During my first Camino walk, I encountered a range of challenges, challenges that I overcame with hardly a thought. I’d prepared myself well for the 500-mile walk and knew I had all that I needed to have a successful pilgrimage. To be specific, I had prepared with months of planning and training, had good health and endurance, good gear, and a good attitude.
Then I met the challenge that almost beat me. After a solid day of a long, uphill slog, I started another day of a punishing walk up yet more long, uphill terrain. The second day was in the cold, wind, and rain. It was a miserable day and I was still tired from the day before. As I fought the elements I started repeating to myself that I couldn’t do this, that maybe I should go back to the place where I’d stayed the night before.
I subscribe to positive thinking and knew this — repeating I “can’t do” the uphill walk in the cold, wind, and rain — was not the way to succeed. I could choose to believe the limiting beliefs, or I could change my mindset.
Let me clearly state that you have no business believing everything you think because Resistance, your Ego, will lie to you to get its way. I didn’t use those words for what I was experiencing that day, but I intuitively knew that if I succumbed to those thoughts of “I can’t”, I’d not meet my goal to crest the pass and make it to the bottom of the hill for the night.
Changing my mindset took determination and a change of scenery. The scenery change came about with the advent of a café that was open for breakfast. It was warm and dry. They served the worst coffee and packaged rolls of any place I experienced the entire length of the Camino. Everyone who stopped there that morning shared my reactions to the weather and challenges. Somehow that combination of experiences — a warm spot out of the weather, food, good company, and shared miseries — succeeded in turning my mindset around.
After 90 minutes of rest and refueling, I resumed the morning’s walk. It was still a long, uphill slog in the cold, wind, and rain, but I knew I could do it. If I’d believed my thoughts that I couldn’t do it, my Resistance would have won and my Ego would have been right. By not believing that thought I had a most marvelous day because shortly after I resumed, we reached the peak; the rain stopped, the wind died down, and the sun slowly came out! And the lodging at the bottom of the pass was possibly one of the most delightful of my entire trip. That was my reward for pushing through to be the best version of me.
You probably think things that are no more true than my thinking that I couldn’t make the trip that day, if at all. Do you believe those thoughts? Do you decide to explore other possibilities?
Who wins those debates about the limiting thoughts you have: you, or your Ego — the embodiment of your Resistance?
It’s my sincere belief that life is better when we are the master of our thoughts and actions. That mastery often requires exploring our beliefs and learning whether they are true, or are Resistance demanding its way to protect the Ego.
Don’t believe everything you think. It’s a trick played on you by your Ego. It’s a trick Resistance plays to keep the status quo and keep itself safe in its known, familiar world.