me to mail her a book she left the last time she visited. She told me exactly the bag she left it in, what the bag looked like, the title, the author and even that it was a hard back.
Unfortunately, in our last cleaning frenzy, I had sent the bag to the attic and was worried that it had gotten lost in the shuffle.
Even though my very next errand was to go to the Post Office, I started to do what I always do.
Put it off.
“What if I can’t find it?” I thought, then: “I’ll probably spend an hour climbing around looking for it.” And “Uggh. That’s all the way on the third floor.” (Yes, I whine about going from my office on the second floor to the attic on the third. Don’t judge me.)
But today I stopped myself.
Instead of building it up to some huge hard thing, I just went.
I asked my son (who had handily just walked in the door) where he put the bag. He ran up the stairs ahead of me, walked over to a neon green bag, reached in and handed me the book.
How many times have I put something off and put something off and then, when I finally force myself to do “the thing” it takes only minutes?
More than I can count.
So here’s what I think. If my mind can so powerfully build an easy thing into a huge undertaking; if my mind can take a five-minute task and blow it into what feels like a weeks-long project, why not do the opposite?
Why not take this brain of mine and use that power in reverse?
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. I am used to thinking in the negative. I take minor hiccups and make them seem like huge problems. One small thing goes poorly and I brace myself for major catastrophe.
But. What if?
What if sit down and look at all the looming projects that feel daunting to me right now and build them…..down?
Not discounting the time, necessarily. A weeks-long task is still a weeks-long task, but what if I imagine it being easier and going way faster than I expect it to? What if I imagine people offering to help? What if I imagine this task I dread being something I look back on with fondness or even, dare I say it, being fun while I’m doing it?
There’s a line from the matrix we all know.
“Free your mind.”
But I think, with a little bit of practice, you can do a whole lot more than that.
Why not let your mind free you?