Goat Tracks & Potholes ~ Why Mindfulness & Behaviour Change require time patience & persistency
Below is one of my favorite Mindfulness Poems as it reflects the reality that Mindfulness and behavior change takes time.
It is a really good metaphor for normalizing human error and the value of patience, persistency & compassion and when it comes to creating a new way of responding!
I work with people who are referred to me by Doctors or clinicians who may be struggling with harmful habits like an addiction (not only drugs, alcohol, also reactivity)
All of us go through times of varying intensity where we may feel like we fall into the same old potholes even though we know certain things, people, ways of reacting are not good for us, or get us deeper into the same old shit
Imagine neural pathways inside the brain are like goat tracks. The deeper or well worn the track the easier it is to find/fall into it.
Whenever we repeat certain behaviors that particular “goat track” gets a run on the board
If we are wanting to take a new action or respond in a new way we have to begin to take a new goat track that is not well worn, therefore it will take us a little more time to find it, to establish it, and to make sure we take it rather than the more obvious, more worn easier to find a path from years of repeated use.
This is why knowing what’s good and actually being able to do it requires patience and new learning of getting out of the initial potholes first.
When we sit and meditate we are helping our brain to create new energy by realizing our reactions and turning them into considered & chosen responses. This is what I teach as the (N.R.G) process when it comes to Mindfulness and its pillars such as Patience & Acceptance :
N ~ Notice the potholes
R ~ Respond by learning to be patient and repeat new behaviors so they become new goat tracks for us that overtime will be easier to find
G ~ Grace. This means we take our time and exercise self-compassion. We realize we are part of the bigger picture of nature and so is falling into potholes
Enjoy the poem below
If you are falling into potholes trust that your practice and support will help you find a way out and a new way down a different path
If you are a loved one or carer this is a reminder too that change doesn’t happen overnight
We all have old well-worn goat tracks that over time with practice will no longer be of use.