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The Long, Dark Road
Stuff ‘N Nonsense 7-14-21

For the past few days the song by The Hollies, “Long Dark Road” has been playing over and over in my head. Songs get stuck in our mind when the brain can’t finish the rest of the song. The best way to end a repeat track is to actually listen to the one living in your grey matter.

The same can be said for emotional growth.

Human beings live and breathe by the patterns installed in their brain at an early age, implanted in the subconscious, forever set on repeat until they find a way to listen to the message all the way through.

Some people live and die by the rut they’ve established for themselves. Sure, they might complain about the way their life keeps following the same pattern but they don’t do much to change that trajectory. The end result is a life half-lived, punctuated by grief and regret, peppered by bitterness.

But some people are determined to discard the self-limiting programming, by any means possible.

People who are hungry for growth, reach for their goals with the same energy it takes to draw breath into their lungs because it matters that much.

They accept that the work is going to be hard, messy, and sometimes, painful but they push forward in spite of that knowledge because, in some ways, it’s life or death, do or die.

Here’s where it gets personal.

As the character Andy Dufresne said in Shawshank Redemption “Get busy living, or get busy dying” it’s your choice but I know mine.

I recently saw a hypnotist to help me with some frustrating self-limiting behaviors that I couldn’t seem to shake no matter how hard I tried.

The details are unique and only apply to me so it’s unnecessary to share that part of the experience but what I would like to share is how I left that appointment radiating with euphoric joy. I couldn’t stop smiling. My mind was still reeling from the experience, processing everything that’d happened in the one hour session. Something powerful and beautiful happened in that one session that I’ll never forget.

I found a piece of me that’d been hidden for so long that the knowledge of that integral piece had disappeared from my memory.

The magic of the human brain is still an evolving field. The super computer lodged between our ears is more than just a place to store quirky trivia, it’s a hive of knowledge both, internal and external, that powers our every move. Only 10 percent of our day-to-day decisions are controlled by our conscious mind; the rest is navigated by the subconscious, using programming that is, many times, flawed and imperfect. Hence, the reason, human beings, despite their best efforts, often get in their own way. The person driving the bus isn’t in the conscious mind. So, who’s driving?

If we want to truly improve our lives — mind, body, and soul — we have to take the wheel.

And that means being willing to do things outside of our comfort level, wading into the mud of our dark places, and clawing our way toward our goals with bloody fingers, if need be.

Because it may be a “Long Dark Road” but the destination is more beautiful than you can possibly imagine.


Kim Van Meter is a former full-time reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News; she continues to provide occasional columns.