Monkey mind, the land of misfit ideas, and the honey hole of inspiration. All these describe my mind on any given day, in any given moment. My mind’s worse than a 2 year old who’s fixated on the candy bar at the checkout line. Once it focuses in on a single thought, it’s hard to let go.
Our thoughts can be tricky.
Thoughts can run amok, willy-nilly through our minds causing all sorts of destruction. Or they can take us up soaring over an obstacle that dares to keep us from a goal. The key is to be aware of their power.
I’ve a tendency to get sucked into my own story — fast — especially if the story has a hint of drama. I revel in the negativity or the emotional “poor me” and begin to create a fictional reality. There’s a real danger to doing this too often or for too long. My fictional reality becomes my true world.
It can be overt, such as one bad encounter or a decision that doesn’t go my way leading to a “my life sucks” response. Next thing I know, this sucky thought is manifesting as an unplanned car repair, loss of a work project, stepping in something icky and ruining my favorite pair of sandals. Ever had a bad day and thought this day’s awful, and the next thing you know your day was actually awful?
Thoughts can be covert, too. Simply thinking, “Well, I can’t afford that” or “I never have any money,” is a real big deal. That one little thought expressed over and over again, like a habit, begins to manifest daily in your world.
Getting caught up in the emotion of the moment or situation is normal. Everyone’s facing issues, and no one is exempt from life’s bumps and bruises. Where we need to bring in awareness and grace is when we get caught up in our own emotional cyclone. This is so hard, which is why awareness is the first step to breaking the cycle.
I’m not saying you need to change your thoughts immediately. This is a bit dishonest, since you’re then not honoring your feelings, but just shoving them under the rug. Believe me, they scuttle out later if this is the approach used.
The best way to start is to be aware.
Catch yourself. If you’re being sucked into those negative thoughts, simply witness what’s happening. The trickier part is leaving the judgment piece checked at the door. Please don’t berate yourself because you got sucked in — we all do! The goal is awareness, witnessing the thought so we can change it.
Acknowledge how you feel. Holding any lower energy in your body for a long period of time will result in major health issues. Anger, jealousy and sadness will eat away at you over the long term, but in the moment that you feel it — live it, breathe it, acknowledge it, and then let it go. By doing this, you can release it more quickly. No one’s in a constant state of happy. Life’s messy, but this is how we grow, find our strengths and connect with others.
Find the frigging rainbow. That’s how it’ll feel — you’ll not want to look for the good thing or upside. You’ll want to stay in the storm of your own mucky thoughts. Choose to be bold. Choose to be vulnerable. Choose to move forward. Start with one good thing to think about. It doesn’t need to be related to what’s going on right this moment.
My default to get me out is my daughters. Just the thought of their smiles shifts my mood.
Build the momentum. Once you have a thought that caused you to a feel a bit lighter, choose another and another. Some days I’ve really had to reach for the good: I like my fingernails. I’m thankful for the triple-ply bath tissue. I have no moldy food in the refrigerator I must throw away. If I can make myself chuckle or smile at the ridiculous, I know I’m going to be okay.
My mind chatters away all day. Through awareness, I’ve been able to stop destructive thoughts or catch habitual thoughts as they occur. I’ll never be a master, but I’ll have plenty of practice each day to improve. Isn’t that what life is about?