21 Day Practice: Days 8 and 9 – Source codes, unicorns and rainbows

Unicorn and RainbowI spent yesterday facilitating a life coaching workshop and was wiped out when I got home, so I’ve had to combine two days into one.

The workshop participants all happened to be my Reiki students as well, so the workshop dovetailed nicely with the 21 Day Practice we’re doing. I talked a bit about the process of “resetting your internal source code” (the concepts were inspired by a Yoga Journal article by Sally Kempton that I found while cleaning out the house) and clearing out unproductive thought patterns.

I’ve noticed that since beginning this practice that my mood overall (even while sick) has been brighter. Observing the negative thoughts and criticism as they arise – and making a conscious shift to re-frame them – is a bit like cleaning up junk code that ends up causing wonky issues on the end user side.

Our internal source code can be revised and reset, because we don’t have a fixed “self” or identity. There’s the Buddhist concept of the “no self” of course, but I received far simpler proof of it today. While consolidating more boxes of journals, letters and other mementos I apparently can’t bear to part with, I came across a large envelope my childhood friend Andrea sent me a few years ago after she went through some of her old things. The envelope contained a packet of letters I wrote her mostly during the time we were in junior high school together. (Apparently, there is someone else as sentimental as me.)

There are few things more hilarious than the rambling, i-dotted-with-a-heart, self-absorbed minutiae of teen life. I can still dimly recall how serious it all was to me at the time – the desperate one-sided crushes on boys, grievances against parents, swooning over rock bands and TV stars (David Hasselhoff, anyone?) and completely illogical beliefs about well, just about everything. Also, lots of drawings of rainbows and unicorns.

In these letters – many of them probably written during class – I would often change subjects from sentence to sentence, monkey mind rampantly gleeful. And yet, reading them, I thought who was this person? This person presumably was me, but had I not remembered some of the things I wrote about, I’d have a hard time believing this. My husband is still giving me a hard time because in one of the letters, I wrote that if I could, I would vote for Reagan – not that I understood anything about politics in 1984 (although I do recall thinking it was cool that we had a woman Vice-Presidential candidate.) By the time I was old enough to vote in 1988, my views had changed considerably.

In our teens, we think we know who we are. In our twenties, we think we’re more in touch with who we are than when we were a teen, and we revise it again in our thirties: “I had no idea who I when I was in my twenties.” So, now I’m in my forties and I can safely say that whoever I think I am now is probably still subject to change. Some of it is a mindful shift, and some of it is the product of our monkey mind, jumping from thought to thought. Some of those thoughts stick, some of them don’t – and after a while, more thoughts fall away.

Your source code can be changed, and is in fact, changing all the time. In the case of my youthful obsession with “Knight Rider”, blue eye shadow and boys who were nothing but trouble, that is probably for the best.

Unicorns and rainbows, on the other hand, still rock.

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