Consequence: A result or effect of an action or condition.
This morning I went for a run. I like to run. I don’t run far or fast, but I enjoy getting sweaty and the feel of my feet pounding the ground. I even enjoy the aches in my knees that tend to let up after a minute or so. But the best part of running, is what happens to my brain. It’s what neuroscientists call “transient hypofrontality.” Really, if you want to know the truth, it’s what I live for. It is what happens when we are experiencing our creative potential. It’s also what happens when people who don’t usually allow themselves to paint or draw give it a try.
I’m no neuroscientist, but basically here’s how it works: So when I run, my body starts doing stuff that it doesn’t do all the time. It has to work at it, because I’m really no star athlete. My age and condition require that my normally busy brain devote some effort to this activity so that I don’t fall off the sidewalk and into oncoming traffic. Yeah, that would be bad. Because my brain is just like yours and the most awesome organ, it automatically knows how to divert what it needs from my usual onslaught of thoughts, worries and anxieties in order to get this physical job done. The consequence of this diversion of power, is that my normal thought process is slowed (hence the “hypo” in hypofrontality). Think of The Matrix and Keanu Reeves bending backwards in slow motion to avoid a bullet. Yeah, that kind of slow-motion.
What happens when you slow things down is nothing less than pure magic. Your creative thought process is a primarily frontal if not full brain activity. The slowing of connectivity actually promotes new connectivity. This is the sort of connectivity that is not usual and may need to wander a bit to find its way. This is where the transient part comes in. Think about it like bending space and time. Think Stargate, like when Richard Dean Anderson steps through that watery portal and magically appears in another world on the other side of the galaxy. You are accessing some deep untapped resources in your little grey cells.
So back to my run… This morning, I decided to do something a little different. I’ve been running the same loop for three years now. It is so familiar to me that I could probably run it with my eyes closed. Not once have I thought to try running it in the opposite direction until this morning. I thought it would be good for my general body alignment to run the slopes of my neighborhood in the opposite direction. I had no idea that there would be such consequences to this seemingly simple shift in plan. It started out fine, I was running, the aches in my knees were starting to disappear. Then I started getting into that groove I get into when the transient hypofrontality really kicks in. I was experiencing some euphoric moments of creative clarity when all of a sudden, I looked, I mean really looked at where I was going. I stopped dead in my tracks. I was lost. Nothing looked familiar and I felt the wave of panic I feel when I completely loose faith in myself and my abilities to navigate through life. Interesting how the rush of insecurity, doubt, and fear feels the same, whether I’ve just missed a turn, or I’ve just missed the opportunity of a lifetime.
Coincidentally, I had been pondering a current lifetime opportunity just as the wave of panic hit and I found myself standing on the sidewalk wondering why everything suddenly looked foreign to me. Was I lost? My instinct was to turn around and run the opposite direction, backtrack, figure out where I had gone wrong before I got too far off course. Then I remembered the “hypo” part. I slowed down, took a deep breath, and focused on what I was seeing, right before my eyes. I consciously forced myself to return to the present moment. I demanded clarity!
I slowed down, took a deep breath, and focused on what I was seeing, right before my eyes. I consciously forced myself to return to the present moment. I demanded clarity!
What I discovered was that I was not actually lost. I had forgotten that I was running my regular loop in the opposite direction. Things did look a little different from this perspective. I was so accustomed to seeing things in a very specific way, that I had little tolerance for this shift in viewpoint. How quickly I had doubted myself! How fast the flush of panic had rushed over me! But now, in this moment of stillness, I was taking it all back. It made me laugh out loud. I realized how this experience aligned with the opportunity I had been pondering so intensely. I had forgotten that I can trust myself, no matter what consequences may come. When I take a moment to be still and slow down, go hypo, I will know what I can handle and what I can’t. I will know where boundaries need to be drawn. I will know when to say yes and when to say no.
I had forgotten that I can trust myself, no matter what consequences may come.
So, as long as I give myself that moment of auto-correction, that still moment to check in with my surroundings, I will be able to enjoy the new experiences that an openness to new perspectives will bring me.
Consequences tend to have a bad rap. According to the dictionary, they are neither bad nor good. They are simply results from our actions. What consequences will you create? How will you manage them? How will you manage your own reaction to them? Every moment in the sometimes sudden changes of a situation there is an opportunity to seek clarity. Even if you can’t see the bigger picture, you can always check in with your own inner-wisdom. Trust yourself. Don’t let fear keep you from creating, pursuing your dreams, or receiving opportunities as they come into view. Outcomes may not always look the way you think they will, but that’s part of the fun of trying new things.
The next time you feel a wave a panic like the one I’ve described, what will you do?
Your Creativity Coach,
Bonnie Kelso is a Creativity Coach who uses Creating as a healing modality. She is the author of Vitalize Your Creative Life, a workbook for engaging with your inner creative child. She also facilitates creativity workshops and classes locally in Las Vegas, NV. She is the creator of the ABCs of Conscious Creating, a guided self-study program that delves deeper into the spiritual realm of your unique creative potential. Are you ready to start right now? Do you have 5 Minutes?