A reflection on the Restore Factory Settings course

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8 Week — Restore Factory Settings, Relume

Our episodes of Drift

  • I am always intrigued by the number of people that begin a new habit or practice, start well and then for a variety of reasons these drift.
  • I am astounded by what happens next: most people then go into a place of disappointment with themselves, or judgement or experience a sense of embarrassment or shame about it.
  • What intrigues me is that so much time is devoted to this phase once the drift away from a commitment has been realised. It becomes a whole episode in our life saga. we can really make it BIG!

Resilience and the Begin Again Mind

  • A resilience mindset understands that commitment, drift and adapted or recommitment are all part of the cycle. I wanted to just unpack that a bit and then we can take all of this into a deeper self-inquiry.
  • Resilience is characterised by low drama and low recrimination (even if its directed at yourself) and finally a thing in Zen we call Begin Again Mind.
  • Begin Again Mind does not experience drift as failure, it experiences drift firstly as drift and secondly as a wakeup call…. a reawakening to benefits, or a way to improve experience.
  • Drift is a nudge to re-examine motivation and benefits, or to wake up to the slightly sleepy state we get into when we do something habitually.
  • Begin Again Mind is an acceptance that drift is as natural as impermanence and emergence. So, Begin Again Mind is simplicity, its return, its ease of commitment or experiment.

I felt that I should do a piece on these meditative sessions that I have been tuning into virtually, to build in more space to unpack what I have realised and formulate a better understanding of myself. This series is by Relume called Restore Factory Settings and I felt that the conversations and awareness it has created is really important in giving me capacity to redefine certain narratives of my life.

Week 8s session is on exploring the familiar dynamics of drift in our lives and a concept of the Begin Again Mind. First idea explored here is on the idea of impermanence in our daily habits, and unpacking the narrative of success. A typical journey that I experience is this cycle of learning of a new habit or way of practice that I feel can benefit me in personal growth, it then goes into a promise to myself and the beginning of daily practices and a growing appreciation with self. Then as the weeks wear on, the discipline and rhythm of practice starts waning and it usually takes too much motivation to continue the daily habit.

From the meditative session, it sounds like I am not the only one stuck in this loop, and what was really useful for me was on the practice of unpacking the toxic internal narrative that I have from falling out of a habits. For me when I drift from the daily practice, it comes with a lot of guilt and internal criticism of what I “should” have done better, and turns into this self defeating conversation with myself. There is this space of emerging wonder on where I get these expectations that any practices and habits I pursue has to 100% succeed and any failure to comply is a failure of my identity. Unpacking it further, the baggage that this narrative brings for me is the heaviness of taking up any new habit, and with much higher stakes the next time I want to commit to a new habit and practice. And I am grateful for the space and awareness that this week’s reflection has given me towards this practice. And excerpt of framing questions they use are:

  • “Think about something you have decided you want to do that you thought would be good for you that has started to drift
  • What are your messages to yourself about that?
  • And finally, what is the quality of the part of you that is doing that messaging?
  • A resilience mindset understands that commitment, drift and adapted or recommitment are all part of the cycle.”

For me understanding the cycle and intentions of these habits, helps me understand what narrative I carry for myself. I feel that this ties in with my larger unit of work on being “enough” to myself. It does start off with the belief or even a fantasy that developing certain habits and practices will give me something that I do not have. And there is this huge expectation of “should” in building up the narratives of how the practice can help me live the life of someone else. To me “should” has always been such a subversive narrative in my life, that I don’t realise how much it has spread into all the decisions and purposeful choices that I make.

The concept of the “begin again mind” introduced by Relume was quite liberating for me. They note that, the “Begin Again Mind does not experience drift as failure, it experiences drift firstly as drift and secondly as a wake up call. Drift is a nudge to re-examine motivation and benefits, or to wake up to the slightly sleepy state we get into when we do something habitually. Begin Again Mind is an acceptance that drift is as natural as impermanence and emergence.” I like this concept on giving myself the freedom and permission to begin again as part of the natural cycle of life, and accept this flow as part of my humanness. It does bring to me a form of lightness with myself, to be curious on practices that interest me, the intentions behind them and to truly experience this journey of learning, practising and drifting.

Overall this short re-framing by Relume has given me the space to be aware of my cycle of experience when pursuing a habit; what are the intentions guiding my pursuit of these habits; and the freedom to approach habits differently and to change my underlying expectations of them. I think the permission for me to accept my journeys of exploration and failures will be part of what builds a culture of resilience.

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