This chalk drawing on the pavement made me smile as I wandered past it yesterday. And then I noticed the bits of chalk laying alongside it, like an invitation. A chance to add to the picture; to build on what’s already there; to join the dots anew…
And it struck me how easy it can be sometimes to do exactly the opposite in life…
Instead, to sort of stand before the image you’re faced with (the image of your life), and just wish it was different. Or to compare it to some idealized picture of how life ‘should’ be, or ‘could have been.’ Just standing there and willing it to simply change somehow. To be ‘better’ somehow; different somehow.
A funny thing about this kind of wishful thinking is that a lot of it seems to happen in your mind and not so much on the canvas of your life. So getting swept up in reveries of how things would look if they were as they ‘should be’ or ‘might have been’ may actually stop you from clearly seeing what’s actually there right in front of you.
And it might even stop you picking up the chalk…
Been stuck at the traffic lights lately?
Did you happen to notice where your mind traveled to while you were stopped stationary?
Were you frustrated? Annoyed? Wishing you didn’t have to ‘waste’ your time waiting like this? Angry that you have better things to do, better places to be, and yet, here you are, crawling along in traffic?
It’s interesting to keep track of what our thoughts are doing in these unguarded moments. To notice what we’re thinking (and perhaps also to muse about what we’re not thinking at those times).
Albert Ellis, one of the pioneers of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) talked about a thing called ‘low frustration tolerance’, or LFT. He identified it in the 1960s (and he also called it ‘can’t standitis’).