Are You a Victim of the "Wind-Up Toy Syndrome?" How to Free Yourself
By Reggie Odom
Did you know that you have approximately 60,000 different thoughts during the day? We are not aware of most of them because of all the mental noise they create, because they most often come from the unconscious, and because they are generated by unconscious beliefs that we experience as "the way things are."
There's a lot of mental clutter in those thoughts. As long as it remains outside of our awareness, it is running us. We are motivated by fear, things seem out of control and we find ourselves believing that we have no choice. We get caught up in busyness, feeling stuck and the "wind-up toy syndrome."
Remember the wind-up toys you had as a kid? You simply wind one up, set it down on some flat surface and turn it loose. It runs all over the place, bumping into things, bouncing off the walls and gradually slowing down until it runs out of "juice." Does that sound like how you feel sometimes? Wound up, bumping into people, deadlines, backlogs, etc. until your "juice" is gone?
It goes back to the mental clutter in 60,000 thoughts. It's not all clutter - it's just hard to get to the good stuff. Much like a closet that's stuffed with 10 years worth of clothes in 4 different sizes - many things don't fit, some are out of style, and other things are worn, frayed, or in disrepair. There are also fine and beautiful items in there that fit you perfectly, but they've gotten lost in the clutter.
I've been there in my own version of both the mental and other closets. The "wind-up toy syndrome?" Many years ago in a moment of awareness, I saw myself doing what wind- up toys do, feelings the effects and knowing it was a habitual response to some things in my life.
The good news is there is a way out!
THE WAY OUT
It's through AWARENESS, SPACE & CHOICE.
FIRST: AWARENESS AND SPACE
One day you head to your closet to find something to wear to an event. You feel anxious on the way, not knowing what you'll wear even though it's been in the back of your mind all day. Maybe it would have been easier to buy something instead.
You open the door and notice that it is bulging with clothes, not to mention nameless other items. You don't know a quarter of what's in there and putting together an outfit seems impossible.
Then it's like someone turned on the light in a dark room. You wake up and really see what's in front of you for the first time in a long time. You see the clutter -physical and mental - for what it is, that you've been in this place many times before. It's a beautiful moment. You are awake! You are aware! You take a breath!
Your moment of awareness has created space between you and the clutter - it's not running you at that moment. You remember what you did the last time you went to the closet and couldn't find anything to wear. You panicked, trying on this thing and that. But now there is space, precious space. Now you can do something different.
You sit down at your computer to write your monthly ezine. Suddenly you remember the phone calls you wanted to make, that there are emails that need to be answered, etc. You faintly remember how unfocused you were when you sat down to begin this month's article yesterday.
"My desk is a mess. How can I concentrate with all these files and papers everywhere? I don't know what to write about." The mind noise and clutter take over.
You become aware that your mind and heart are racing. You hear, "I can't do this. I can't handle it." You are aware that you have just been reacting to fear and a limiting belief - "I'm not competent." You've felt and reacted this way so many times before. But now, you are awake! You take a deep breath! Things slow down. AWARENESS! You've created space. Now you can do something different.
In the moment you become aware of the bulging closet, your racing mind and heart, the fear and limiting belief, you have created space between you and the mind-clutter. And you can make a different choice.
THEN: SPACE AND CHOICE
In this space lies a golden opportunity to make a different choice. To take another breath. To notice the habit pattern that was at work here - how you usually feel and what you usually do in similar circumstances.
By the mere act of noticing, the automatic behavior is not a done deal - you have space. In this space lie options. A perfect question to ask yourself is, "What can I do instead that I will feel really good about at the end of the day?"
In the case of the newsletter you might decide that writing it is the most important task to do that day. This calls for other choices like turning off the phone and saving emails until later in the day so you can focus. You might ask yourself what you really want to tell your readers, make a few notes and begin writing. Whenever you make a conscious choice, you are back in control again. First awareness, then space, then conscious choice!.
Space is necessary in every aspect of our lives. Space between thoughts, between tasks, between clients, space on our desks, in our closets. Space frees us from the "wind-up toy syndrome". Space is where much of the magic of life happens. It's where wisdom, connection and pleasure lie. Just like the space between notes creates the beauty of music, the space in our lives allows the splendor of life to emerge.
Step into your greatness! It's the most natural thing you'll ever do.
PS Making space is a step into your greatness! Making a conscious choice is another...