I walk my dog every morning before I go to work. It's the perfect blend of quiet, sunrise, movement, and puppy. She looks forward to it as much as I do, jumping around the kitchen until I get her leash clipped on.
Some days are super easy, with Jedi walking beside me, stopping occasionally to glare at a cat, or sniff a rock. But some days, she's very distracted and it takes twice as long to go half as far. She'll investigate a clump of grass, or a sinister shrubbery, or find some tasty leftover pizza in someone's yard - and our walk stops. And I can't get her attention to move forward.
I cue her to "Leave it" and she ignores me. I tell her "Let's go" and she continues stalling. She burrows her nose into the ground, plants her feet and becomes immovable.
After the third "Leave it" this morning, she reluctantly moved away from whatever had grabbed her attention, only to be distracted by something else a few steps further.
It struck me that I often get stuck, too. I follow a train of thought that doesn't serve me, or I relive an experience that hurt me - and I stall. It's like picking at a scab or poking a bruise. You can't move forward with one foot stuck in the past.
I've started telling myself to mentally, "Leave it" when I find myself in spiral thinking. Sometimes, I have to say it several times before my conscious mind drops the object of thought and I can continue on my way.
What are some things you need to drop? What types of things do you think where should you start telling yourself, "Leave it?"
It takes a conscious effort to train our brains to avoid those painful topics. If it's a wound that hasn't healed, maybe you should talk to a therapist or life coach. If you hurt someone's feelings, make amends. If you haven't forgiven yourself for past mistakes, practice the healing art of self-forgiveness.
As we leave painful things behind in a healthy way, it leaves us lighter and gives us the chance to use our energy in a much more fulfilling way - like walking the dog.
Peri Kinder is the owner of Life & Laughter Coaching. She's a happiness coach, yoga and meditation instructor, and award-winning freelance writer.