Happy Paddock – Where we want to be?

Happy Paddock

Where is it?

This is the place where you are just happy. You are doing what you do when you are content. It’s different for all of us.

It might be something or nothing or it might look like something or nothing with no cares, no worries and no list of actions looming in your head.

As Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel say, “I got no deeds to do, no promises to keep I’m dappled and drowsy and ready for sleep….”

It doesn’t matter and there is no judgement. You are just there, content being you. Perhaps you are savouring the moment or revelling in it or just blissfully unaware.

Some of us only notice we were there when we leave. Sometimes we leave because are rudely pulled out or called away, sometimes it just happens as part and parcel of being alive.

Pulled out

I’m sitting at the pavement cafe watching people walk by. I have nowhere to be, nothing that needs doing and I’m just there being. There’s a cup of coffee on the table, also just being, following the laws of physics and getting cooler by the minute.

Then it happens:

A black Porsche with a sport’s exhaust drives by and I notice. It passes me only a few feet away and I hear the exhaust as it slows for the changing lights.

It doesn’t catch my attention, I let it go and I remain in Happy Paddock.

However, a few moments later the lights begin to change and, in the Porsche, which now sits a mere 20 meters away, the driver blips the throttle and that exhaust note catches my attention again.

I react and turn my head, compounding the experience. I see the rear of the car, the twin exhausts that produce that rasping sound. I see the curve of the body work and notice the C4S emblem, and suddenly I am paying attention to the car. The driver blips the throttle again as the lights turn and she speeds off. I am now thinking Porsche.

Without really choosing to, I’m wondering what it’s like to drive and how much it would cost.

My Monkey begins to consider how we might afford one. He’s off, wondering about the best way to make this happen. Would we need to earn some more money or could we arrange things differently? Reallocate some funds or risk some savings?

He’s noticed that I am wistfully paying attention to matters Porsche and he’s only trying to help me.

Suddenly, it seems, there’s a lot to think about.

The possibilities and options for ownership begin to flow in my head. This continues and then an analysis of rightness begins. I wonder if it’s even ecologically right to own a car like that and then I wonder what its value will be in a few years when there’s no more petrol in the pumps.

My mind wanders off towards, Porsche, morals and  investments and I’m out of Happy Paddock. 

Out of Happy Paddock

The external stimulus was there and I have reacted to it. My internal thought stream has been activated and I’m now considering what to do about the Porsche. I quite enjoy thinking so I absentmindedly order another coffee.

There are three places I can be:

  1. In Happy Paddock 
  2. Out of Happy paddock making a decision and acting
  3. Out of Happy paddock not making a decision 

Happy Paddock requires nothing from me but, now and again, at moments like this I get drawn out into debate or action mode.

In this case, the second option of making a decision means I either decide immediately to just let the idea of the Porsche go and return to Happy paddock, or I decide to get one and do something about it. This second option leaves me outside happy paddock with deeds to do. If I truly want a Porsche, it might seem worth it.

The Fishermans’ Seconds talks about the importance of evaluating whether something is really worth it or not.

The third option; not taking a decision means I stay out of Happy Paddock and continue to think about the Porsche and Porsche related stuff for the foreseeable future. Even if I’m not consciously working on it, it’s going to be there, festering away, eating my energy and taking me away from, or keeping out of, Happy Paddock.

I’m human and unless I manage the situation, I have a tendency to end up collecting thought streams in this third space. In the past they would fester, grow individually and in number and slowly grind me down.

Now the Monkey and I actively manage this.

Managing means I understand what has happened, I understand the options, and I can make a choice on the basis of what I want to happen next.

The ease with which I do this depends on the effectiveness of my model of the world.

Incorporating an idea like Happy Paddock as a metaphor really helps.

Let’s look again at what is required for each of the three options to surface:

If I want to be in Happy Paddock ideally what happens is this:

I sit in Happy Paddock.

The Porsche calls me and I say, “Ok it’s a Porsche,” and then I say, “That’s interesting but I’m not interested. I simply let it go and return to Happy paddock.”

Because I’m human and I have a history with loving cars like this what happens is:

I sit in Happy Paddock. 

The Porsche calls me and I go back round the loop around ownership and affordability.

I come to my previous conclusion again (I don’t want to own one) and I return to Happy Paddock.

Unless I’m careful what happens is:

I sit in Happy Paddock. 

The Porsche calls me and I go back round the loop around ownership and affordability.

I don’t come to the previous conclusion again. I continue to think repetitively, perhaps looping round on both sides of the argument. Eventually I start thinking about how poorly I make decisions and this starts another loop off running in my head. Before I know it, I’m long gone from Happy Paddock with no prospect of an easy, prompt return.

It makes sense that being in Happy Paddock is the most restful place. It also makes sense that because we are human and we have history and experience with many things, an external stimulus will occasionally call to us.

The stimuli can be ignored deliberately if we remain vigilant but often when we sit in Happy Paddock, our vigilance is relaxed and we can be pulled out without really realising it has happened. It’s only the hard realisation when we notice our thought process has kicked off. Once we notice that we are agitated or perhaps a better description is, no longer totally peaceful  that we are alerted to the situation.

External / Internal Stimuli

Our Porsche is an external stimulus that then causes our Monkey to fire up.

It’s not always an external stimulus that causes us to be pulled out of the paddock.

Our Monkeys take the opportunity of the relative peacefulness we experience in Happy Paddock to raise their own issues. This is particularly prevalent if we don’t make time to listen to the Monkeys’ concerns periodically.

Whether the stimulus is external or internal is not so important as realising that this has happened and we are now out of Happy Paddock.

What we choose to do next determines how quickly we can return.

Recognising when you are pulled out of Happy Paddock and knowing you then have a choice to let the cause of the stimulus go is a great start. Following this up with the discipline to make an early decision and either take some focussed action to resolve what you have decided needs resolving or just let it all go completes the tool kit. 

Loose ends

Much of our discomfort is caused by loose ends. Loose ends call to us. They are easy to fret or worry over and can be unfinished or unresolved physical stuff or unfinished, unresolved mental stuff. These can be external observable stimuli like the Porsche or feelings caused by bad fengshui or internally driven thoughts and worries that our Monkey raises under its own steam.

Either way, something bothers us and takes us out of the paddock. If we don’t recognise what is happening and make clear choices, we can end up letting the bother continue. It festers and grows often splitting off and generating associated issues to consider and any return to our place in the paddock is delayed.

Maximising our time in Happy Paddock

Your Monkey thrives on loose ends and the twin strategy of being clear on what Happy Paddock means for you and eliminating loose ends goes a long way to helping them help us with things we want to succeed at.

Being in Happy Paddock is being free of bother. Whether the stimulus is internal or external remaining in this place requires:

  • Recognising we are constantly stimulated and we can choose to ignore most of it.
  • Recognising that this stimulus has disturbed our peace.
  • Making a decision to either engage and fix / deal with the situation now or just to let it go.
  • Taking the steps to do which of these we choose and preventing a decline into an ongoing fester.

Our objective is to avoid adding another festering loose end to the list of topics our Monkeys could raise in future.

To address the Monkey relationship in 12 weeks, take the challenge.

To get a measure of your current relationship with your Monkey take the relationship survey.