Do you ever have trouble shaking an old memory or thought?

"Memory" clock bench from Dali, Dali Museum St. Petersburg, FL

Mind over Matter

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I get a thought from the past in my brain and I just can’t seem to let it go. It seems that most of the time it is something that I did – often that I’m not very proud of – and it just wants to go into replay mode over and over again.

It’s like it wants to remind me how foolish I can be. The importance of getting rid of these types of thoughts is because if we are not careful, they can cause us to think less of ourselves. They can actually steal our self-esteem. My mantra – “learn from the past and move on “ – can sometimes be easier said than done. However, I have recently found a cure for those hard-to-shake memories that seems to help. What I really like about this cure is that it is silly. Let me explain the silliness.

Dog in stand off with cat under a truck

Rachel and I are the proud owners of a few-months-old puppy. Anyone who has ever gone through the throws of owning a puppy understands that if they weren’t so darn cute, they would never survive until adulthood. I mean, she drags up and chews things I didn’t even know we still had and is constantly jumping on people, tables, chairs and the poor old cat.  Today, she enjoyed a tasty lizard. And, of course, her paws are constantly muddy.

Discipline I said. “We must train this dog!”

Children were returning home for the Christmas holidays, and to our amazing good fortune, it just so happens that Thing # 3 – for those of you who are new to my musings, and haven’t as yet read Don’t Be a Cow! – we refer to our four children as Thing # 1, #2, #3 and #4. We do this for two reasons: 1) To protect their identity when we become famous; 2) Most of the time around our house, at least when they were all still living at home, our home life seemed like something from a Dr. Seuss Story!

Okay back to Thing # 3. She works with puppies training to be service dogs. Bingo! We had our trainer! When the pup tries getting something she isn’t supposed to get – like the cat – we use the phrase “leave it.” You can imagine with everything that puppy gets into, the phrase “leave it” is used quite frequently. In fact, I’m sure the dog is convinced that her actual name is “Leave it.”

Leave it.

Puppy carrying a pine coneBecause the phrase is now so ingrained in my head, I thought how it might be useful in my own life. Sure, it would help with a diet or could be helpful in the upcoming Lenten season; however, I was also starting to experience one of those annoying re-occurring, not-so-pleasant thoughts. (Over the course of 30 years running my own business, I have often tried new ventures. Let’s say a change in paths. Although, most of the time this has worked out well, there was a time where things didn’t turn out so good. I did eventually right the ship, but boy it was not a pleasant experience. So now, as I once again look at making a slight change in direction, my brain wants to recall the negative experiences and not the several positive ones.)

Of course, this thought also occurred just after having to come back inside and change clothes because of the muddy paw prints on the khakis. So, when that negative “been here before” thought popped up, I simply told myself to “leave it.”  And, much to my surprise, the thought left me. That is until I started writing this blog “Leave It”! Okay, wait. There. All better now.

Leave It. Why I think it works.

Though I do not hold a PhD in happiness, psychology, psychiatry or anything else pertaining to the workings of the human brain, I think that the phrase “leave it” works because it uses a positive, or at least a non-negative call-to-action. Our brains tend to lose words like “don’t” so if we say “don’t think about it” our brains simply retain “think about it.” Try it yourself: Don’t eat the cake or Leave it. Umm…okay, maybe that wasn’t a good example, especially right before Lent.

Now, I realize this doesn’t say much for my intellectual capacity when I’m taking the lead from a puppy; however, in life oftentimes the simplest lessons are the most effective. Especially when you find yourself in our position … as in not looking forward to seeing that lizard again anytime soon.

Soulful Quote:

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”– Steve Maraboli

Song:

“Let it Go” from the movie Frozen, performed by Idina Menzel

Game Exercise/Life Changer:

Try using the phrase “Leave it” in your life. I would love to hear your comments.

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