From various sources, arise statistics about the number of thoughts we have each day. Some say they range from 50,000-70,000 each 24 hour period. That’s a lot of mental energy expended. As you are reading these words, yours may drift to: “Hmmm…I wonder what’s for dinner? What time did my partner say they would get home from work? Did I go to the bank this morning? Oh, that’s right, the bank was closed today, so I didn’t. My child needs a dentist appointment. I’d better schedule it during winter break from school. Oh, damn, I forgot to send the payment out for the mortgage.” That’s not even the terribly negative stuff. Much of what we allow past our mental filters is both self deprecating and judging of others.
Susan cringes when she considers what slips into her mind as she is out and about in the world in terms of the way she views the people she sees. Rapid fire, she thinks, “Who dressed that woman this morning? Did he comb his hair with a fork? I bet that person is a bully. Oh my God, does he think the parking lot is his ashtray and that the cigarette faeries are just going to whisk away the butt he dropped on the ground? And don’t get me started with the election results. Everything is going to hell in a handbasket. Stop the world, I want to get off!”
Jamie looks in the mirror and sees herself as unattractive, overweight and irredeemably flawed. She has a litany of self barraging thoughts, such that she sometimes places her hands over her ears. Unfortunately, since they are internal, that doesn’t help a great deal.
From the Hive Mind
A sampling of Facebook friends responded to the question: “What do you to to move through thoughts that harrass you and hammer away at the infrastructure of your beliefs?”
- Examine my beliefs.
- Get on my horse and just ride.
- Get fresh air and take a bath. Then talk about it with someone I trust.
- Meditation or yoga.
- I write it all out poetry or poetic structured prose, mostly.
- I ask myself if I they are true. If I get a “yes” I ask for my proof. Then I take them through inquiry. (as is part of the modality called The Work of Byron Katie) If they are thoughts about the future, can you know they will happen? If you say “yes”; and you may, then ask if you know more than God what is in our highest good. I mean it. Who died and left me in control? Nobody. God is still at the reins. Do I still believe God is good? If so, how arrogant of me to doubt God’s wisdom. It all comes down to “Do I believe?”
- Zentangle or make a SoulCollage card honoring one of my special traits!
- Walk outside or drive, fast and far.
- I give myself a thorough beat-down in the gym, cardio until I can barely see straight and full round of weights to exhaustion.
- Seems we are all processing at a more intense level. I am praying (intention setting), meditating (active listening), writing (brain drain), and giving up (surrendering) all that is blocking me from who I am. I am a blessed channel of source. I am.
- Prayer, meditation, DANCE…in that order!!!
- I insist on my memories. I remember the wisdom I received from John, his conversations and mostly the hilarious things he did. There are so many memories that help me through those times you describe. My family and friends sustain me as well as some collleagues. My home companions, Daisy and Della. Sometimes I just sink into it, do automatic writing and the message often comes through. not always, but mostly. So many people were not well this holiday and I believe it is stress mainly. You know the proverb. A problem shared is a problem halved. I believe that.
- As Daniel in the Lions’ den was depicted as looking up with his back to the lions. When you look at your troubles, they become the lions ready to eat. The golden key, whenever the lions begin to enter, say “Lord God bring me peace.” (Over and over again). Always works for me. Sometimes it takes 3 days but never fails.
- I talk to myself and work through it…sometimes by screaming….sometimes by getting mad and getting through it…sometimes by just keeping busy and concentrating on other things…like baking a pie.
- I write or I find a good cooking show or travel show and take a nap.
- CONNECT with others- do something fun – reach out.
Prince Ea is a fusion of talents: rapper, poet, story teller and film-maker, in the package of a Magna Cum Laude grad from the University of Missouri St. Louis, with his BA in Anthropology. His video called How To Control Your Mind, focusing on letting the thoughts in our minds, simply BE, was the perfect antidote to the roiling waves that have been threatening to capsize my own ship of dreams, as well as that of others I have encountered recently. Mine fall into the category of not-enough, as I tell myself that I can’t do enough, have enough or be enough to meet my own impossibly high standards. Unlike most who harbor self critical thoughts, mine were not forged in the fire of family abuse, neglect, addiction or conflict. I am an anomaly, as my parents were loving, supportive and my most ardent cheerleaders. Best I can tell, I internalized a belief that I couldn’t let anyone down or disappoint them, since they had such strong belief in my abilities. In addition to that was childhood asthma that I didn’t allow to limit me, as I pushed beyond expected capacity.
Most people, myself included at times, focus more on the problem than the solution. We chase our tails with the idea that eventually we will catch them, little realizing that we are doing nothing more than creating an illusion of busy-ness that gets us nowhere fast.
Best selling author Tal Ben-Shahar who penned The Pursuit of Perfect: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Start Living a Richer, Happier Life, expresses the importance of what he refers to as ‘Appreciative Inquiry’, a concept that was fashioned by David Cooperrider, a professor and global change maker. It “focuses on what has worked or does work. To “appreciate” means to recognize the value of something and also to increase its value (money in the bank can appreciate). By inquiring into positive past experiences, we can learn from them and then apply our learning to present and future situations.”
Ben-Shahar views the concept in this manner in that there are “three distinct yet interrelated aspects of perfectionism: rejection of failure, rejection of painful emotions, and rejection of success.” Rejection of failure can be seen in the workplace “where innovation is sacrificed on the altar of the tried-and-true;” rejection of painful emotions is the equivalent of taking “emotional shortcuts;” and rejection of success leads us to be “doomed to disappointment.”
When I allow myself to go down the rabbit hole of my belief in lack and limitation, I wonder if Iwill ever emerge. I make sure that I tie a proverbial rope around my waist, with one end staked to the ground above me, so that if I submerge too deeply, I can haul myself back up. So far, I have always returned, a little muddy and somewhat exhausted from the cave exploration, but eager to put to use what I have learned. I am still subterranean as I write this. See you topside!