Monday, April 16, 2012

shutting up the lizard

Seth Godin writes a blog I really like...little short bits of really wise stuff on all manner of subjects.  A couple of months ago, he wrote briefly about "the lizard brain."  I wanted to post a link to that blog, but as I googled it just now, I discovered he has spoken and written rather extensively on it, actually, so I can't find the little bit I read without digging harder than I'm willing to do in the 10 minutes I have to blog here.  The gist of it that day was that the lizard brain in us kills productivity in frustrating little ways like this:  you've locked the door.  YOU KNOW you've locked the door.  You're sure you've locked the door.  And you need to get going.  But the lizard brain keeps insisting that you might have actually forgotten to lock it, and so you waste time and run yourself late by going back to check the locks again.  (This appears to be not the "main" way that Godin explains it, but this was the thing I saw that started the little train down the tracks of my brain.)

Remember road trips as we grew up?  What does mom say to you before you head out for many hours in the car?  

"Do you need to use the bathroom?  Are you SURE?  We're not stopping 5 minutes down the road.  You'd better just TRY."  

It's just a conscientious thing moms do, trying to smooth the drive.  My mom did it.  I REALLY did it, once I started hauling around 6 or 8 daycare kids.  It was just flat MANDATORY that everyone "try" the bathroom before we left.  

That habit has held on, though I haven't had daycare kids in something like a decade now and my own kids are full-fledged adults.  I've jokingly complained to my daughter about my "well trained body" that insists:  if we are going somewhere, we MUST potty first.  And then when I get there:  I have just arrived, so I MUST potty first.  It was funny when I lived in Aledo and worked at City Hall, 5 minutes away.  I was irritated but also amused that my body insisted on both ends of that equation.  It has followed me everywhere I've moved.  This past winter, living in the SAME BUILDING where I worked:  still true.  Use the restroom 5 or 10 minutes before leaving work.  Walk the 2 minutes or so it took to get to my end of the building.  Step inside my door, and stand there crossing my legs and unable to move, cuz I had to go so bad.  Only to find when I got there that it was like A TEASPOON of fluid that had so plagued me.  Dumb, dumb, dumb, and I muttered LOTS of irritated things at my body along they way.  

So when I read that Seth Godin blog a couple of months ago, I recognized IMMEDIATELY that this was a "lizard brain" function in me.  I didn't really know what to do with that, so I just found myself muttering "stupid lizard brain" as I stopped again for the potty on the way out the door.

It has kind of cranked itself up since I started biking to work.  On those days, sometimes I hit the restroom 3 times in the last 10 minutes before I leave.  My bladder is just frantically screaming, "You're about to go out for a ride!  DON'T WE NEED TO POTTY FIRST?!" And then there's that half a teaspoon and me grumbling about the fact that I interrupted my routine for THIS.

Well late last week, I had an epiphany.  When that urge hit me, I just said (ALOUD), "Shut up, lizard brain."  I wasn't being malicious or angry, just calm and dismissive.  And I ignored the screaming bladder, walked by the bathroom out the door, was fine all the way to work and didn't even have to go when I got there.  

Now here is the completely FASCINATING part of this for me:  that night, for the first night in a long time of memory, I didn't have to get up in the night to use the bathroom.  That's just been a part of my reality for YEARS now, the one trip (sometimes two) in the middle of the night.  I just figured it was part of aging.  And it's not such a big thing...I'm not one of those people who can't get back to sleep after getting up in the night.  So really not a hardship, though I've thought more than once that it sure was nice to be younger and not have to have the midnight potty run.  

Every night since then:  no midnight run!  AT ALL!  It seems even THAT was a "lizard brain" function and it seems to have been shut off at the same time as this "potty before we walk out the door" phenomenon.  

HOW WEIRD IS THAT?!  I mean, I LOVE IT but it just absolutely the MOST unexpected development for me.  

Freedom comes in strange ways.  God is good.  I'm gonna keep on pressing in to letting Him teach me to love my body.  It's crazy awesome, watching it unfold.  

And no, you can't get your money back for a blog that was all about Karen's potty life...that's what you get for hangin' around the naked blog.

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