I recently returned from a Spring Break vacation with my children, my best friend from high school, and her entire family. In years past, I would have spent weeks prior to the trip writing an itinerary, complete with a detailed agenda of how to spend every waking hour. I would have researched my favorite restaurants and local hot spots for hours on end, trying to anticipate how each day would unfold, long before the vacation even began.
This year something different happened for me; I found myself using my DBT Skills. I left for the trip with no detailed itinerary in hand! Of course, weeks prior to our adventure we needed to DO certain things to make sure we could get on a plane and obtain our goals to connect with our kids, catch up with each other, eat delicious meals, and ski every day. However, this trip did not consume me for hours prior to travel. Once I was there, I was able to let go of achieving my goals, and become more flexible with our daily plans.
Marsha Linehan describes this skill as the difference between being in “Doing Mind” vs. “Being Mind.” When you are in “Doing Mind,” you are goal-oriented and ambitious. You view your thoughts as facts about the world. You are focused on problem solving and achieving goals. This is the place from which I would have spent hours prior to my trip trying to anticipate and predict my needs. I would have become preoccupied with making sure we were keeping to the daily agenda and minute to minute timeline, always focused on what was to come next.
Allowing the trip to unfold more spontaneously and enjoying each moment as it came, enabled me to play in what Linehan calls your “Being Mind.” Linehan teaches us that engaging in your “Being Mind” means that you are viewing your thoughts as sensations of the mind. You are focused on the uniqueness of each moment, letting go of focusing on goals. When you are in ‘Being Mind’ you are in curious mind, nothing to do mind… you are present-oriented.
Obtaining a balance between doing mind and being mind ultimately allows us to connect to our Wise Mind more quickly. Linehan explains that our Wise Mind is the synthesis of ‘Doing Mind’ and ‘Being Mind’. Everyone has a wise mind. It’s our internal wisdom, our truth, the place where our intuition lives. When in Wise Mind, we let go of having to achieve our goals, while allowing us to throw ourselves into working towards these same goals. (ie. relaxation on the trip, long walks, & meaningful time with the kids). When in Wise Mind, my awareness was enhanced. As a result, I felt less travel anxiety, disappointment and an overall greater sense of joy and freedom on this trip!
Accessing Wise Mind allows us to authentically express ourselves in a centered and settled way. Being able to access wise mind more gave me the moment to moment information I needed to identify my changing needs more intuitively. Being in “Wise Mind” feels effortless and allows a certain sense of peace and contentment to follow. Being in Wise Mind is the path toward our life worth living!