You know how shopping in some stores only feels worth it if you have a coupon? You’re shopping the aisles of Safeway and you’re looking at price tags and you’re trying to figure out if the shopper rewards is really a good deal or if you’re still being hosed. There’s always some sort of elaborate combination of items purchased and buyer rewards. It’s too much, and you are generally confused. You don’t know if you’re being robbed. Yes, you probably are. Go to WINCO if you live in Oregon, it’s always cheaper.
I was listening to Jenn Sincero’s You Are A Badass in the car today, and she was talking about False Rewards. False Rewards amount to the patterns or systems we built up to basically survive through our childhoods, messy marriages, terrifying school year, painful illness, etc. We have created them as a way to help get through when times were different. And they are like a cozy blanket that make us feel comfortable and known, no matter how destructive.
I was just thinking about how easy it is to slip back into old ways of being yesterday on the way to work. I was listening to the amazing A Star Is Born soundtrack with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, and one of the gorgeous ballads came on. It was starting to make me feel melancholy and moody and generally sad. Then I grabbed my thinking out of that space and said to myself (all in my head, mind you):
HEY YOU. You’re fine. Sometimes Tom annoys you or the kids are brats or you have bad gas or the students got on your last nerve, or you pay too much for crackers at Safeway. It’s fine. You’re fine. This song is beautiful but you don’t need to go down its sad road.
That was kinda revolutionary. Hey, I can listen to a sad song and not let it guide how I feel! WOW! That must mean that I can hear people talk about stupid shit and NOT believe it! That must mean that I can have junk food around me and NOT eat it! How extraordinary is all this discovery!!
Ok, I jest obviously. But realizing in the middle of this sad song slump downhill that I didn’t have to go there, and that, HEY, I wasn’t actually feeling sad in any way, it was just a sad song…well. That moment had a lot of learning in it.
Jenn talks about how we’ve built up these False Rewards or as I’ve heard some friends call them, “old tapes” that play over and over and try to pull us back to the known. No good can come of this place. It’s like the lotus eaters from Homer. We can just totally stay away, especially if we know they are there and we’re aware we’re being led into darkness.
Phew. Back to your regular programs, people.
Be the masters of your own universe today, with all the bravery you can muster.