Turn Your Brain Off


Photo courtesy of Mark Wickman



Turn Your Brain Off


This October, I had the chance to meet a friend in Sedona for some mountain biking. What a place! What a treat! Most mornings I try to do a little walking and listen to something – something “devotional,” meditative, centering – sometimes it’s something recorded, sometimes it’s music. So, one morning in Sedona I was on my walk. It was a crisp fall morning and I had some music playing.


It dawned on me after a couple of our mountain bike rides, that when I followed our guide/teacher, I just went with it. I followed Evan. I didn’t think about it. I tried to go where he went and do what he did (or at least as much as I could). I didn’t tell myself, You can’t do this, or ask myself, What are you doing? I simply followed Evan…and


I turned my brain off.


That isn’t normal for me. I “pride” myself in my brain. BUT,


sometimes my brain gets in the way.


It can keep me from things more important than what I think. My brain can direct me to figuring things out when figuring things out, particularly people and specifically my wife, Lyn, aren’t “projects.”


People aren’t things to be figured out.


Results from turning my brain off while following our guide, Evan.


  • I did things I’d never done.
  • I did things I never thought I’d do.


Pretty cool. However, I want to ask a favor. Don’t tell my wife.  Lyn is a hiker and as much as I’d like to take her to Sedona to hike, I’m “afraid” (here goes my brain again…) that if I take her there, she’ll say What the *%$# were you thinking? – or something to that effect.  Her famous last words when I walk out the door to ride…Be careful! Sedona trails don’t always fit “careful.” Or, maybe it’s better to admit that my definition of careful is not the same as Lyn’s. 


Back to my walk and the music, something else happened…I remembered a time years ago when Lyn and I were sitting with a business partner. We were having some “challenges” relationally (Lyn and I were) and my partner offered some sage advice. He said to me, Mark for this you need to turn your brain off. At first I was a bit offended. But he was right…Relationally, with people, my brain can get in the way, particularly my “lizard brain.”


When I do turn my brain off, joy often happens


- like what I experienced mountain biking in Sedona:


  • I do things I’ve never done (and relationships heal and grow).
  • I do things I never thought I’d do (entering relationships at a deeper-than-intellectual level, and letting go of some of the control that I imagine my brain provides – like thinking I have it all figured out…).


What a gift! Not only the trip to Sedona and good time biking with a good friend, but the gift of turning my brain off…


What about you? Might it be wise to consider turning your brain off? Might you experience things you’ve never experienced if you do? Might you be glad you did try it? I think you just might!




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