Wisdom in a Sock Drawer

Wisdom in a Sock Drawer

We come into the world completely in the present moment.  We intuitively make cause and effect choices momently.  We experience everything deeply—joy, warmth, sorrow, love, pain, rest, peace—because our minds are not clouded by thoughts of the past or the future.  We just…are. 

But somewhere along the way, some of us lose those skills and can end up re-living past traumas or fretting about the future—addicted to suffering.  But what if we could re-learn intentional living (with all the benefits of an adult mind and body) by choosing small, simple steps every day to bring us back to our role as the creators of our lives? Small steps such as choosing what to wear to set an intention for how we want to experience our day can make a big difference.

WHAT I KNEW WHEN I WAS SIX

When I was six years old, I was left to my own devices to dress myself every day.  My 1970’s mother was unconcerned with the fashion IQ of her son.  What I may have lacked in style, however, I most certainly made up for in the intentionality of my clothing choices. 

I intuitively set my intention for what I wanted my experience to be each day by my sock colors and designs.  I would stand in front of my dresser—peering into the sock drawer pondering which color combination would make me the fastest kid on the playground that day (double red-striped tube socks were my go-to); or the kid with the quickest moves for tag (silver); or the kid who could blend in with anything for hide and seek (green).  Now I see that the actual socks did not matter…it was consciously setting an intention that gave me confidence and colored my experience.  And no one needed to know except me.  It was my secret super-power!  I also realize now that I learned to be flexible and would adjust my story to make color choices fit when my “go-to” choices were dirty.  What wisdom at such a young age!

THE FORGETFUL YEARS

Somewhere along the way I lost touch with my innate knowing that I had the power to control at least part of my experience by setting an intention for each day.  As I progressed through my teen years I turned to “fitting in” by wearing what I thought other people would like…or what they wouldn’t make fun of me for wearing.  Green-striped tube socks and green jeans and my Cookie Monster t-shirt gave way to unlaced, leather high-tops and rugby shirts. 

If I had the money, I would have been wearing double-layered Izod or Polo shirts with the collars “popped”.  Usually, it was Levi’s and t-shirts or army surplus parachute pants with hunting boots I borrowed from my Dad’s closet.  I no longer set an intention for my day…but was hoping desperately to impress or to fit in or to just disappear. 

That change carried through in my personal life once I got married.  I no longer made intentional choices about my clothing, but turned that over to my spouse.  She dressed me and made me into somebody I never knew and never wanted to be—sporting skull-themed or other bad-boy American Fighter t-shirts to make me “dangerous.”  

Rather than choosing clothing to generate positive results in my life I was putting up a front…adopting a false persona to portray myself as someone who I never truly wanted to be.  And that carried through to my soul.  Trying constantly to fit in with someone else’s dream on the outside was killing me on the inside. 

In my experience, I learned that when we live in conflict with our purpose and pay no attention to our inner guidance system, the conflict can play itself out in low self-worth, depression, anger, confusion, and declining health.

THE CHANGE IN ME

That declining health took hold of my life. It is hard to say I am grateful that I got cancer, but I am grateful for the changes that challenge brought about.  It put things in perspective for me.  My journey processing the “what ifs” helped bring the real me back to life. 

My six-year-old self helped me. 

I set an intention to be kind, strong and able to set boundaries. 

I stopped wearing skulls and fighter t-shirts. 

I chose bright colors and jewel toned ties and shirts.  I stopped listening to sad music. 

I made a playlist of inspirational music.

I stopped watching horror movies and war documentaries. 

I started listening to self-improvement podcasts and adventure documentaries. 

I stopped eating buckets of ice cream. 

I started walking and even going to the gym.  I went on a week-long silent retreat. 

I went on a firewalk—yes 1200 degree coals with bare feet. 

I became a certified firewalk instructor. 

I began to read about meditation and mindfulness. 

I became a certified meditation and mindfulness instructor. 

I stopped watching tv every night and all weekend. 

I started painting. 

I took a pottery-making class.

I took a glass-blowing class.

I bought a truck-bed tent and started camping with my Blue Heeler, and best friend, Hughie. 

With all of these changes that have brought me to today, I am working on not tying my self-worth to the accomplishment of goals, but to the “process” it takes to try to attain my goals.

Step by step by step I am moving myself along a path—back to where I started, but better; back to the place where I make intentional choices about the who, what, where, when and why of each day; back to a place where I experience joy by setting my intention for each day and just…being.

WANT TO MAKE A MOVE TOWARD LIVING INTENTIONALLY?

If any of this sounds familiar or good to you and you want to make a change—start with one thing.  How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  If we try to change everything all at once it can be overwhelming and there isn’t enough focus or positive feedback to effectuate a different way of living.  Here are some things to try:

  • Take 15 minutes every morning before you check the phone or emails or read the news to sit quietly. Sometimes calling it meditation is intimidating or scary.  Start where you are.  If it just means sitting with a cup of coffee or tea focusing on the taste and smell and sensing where your body is touching the chair or cushion where you are sitting…that is enough to start. 
  •  Crazy as it sounds, look at yourself in the mirror and give yourself a high-five every morning. You will be shocked to see a smile appear every time.  It’s small, but very powerful because you will begin to befriend yourself again.
  • If you really want to get daring, say out loud “I love you” while looking closely at your reflection in the mirror every day for a month or longer. You don’t even have to believe it when you say it at the beginning.  In fact, it can be pretty hard to even say the words when you start, but setting the intention inclines the mind toward actually meaning those words.  Sometimes it can be helpful to imagine you are looking at yourself through a beloved person or pet’s eyes.  This process can open you up to acceptance and even grace each day for yourself and others.
  • Give up doom scrolling in the morning or at night before bed. You will be amazed at how much better you feel and how your faith in humanity is restored.

I am so excited to share more about my journey to and through intentionality, meditation and mindfulness with you in the future. 

I’m sure I will do it best if I choose to wear my earthy, orange, gold and red striped socks because they help set an intention to be grounded, calm and creative…not to mention my six-year-old boy smiles every time I open the sock drawer and invite him to pick!

Please join us for our third Podcast Episode where I share another experience of remembering what I forgot. 

Thanks so much for spending time with us. It is a gift to have you here!

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