Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Don't believe everything your brain thinks.

I saw a great bumper sticker the other day, "Don't believe everything your mind thinks." It was particularly apt in my case, because I had just had one of those experiences where my mind was convinced of one thing, based on prior experience and knowledge and all that supposedly bullet-proof "evidence" stuff, and reality was something else.

I was trail running (if you're thinking I've been doing too much of that lately, the answer is that I have been doing a lot--I don't know what too much would be, but I'll let you know if I get there) and we were following a map of the trails in the area. We got an intersection that we "knew," because we'd cross-country skied on the same trail all winter. So of course we were certain about where we were on the map. But then things went wonky. Where had the trail gone? If the vista was here, then the trail should be there. Except "there" was only a bunch of scrub bushes and we tried to run through them, but it was pretty clear there was no trail there, much less anything as wide as a fire road, which was what the map showed. We berated the map. Thank goodness we were so much smarter and could find our way without the map.

Oh. That's the vista? But that' s not where it is in the winter. Turns out, it doesn't matter where things are in the winter when we're xc skiing, map points are different for the summer folk. Just because we had a pre-conceived notion of where things were, didn't mean we were right. Suddenly the map was back in our good books and everything seemed clear again. As soon as we got out of our way, things got much easier.

I don't think I need to tie this in a bow for you to see where I'm heading from a "what did I learn from this?" perspective, so I'll leave it at that.