Small significances can make big change happen.
What are small significances? I learned this term when I was coaching in the Choices program, working with trainees on developing their Purpose Statement for life.
A small significance is that small thing you do, like taking a neighbour dinner when you learn of a hardship they’re facing, because, to you, it’s what you do naturally. You’re thoughtful about the need. You don’t think about the doing, or not doing. You just do it.
Or, picking up garbage you see lying on the pathway as you walk. Yes. people shouldn’t leave garbage lying about, but that doesn’t mean you leave it for someone else to pick up. You do it because it’s what you do.
Small significances can also apply to our habits.
Like the one I’ve developed over the course of Covid’s presence of zoning out most evenings on some trivial, inconsequential Netflix or Prime drama. Watching endless hours of flickering images on my screen, headphones popped into my ears.
This habit… (ok. addiction) is not conducive to creating the grace and ease I want in my life. It affects everything. From my joy, sleep, physical fitness and mind alertness. It also keeps me out of my studio and, now that 22 hours of my week are consumed with work, I want to reclaim those endless run-on evenings of doing not much other than vegging out.
One small significance i can do to make big-time difference is to unplug my headset, turn-off my screen and commit to spending time in my studio.
And that’s why I’m choosing to be vulnerable here in talking about my unhealthy habit (addiction) – because going public is good for my soul, and my commitment to change.
After months and months of automatically turning on the screen every evening, logging into one of the three entertainment providers we have subscribed to, it has become rote. A thoughtless, mindless and enervating practice that serves me up a dopamine laden pleasure reward that fools me into believing I’m enjoying this… when seriously, I’m not thinking about enjoying it or not. I’m really just dialing in for my fix.
And here’s the thing. The more I do it the ‘want’ to do it transforms into ‘the need’.
And what I really need in my life is enriching, heart-engaging, soul-dancing, mind-expanding experiences.
Not hours of sitting watching a flickering screen.
To achieve my desired state, I’ve begun to take small, significant steps away from the screen.
The first wasn’t designed as a ‘breaking-free of my addiction’ plan but to my surprise, it has become a gateway to it.
I’ve started reading books on Kindle. And, while there’s probably no scientific data to back up my findings, for me, it has opened up the process of change. Why? Because I think my amygdala is saying… oh look! We’re watching a screen. All’s good. Let’s feed her some dopamine.
See. I think the brain doesn’t know the difference between flickering images and words passing before my eyes. It just knows there’s a blue light entering its dendrite connected neuron pathways, feeding it what its come to expect — hours in front of a screen.
Something I’ve observed in the process is that I struggle to remember what I’ve read — that didn’t used to happen and while I could just say it’s age related, the fact is, I think it has more to do with my brain becoming lazy after watching so much mindless chatter. In the getting glued to the screen, I’ve unconsciously (and perhaps somewhat consciously) turned off my memory neurons — there’s no sense in remembering what I just watched. It’s all trivial and if I want… I can always go back and watch again – and it will be like a brand new show all over again! 🙂
So, while shifting to reading on my Kindle app might feel like it’s just a baby step – it is a step and I am grabbing on and riding this stepping stone into an ocean of possibility.
And in the meantime, I shall continue to turn up here and hold myself accountable. You’re welcome to check-in anytime and ask me how I’m doing — I’d love to have you as my accountability buddy!
And in the meantime, I’m employing my new ‘neural pathway chant’ to help me stay on track, building stepping stone after stepping stone to my desired state. And that chant is…”I deserve to feel alive and free! Oh yes I do.”