3 Questions to ask yourself…

“Pilings” Illustration by Catherine E. White, water color crayon, water color pencil and ink on paper, 7”x9”

In our marina, most of the pilings are attached to docks, holding up walkways, and doing obviously useful  structural things. There are a few that are in between the docks. They are there, and perhaps they used to be attached to something, but now they mostly seem to just be in the way. We know right where they are and we easily steer around them in the boats. Most of the time, they cause no harm. 

This got me to thinking about the rules that rattle around in our heads, the rules that we make up for ourselves that sometimes seem substantial like a great big wooden post. Are they in the way of our thinking? We rarely question if they are still useful to us in our present life. Perhaps it is helpful to take more careful notice of where these old rules and beliefs are, too, so that we can steer our minds with an easy swish around these “mental pilings.” 

This suggests three questions to ask oneself.

“Are there rules?”  Perhaps there aren’t any special rules for the current situation and we are moving freely in open water. Proceed under general principles. 

“Did I make them up?” If there are rules, maybe they are the kind that you made up for yourself, like, “I can’t wear yellow because it will make me look sallow” or “I don’t eat cauliflower on Tuesdays.”  These are different from rules that might be more universally accepted, like “Treat others with respect.”

“Do they still matter?” Maybe yellow looks better on you now that you live in the sunshine. Maybe it always looked better than you imagine it did.  Change is possible. Swish around the old mental piling. 

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