How many of us spend our days saying “Owww!!!  That hurts!” but never look to see where the pain is coming from.  If we did we might notice what others are seeing, which is that we are hitting ourselves over and over again.  Why can’t we stop hitting ourselves?  It’s an old school yard joke, but it’s funny because it’s true.  We do it all the time.

We are sophisticated beings who are built to seek our own best interests and what gives us the most pleasure.  However we are also built to use our brains to make patterns and meaning out of the onslaught of experiences that we have each moment of the day.  Sleep is not just a time to rejuvenate, it is a respite from the constant bombardment.  Another way in which we keep ourselves sane is to make patterns out of things so that we can shunt them into categories and easily navigate them.  It is when the structures that we make from these patterns doesn’t fit what we need, what is in our best interests or what gives us the most pleasure that we begin hitting ourselves.

If we are geared to seek pleasure, what is the easiest and best way to get our attention when we are headed in the wrong direction or making a decision that will take us away from that?  Make the consequences unpleasant.  While our brains are logically heading us into a culturally expected direction or pointing us towards something that we are expected to do, our soul and our hearts are screaming no  therefore causing disruption and disharmony in our lives.  But our brains are wily and rebellious.  They can be stubborn and keep us on the course they’ve chosen regardless of the consequences.  So the heart and the soul and sometimes the body can get more vehement in trying to get our attention and get us back on track.

People say that when life hands you lemons you should make lemonade.  I think it might be wise to stop with the lemons in your hands and look up from what you’ve been doing.  Look around you.  While you were attempting to reach Success Island via Career Highway, you somehow got turned around.  The world didn’t hand you lemons, you managed to drive  yourself right into a lemon orchard.  And are those really your lemons or will an outraged grower throw lemonade on your head when he finds you poaching?  Back out of the orchard and take stock of what’s really going on.  Perhaps you should be helping with the lemon picking this year, but perhaps you just need to rethink where you’re going and get back on the right road.  Because the fields of happiness don’t always exist on Success Island and sometimes the back roads of Less Travelled county are a much more rewarding drive.