Stay In Your Lane
It’s counter-intuitive to our primal nature to mind our own business. It’s common to pay attention to our surroundings and to direct our gaze to seemingly threatening situations. But here’s the deal, rarely are we in truly threatening situations. The fight or flight responses we receive now are linked to shame, guilt, anger, jealous and not the fear of death. Since we do not ward off this hormonal response with a mad dash away from predators, we absorb this and store it, which causes us ongoing stress and anxiety. But, a healthier practice would be to release the fear before we let it settle into our body. Releasing the fear means we let it rise up and pass through us, not ignore it. It also doesn’t mean we focus on the thoughts around the fear. We simply notice the physical sensation of the fear inside of us and train ourselves to relax and let it rise out of us.
The thing is, we have this strange belief that many things should come naturally, we write off relationships with people if they don’t understand us on the outset, but we are not antelope in the savannah. We are humans with the capacity to understand deep emotions and grow. We have the ability to be more than we are wired to be. We have a strange capacity to go beyond the primal instincts of protection and care, to the intellectual processes of community and partnership, right on through to the deeply emotional (some would say spiritual) qualities of deep connection and expansion. Staying in your lane isn’t just focusing your attention off of that which is causing suffering, it is minding your own business, also known as, paying attention to your thoughts and how they are making you feel, while owning your part in any situation of suffering.
In the show, I had been seen as the “forgettable one,” the “floater,” and others began to question my viability as it seemed like Robert was paying me no mind and was actually forgetting about me. I had to hear this as people’s truth, what they were perceiving and hearing, but I had to not absorb it. That’s the skill of staying in your own lane. Like in a race, you can have the ability to peripherally notice any action on the side or notice if someone falls behind you without losing too much focus, but as soon as you turn your head and stare, you start to fall out of the race.
Robert had told me at the last Black Tie Affair that he still didn’t “know me” and immediately after in the kitchen and subsequent conversations throughout the house, the boys pointed out to me that I needed to do something different than what I had been doing. To an extent, they were right. I had to take it to the next level, but I wouldn’t be able to do anything anyone would expect. It had to be real and unique to me, because for me this was an opportunity to connect and everything had to be centered on that, so my strategy had to only be a strategy to connect with Robert more.
I cannot connect and reveal myself to someone while simultaneously acting outside of my own character. This is when I got the idea for the necklace. I needed to reveal a deep, powerful part of me and also offer up, not just words, but a token of my commitment to get to know Robert. I had to not just say as others were saying, but do something that was so uniquely me, that even if I didn’t win his heart, I would definitely leave a mark on it. I broke tradition at the Black Tie Affair and ask to speak. I prepared my sentiments and also gave him the necklace with the Serenity Prayer. It was deeply significant to me because of how, when and why I received the necklace, but I knew it would connect with him because the serenity prayer asks us to remain faithful and peaceful even in the midst of hard choices—which is the mental state he had to live throughout the show.
When I gave it to him, I did it as a good faith gesture that we would get to know each other and that he wouldn’t eliminate me before we had that chance. Had I taken the literal suggestion of my well-meaning housemates or did as they did, I would not have been able to reveal myself and would have probably veered so far out of my lane, I would have ended up back home too soon.
Staying in your own lane also asks us to begin to listen to the deeper part of us, the quieter part of us where our intuition lives, not just the loud train of thoughts that our consciousness blurts out at random. Is there someone else in there with you, in your mind, in your consciousness when you are disturbed? Of course there is the part of you that is disturbed and hurt, but what part of you notices this part. This is where your center is. This is the back of you, your ultimate, the wizard behind the curtain. This part of you is always there and always reachable. This is the part of you that connects your subconscious to your conscious. This is the part from where intuition comes. Imagine yourself sitting back into this higher part of you. When you are disturbed, close your eyes for a second and practice mentally sitting back.
On the show, I knew that if things ever seemed too crazy, then my ego was getting involved and at any moment I could step back behind the curtain and get off stage. This is how I stayed in my own lane, but knowing when to go further and when to bow out. This is the essence of staying in your own lane. This is the essence of trusting that your path is unfolding perfectly and uniquely for you. Whenever I was feeling un-centered, I simply asked, whose lane am I in?