Last week I watched a PBS program about pythons in Florida. There is nothing quite as unsettling as watching a python swallow an animal its own size or bigger, including one very unlucky alligator. What made this especially sad for the alligator is the fact that, in the natural order of things, he should never have come across a python in the swamps of Florida. You see, pythons are not natural to the sunshine state. They have been dumped by exotic pet owners who have discovered that they can’t house or feed a full-grown python, therefore creating a giant problem for Florida’s ecosystem.
Besides this being interesting in itself, this python problem got me to thinking. It seems that we all have metaphorical pythons that we haven’t disposed of properly. For some, it might be a job they’ve outgrown. For some, it might be a relationship that causes unhappiness. For some, it might be an outdated dream that no longer fills them with joy.
Like the pythons taking over Floida, our mental pythons can cause all sorts of damage: We let an outdated dream take up time and energy when we should be working on something that has meaning to us now. Instead of realizing that we need a new job, we take our frustration out on colleagues until the workplace is an unhappy battlefield. We allow ex-lovers and friends space in our heads so that we can’t move on.
It’s not that we don’t recognize the danger of our pythons. We know we’re unhappy, and we’re trying to deal with that anger and frustration. We’re just going about it in the wrong way.
So this week, identify your mental python, and dispose of it an appropriate manner.