I recently sat down to meditate and, in order to clear my head before I started, I decided to respond to one Facebook message so it would be off my mind and I could focus on my meditation. Two hours later...
It's a common theme for me, rabbit holing. This time, for me, Facebook led to Pinterest which led to links of articles about Shonda Rhimes saying yes and the latest polls in Nevada, to a couple of fashion blogs and then offline to send a few unrelated texts, save some photos which sparked ideas for future stories, blogs, scenes, characters and ghostwriting projects. All of this in one adventure down my rabbit hole. So, not all bad. The problem is I can get so enamored with each of those it can keep me from the designated task at hand.
So, what is it, exactly, the rabbit hole? It was made famous through the brilliant mind of Lewis Caroll.
"The little girl just could not sleep because her thoughts were way too deep, her mind had gone out for a stroll and fallen down the rabbit hole." ~ Lewis Caroll, Alice in Wonderland
For Alice, she "fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time...to look about her, and to wonder what was going to happen next."
Ah, there's the hypnotic pull of the rabbit hole.
Once she landed with a "thump, thump, thump" the adventure had just begun. She turned corners and went down a "long, low hall" where she tried several locked doors. Then, she found a key which fit into a door behind a curtain. That led to a tiny passage way which led to garden, but she couldn't get to it because she was too tall. Then, ta dah, a bottle appeared that said "Drink Me," which Alice did and shrunk to ten inches tall, so she could enter the garden. By now, she "had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible."
The rabbit hole often gets a bad rap, as a dark place with no end and no escape. One friend said that’s where she goes when she thinks about sad, depressing things. One said that’s where his downward spiral is and when he’s there he just keeps spinning. Another said, her rabbit hole is paved with sugar, with a chocolate cake at the end of it.
What’s in your rabbit hole? Where does your mind go on its stroll?
This got me thinking about what we can control in our environment and what controls us. Because, here’s the thing. It’s your rabbit hole. You can design, decorate and infuse it with whatever you want, with whatever is going to serve you in that moment. Actually it’s a good thing to have a dark place to go to when you need to explore your feelings, a place that feels safe and private. But, when it starts to feel rabbit holey, the good news is, since it’s your rabbit hole, you can turn on the light anytime you want. Who knows what you might discover in there with a little light on the subject?
So, I decided to turn on the light and take a good look around my rabbit hole. On the way down, not surprising, it’s covered with shiny objects, interesting pictures, all kinds of knobby things on which I can get caught, plus enticing doors that lead to who-knows-where in corridors I must peruse. The truth is, it is filled with wonder. Because, I choose it to be. I always seem to come out with nuggets and gems I didn’t have before my journey there.
One of the characteristics of rabbit holing is a lack of focus or sense of direction, time and space. So, this is where you start owning your own rabbit hole.
First, recognize that you are, in fact, in the rabbit hole. Secondly, don't judge yourself for being there. Self-judgment is the number one deterrent to self-acceptance. TweetThis [source: @cindyyantis]
Turn on the light. Look around and decide what it looks like. What color is it? Is there furniture? Fancy light fixtures? Art on the wall? Give it a bit of structure.
Is it worth sticking around for a bit to discover why you’re there? When you think about it, a rabbit has very specific reasons for digging his hole, rather than it just being a day in the park. He’s looking for safety or food or sleep time or a sense of home. What are you looking for?
Give yourself a time limit. Okay, 10 more minutes in this corridor and then it’s back to the task at hand.
Give yourself freedom within the parameters of your redecorated rabbit hole. That way you decide if you stay there or move onto to a different wonderland. Part of the freedom of designing your own rabbit hole is that it’s not about any destination or conclusion, but rather the fresh experience while you’re there and what you might take with you when you leave.
Honor your rabbit hole. Yours is like no other. And, your next one will be unlike the one before that. Enter it with a sense of wonder.
In fact, when you learn to love the rabbit hole, it really is no wonder when Lewis Caroll called it “Wonderland.”
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Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com