“I don’t … because”

One recent Sunday I was dancing around the Blockhouse Bay Boating Club exploring the rhythm of “flow”. It was very wet outside and as I glanced down at the pile of shoes I was amazed to see a pair of jandals amidst the boots and shoes. My mind went, ‘I don’t wear jandals in the rain because they flick up mud and water as I walk onto my trousers.” Well really!
How the mind can go to odd places and of course the implication was how silly the jandals owners were to be wearing jandals on a day like this. This meant the observer I am was far too sensible to do something that silly.
As I returned to the dance I made a mental note to further explore what other “I don’ts” I and others might have that trip us up, perhaps prevent us fully participating in our lives and may have us sit in unnecessary judgement of others.
The very next weekend a friend announced as we were driving from west to east in Auckland to go to Parnell that she ‘didn’t go the port way because she didn’t feel comfortable about the lanes to use.” So she would go the longer way to avoid confusion! And yes you are right we coached her, in heavy rain again, how to use the port way with much hilarity as I shared my jandals story.
What are your “I don’ts … because”?
They are not necessarily invalid or foolish but unexamined can really remove us from living fully. The prudent ones prevent misery and mayhem – “I don’t drink and drive because …” but what about “I don’t talk to people like that because …” or “I don’t go here or eat things like that because …”
Very similar to I don’t is I can’t or I couldn’t possibly. “I can’t apply for that position because I don’t have everything they are looking for.” Or the heartbreaking “I can’t go to heaven because I’m not good enough for God” from an elderly relative a number of years ago.
As I have commented before we all make assessments in these ways all the time. The issue is not the making of the assessments. The issue lies with not checking them out and going, “well who says so and is this still so?” This gives us the opportunity to check our assessments out and just maybe make a different choice or be very clear in our original “I don’t” – so no jandals in the rain for me.
Arohanui Kerry-Ann (www.kerryannstanton.com)

PS – what I did do as a child was walk home from school on really rainy days barefoot in the overflowing gutters – such remembered bliss. So in a really heavy rain storm the other day I walked (with my walking shoes on – broken glass you understand) through flooding gutters, water gushing everywhere. Still feels good.