Outside my living room window the Seattle spring retreat seems in a galaxy far, far away. Three whole months. May 15-19, 2019.
By then, the the future, spring will likely have arrived. Despite volatile weather and unexpected extremes, all this snow will certainly be gone. Giant buds and blossoms will be filling the gardens at the retreat house.
Change will have unfolded in the atmosphere, things will be different. Some things will seem familiar and others the same.
Often, our minds think as if the status of the current situation (either the miserable one or the fabulous one) will never end.
The way it is now is bad. And it could get worse.
Mental thoughts rush towards other disasters occurring, not just the one(s) we’ve experienced.
Since we got in a fender-bender, we could get into another one….
….and this time someone could be hurt. Or maimed. Or killed.This happens in the movies and great stories constantly. Just when you think everything’s going to be OK after all….
…a twist. Not so fast thinking all’s-well-that-end’s-well, buster.
Bad Things Happen, remember?!
We all do it. We take our thoughts very, very seriously. (You’ve probably noticed).
We experience something, it gets placed in our mental file as “true” and BAM, it comes up as a re-minder when something is happening you don’t like or something is happening that makes you nervous.
The other day, someone in the Eating Peace Process shared a fabulous thought that’s very, very stressful and often piles on top of our negative outlooks about something that’s happened.
Not only do I dislike the way things are going for me in “x” area (I have proof, I can give you my list of examples that bad things have happened)….but I also condemn myself for being upset or stressed out by saying:
I should be over this by now.I have my own top hit parade. I can relate. Here are the things I should be over by now:
- I should be over that troubling relationship with the guy from 10 years ago–I should never think of him for a second, ever
- I should be over the bizarre betrayal by one of my best friends (who vanished from my life) from 7 years ago. Especially when the majority of what came from it was good for me.
- I should be over my preference for staying on the sidelines and not enjoying crowds or huge groups
- I should be over my string-light fettish–getting annoyed when they burn out or stop working within 3 months of buying
- I should get over wanting my husband to stop drinking coke every single day
- I should get over thinking I’m never doing enough to refine or expand my career, work and service in the world
- I should get over being concerned about my practically non-existent retirement fund
I had the thought 1,000,000 times that I should get over my insane binge-eating behavior for years and years. It was on repeat every few days, with a vicious criticism, followed by deep sadness and despair.
But is it really true we should be over thinking something we didn’t even try to think? Is it really *me* who’s Not Over it, and therefore me who should be? Can I stop the mind from running? Can I stop it from showing me those scary pictures? Am I the one who created a mind that even does this in the first place? Who is this “I” who should be getting over something in this moment?
Am I sure I need to listen to with great interest, or believe, what the mind is saying?
I always notice if something really terrifies me, when I try to STOP the pictures or directives in my head….it gets a little worse. I have pictures and examples of the future looking way better, or more grim, than this present moment.
The present moment appears to be an enemy, when I think the thoughts in my mind shouldn’t be here, when they are.
I’m in resistance. I’m tight, defensive, and making plans and lists. I really isn’t fun, or funny, or light, or free.
So who would we be without this troubling thought “I should be over this”?
Well first of all, I immediately take a deep breath and relax a little. I feel less critical about the situation, and less worked up.
I might even start laughing.
The other day, someone wrote a comment on my youtube channel where I share about eating obsession, eating compulsion, emotional eating, and suggestions about stopping the insanity that may or may not work for you.
The comment was under the video interview I got to do with Byron Katie a couple of weeks ago where I asked her questions about the topic of eating.
The commenter said word-for-word “god I hated your voice, it sounds like a dying mule”.
Today, I was laughing one of those deep, carefree, tear-inducing laughs with a friend on how incredibly and absurdly funny the comment was….which had honestly disturbed me for a day or so.
I should definitely be over someone roasting my voice like that, especially a stranger on the internet.
Because….it’s all such a story. The meaning is never what we think.
One person’s dying-mule voice is another person’s gentle and very relaxed voice. (I remember thinking after watching part of the video again later–but before the comment–that my voice was soooo soft and I was kind of dazed with gratitude that I was even talking with Katie in such a way, so I didn’t have much to say–so this commenter could easily have been speaking to that energy).
I love finding the turnarounds.
First of all, I should NOT be over it. Obviously. It’s occurred to me, that’s the reality. Here comes the photo album and novella about That Topic once again.
I do however love noticing, with such delight, that the thing I wish I was over is actually in the past, and I AM over it. It’s only my THOUGHTS that aren’t over it.
I’ve gone about my business in the world, shared laughter and crying and good times and hard times and woken up each day and lived a human life….AFTER that thing was entirely over.
More turnarounds: I should be over my thinking. I should be under it.
Yah. I should notice that my thoughts are the only thing all revved up. The room is quiet. The heater is whirring. The string lights are twinkling on the porch.
Under my head and my brain, there’s a neck, and an entire body with hands typing away, and torso and legs solidly holding everything up, and feet resting easy on the floor.
Drawing the attention under, past, away from thinking is hard–sort of–but not impossible.
And maybe not as hard as we “think”.
Let it play. Let the show go on. Let the movie rewind and play again and rewind (don’t they have this kind of scene in haunted houses sometimes, there’s a movie playing forever on a screen)?
There the mind is being itself, an image-producing machine.
It doesn’t mean it’s true.
If you want to join an always-incredible group of inquiring minds and dig in to your own thought process, and question it in a way that works….oh that spring retreat.
Remember the one I mentioned so long ago at the beginning of this email?
Come and do The Work to bring peace to your awareness and the way you perceive any moment.
We’re not changing the fact that something happened–it did. We’re looking at the meaning we put on it that holds us back now, that has us continue to suffer.
Of course it’s not possible to change the past, but I notice over and over again that when I question my stories, I’m not so sure that what happened….shouldn’t have.
I’m not guilty, or missing something, or wrong, or incompetent. I’m just human. Able to notice all that I AM over. Able to notice all the immense joy in the room, in this life, which isn’t even “my” life.
Even with a drop of ease on this present moment, how might that flavor the next one, or tomorrow, or the entire future?
If you’re looking for some spring mental cleaning, read more and sign up here. If you need to stay onsite, please ask about the five rooms available for reservation (OK to share).
“One of the greatest addictions is the addiction to thinking. Can’t stop drinking, can’t stop smoking, can’t stop eating…can’t stop thinking. Thinking is the greatest of any addiction. It’s a drug that’s been around for a long time. Thinking has the ability to create havoc in your life, and confuse you. Your choice is not to understand more, but to practice the state of Not Thinking….We call it presence, or awareness. ~ Eckhart Tolle
When we just seem to NOT stop thinking certain thoughts, and feeling bad about them or about the memories….the best thing I know that works for dislodging the thinking “addiction” is The Work.
Four questions and finding the turnarounds. Nothing more complicated than that.
We turn towards the story, look at it closely head-on, and question it.
Much love, Grace