Friday, February 17, 2012

Closed For Restoration

A typical Friday morning for me involves taking my dog Echo on a 6 to 8 mile hike near our home. The area has abundant trails that almost seem like a big spider web laid over the area. Only a few of the trails are developed as major trails, however.

Every so often Echo and I will come across a place where a small barrier has been erected and a sign posted that reads, “Closed for Restoration” or “Restoration Area.” It’s not uncommon to see similar signs posted throughout the National Parks and Monuments in the desert Southwest in order to protect the fragile desert environment.

Just a few weeks ago when Echo and I passed one of those signs I began thinking about the significance of that sign and its application in our own lives.

I thought about how each one of us comes into this world in simple terms a “pristine” environment. As we go through life people around us create pathways in our minds. Some make improvements, and some pollute and/or damage our minds with their interactions. Some in the name of “progress” they may even try to remove altogether the natural beauty that was originally there.

The damage may take the form of verbal abuse or an assault on our self-worth or confidence. Some in the name of “progress” will say they are “protecting us” from disappointment by telling us it’s impossible, or to stop dreaming and get real.

At some point, however, we may realize that the path that was created was not good and that it lead to unnecessary damage to the environment (our mind) and it is now time to close that path off for restoration. And if someone tries to take that path again, we can remind that person, and ourselves, that the path is closed for restoration and will no longer be available.

One way a path can be closed is by changing our interpretation of someone else’s evaluation of a goal we have set for ourselves. For example; someone might say to you, “You can’t do that, it’s impossible.” They are trying to take us down the path of “self-doubt” or “avoidance of dreaming big.” We can close that path by thinking to ourselves or by responding, “No, you are only saying that you can’t do it, that it’s impossible for you.”

I personally have closed the “impossible path” off by reminding myself “everything was once impossible until someone did it for the first time.”

What are some of the mental pathways that have been developed in your mind that are now ready to be “Closed for Restoration?” Take some time to really ponder that question. To help you get started, think about the following:

Think about some of the generalizations you may have accepted in your life like “all wealthy people are greedy” or that a certain race, religion, or nationality of the human race is bad. Hopefully there aren’t very many of those ideas still floating around.

It is very common to find when we start to dream big again our mind will gravitate back to old paths that essentially take us way off our new course and back to our old ideas and thoughts. That’s the time to close that path, even if that old path (thoughts) feels safe and familiar, because it only leads us back to the same old place. Back to a place we really shouldn’t be once we know our dreams are bigger than that.

Sometimes we find that others who are part of our journey want us to take that familiar path which circles back to our “old” self. Better to enlist the help of someone who has taken the better path that may be unfamiliar to you, but one they have already walked. Sometimes we simply need to change who we hang out with because they walk the paths that we have decided should be “Closed for Restoration.”

My opinion is it’s always better to hang around with positive people. Hang out with people who find joy in everyday life. Find someone who is willing to serve as a mentor. Get a personal coach. Spend more time with people who do NOT take you down paths you have decided need to be closed. If you make those changes, your life will definitely improve. Keep in mind that restoration projects typically are not completed quickly. But we can decide to close the path immediately if we choose. The human mind, like nature, is truly amazing when it comes to restoration. How much will nature do to restore an area that has been closed for restoration? Everything it possibly can. And so can you!

© DTE Consulting 2012. “Helping you Do The Extraordinary!”