it’s challenging when it feels like your brain is out of your control; when it persists in thinking thoughts you’d rather it didn’t.
ugly thoughts of death and despair featuring friends and family members, although of late, the cat has been on my hit list as well.
repetitive thoughts that i’ve had over and over for what seems like forever. they could be considered old friends save for the fact that they’re horrible and i hate them.
obsessive thoughts that try and push you into behaviours you’ve decided to leave behind so isn’t it a good thing you put the sharps that live in the bathroom in a place that’s hard to get to. getting rid of them entirely seemed wrong but having to climb up on the counter to reach them in their new home acts like an elastic band snapping my brain. jolts me free.
i have spent a significant quantity of time ranting and raving over my inability to shut down my brain and to deny these thoughts life. no matter the internal or external volume, repeatedly berating myself didn’t work. something new was needed, preferably before i was reminded yet again of what doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result means.
the approach i’ve been recently practising has been drawn from readings and meditating and counselling sessions. i wasn’t ready to commit to the change before now, i suppose. where you are can be bad, but it can still be hard to leave.
the concept that has finally penetrated my hard head is the idea that a thought is just a thought. it doesn’t mean anything until you give it meaning. it’s like a leaf that drifts along the winds of my consciousness. i can grab onto it and engage and let the emotions rise or i can let go and let the thought continue on its way. i don’t have to attend to it or react to it. it’s possible to simply let it go.
i can let it float away without needing to obsess over the content and meaning. if i don’t engage with it, i don’t have to feel the feels. the process is the same as the one i follow when i’m listening to the soothing voice on the guided meditation app. thoughts rise up but they can be ignored. if you leave them alone, they will collapse in on themselves and fade away. they might come back but it doesn’t matter. you can repeat the process again and again, as often as you need to.
i’m getting reasonably good at doing it during meditations, she said humbly, but it’s more of a challenge in the real world when you’re in the middle of your day-to-day. it takes me longer to notice when i’m attending where i ought not to be. luckily, life gives one plenty of opportunities to practice.
practice makes it, if not perfect, then better. this is not all positive. as it turns out, my success in the now lends itself to historical recriminations. why didn’t i do this sooner? i could have been doing this all along. such wasted time. such a wasted life. such worthlessness.
i endeavour to let those thoughts go too.
i endeavour to let go of the judgment that comes from having difficult thoughts at all. the having, i’ve come to realize, is out of my control. it’s what i learn to do next that matters more.
(march 7, 2018 )
photo credits: california psychics; encwor blogspot