Overthinking to Just Be

Once you realize that you’re stuck in your own mind its easy to see that you need to stop. If you’ve ever tried to not think about something you know this merely adds pressure with no actual solution. So, naturally, you start thinking about what will get you distracted.If you’re like me, you’re going to fall back on some distracting hobby you enjoy. Reading, writing, music, walking, and bubble baths are my big go to distractions. Sometimes they work and sometimes it takes several of them all at once or one after another.

In one of my classes this semester we’ve been studying how to change your own behavior. A big focus of this is how stuck in patterns we get, to the point where you’re not even aware of said behavior. For example, biting your nails is a very automatic habit that many people have experienced. One of the tips in stopping this is to recondition yourself to understanding what this behavior feels like. They suggest actually participating in the activity with COMPLETE focus. Make your mind aware of what is going on so that it doesn’t switch straight over to auto-pilot.

Using that theory, I have started to push myself into activities that will make me feel better (or at least should in theory). Instead of allowing the frustration to take over and giving up, I’ve started to really pay close attention to what I’m doing. Paying attention to how it feels and imagining how I want it to feel. I find my mind wandering back to my troubles, but just like with meditation I keep redirecting the thoughts back to what is going on in that moment.

Stop overthinking. Just be. Eventually the gap will close and you’ll realize how much energy you’ve been wasting on needless worry and bad habits.

 

Advertisements

Discovering Rock Bottom

“And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”― J.K. Rowling

Rock bottom was never a place I even realized I had reached. When we think rock bottom, we tend to think of that point between survival and existence. Truth be told, our lives are not always that dramatic. Not everyone has a plot twist that equates to a bestselling novel or blockbuster hit. For many of us, it is something more subtle, yet still terribly difficult.

As much of a trial as we understand rock bottom to be – the phrase itself is problematic. It has a certain amount of inherent discord. What was rock bottom for me, might pale in comparison to someone else’s experience. On the other hand, I might not have the skills or knowledge to triumph over a different version of rock bottom.

Life prepares each of us for what we are going up against. Your experiences prepare you for the trials to come. If you aren’t feeling that, then chances are you’re not open to the lessons those moments are providing you with. If that’s the case, it’s time to wake up and pay attention. Get out of your own head for a bit and you will be surprised what’s waiting at your feet.

I was in a pretty normal place for me when I realized that the healing had begun. I wasn’t in terrible shape, but I wasn’t aware of making much progress either. I had been in counseling just shy of a year and I was facing some tough defeating behaviors and negative thinking. Progress was slow and I wasn’t happy that life didn’t seem to be cutting me any breaks.

In a complete rant about how defeated I felt, I started to get pretty pissed that things weren’t going my way. I remember saying how badly I just wanted to quit working towards something better. The next words slipped from my lips on their own. “I’ve overcome so much already that I know I can handle whatever comes next, even if I don’t like it.” In that moment, I knew I was over the proverbial hill. I had already overcome so much and even if I didn’t know what was coming next I knew, KNEW, that I could overcome that as well.

We all have survival skills. The problem is that for many of us that is all they are. We survive, but we do not grow or evolve. I had become complacent in my misery and was happy to continue upon that path, as long as things didn’t get worse. Obviously I knew something wasn’t right because I was there trying to work through it, but I can’t say I was completely invested in becoming a new me either.

Even in that small moment of awareness, I had no concept of the hole I was crawling out of. All I knew was that I was ready for tomorrow, the next step, a challenge. I had learned to be flexible in what life threw at me. I had become more adept at not losing my head (or emotions in most cases) when things didn’t go the way I planned. I had even found things to be joyful over once again. I found myself craving change and progress in an almost addictive kind of way. Though I still wasn’t ready to seek it out on my own.

Fast forward to a few months later and some radical life changing events were going on. I had completely reshaped a semi-destructive relationship I didn’t think I could ever live without, I had friends for the first time, I was jogging regularly, I was more productive, I was sleeping better, I was writing again, and most importantly I was taking time to truly figure out who I was on my own.

The first part of all these changes was rather scary. I wasn’t acting like myself at all, but at the same time I was finding myself all over again. Concerned people in my life were offering all sorts of feedback, advice, and opinions. For the most part, I managed to quiet the outside voices and listen to my own desires. It wasn’t easy and I made some mistakes, but they were mine and I was taking ownership of them.

More importantly, I was taking ownership of the good too. That was the biggest confidence builder for me. Despite the warnings or maybe as a former rebellious child maybe BECAUSE of the warnings I was starting to remember what courage felt like.

It took two sessions to convince my therapist that I wasn’t going off on some sort of manic or just stress induced spree of destructive behaviors masked as change. When she did come around to the solidity of it, she voiced the very thing I had been feeling for days. “It seems like everything in your life is starting to fall exactly into place.” I had felt confident before, but the validation of one of my biggest critics was again a huge push forward. It didn’t validate me, but it made me realize that I was right to trust myself and right to keep pushing.

Each choice and action were building me up out of that hole I had lived in for so long. I wasn’t perfect by any means, but I felt the changes and knew it was only a matter of time before I stopped worrying about perfection. I was having fun and I was happy. I don’t quite know how far out of this hole I am or if I’m out of it altogether, but I feel like as long as I can hold on to this new sense of self, I’ll be just fine.

More Than….

I have to believe that I am more than memories and broken dreams. I was here before they and am still here now – even if I’m fumbling.

I always believed the myths – we were two parts of a larger whole. I don’t know how to enmesh that into my reality. Into me….

If we were whole, than what am I by myself? More than alone – incomplete and definitely incompatible with the world around me. A world I was just beginning to understand.

There is no choice at this point, but I have to believe there will be a solution.

Ramblings

We’ve been reading Trinh T. Minh-ha in my Global Feminism class (thank you Professor Tweed!) and inspiration struck. I wouldn’t ever dare compare my own writing to hers, but I wanted to give credit to the inspiration and driving force behind these words.  Also, this was written in a time when I had very seriously considered giving up on writing and am ever so glad that I found the courage to get past that (thank you Kelly Mcgonigal!)

*hasn’t been edited

I come to this space with no apologies. It is not my own, but a borrowed corner that has been overlooked. Empty and isolated, it is a good space for practice – half exposed, half guarded. Four sides of a space that allows me to dip my toes into the world of bodies and thoughts without having to submerge or commit.

I do not speak so that others may listen. Yet, I am mindful that these words – if observed – will resonate. I am still playing pretend with this life of mine. Still unraveling the pieces and gluing them back together in a way that is better suited to my needs.

Needs and wants. Two sides to the same coin. One a powerful driving force that can allow us to transcend our own desires and surpass all expectation. The other side a paradox of confusion and complexity that craves to be sated. But which is which? How do you know, when the situation is staring you down or breathing on your neck. Hurry, it cries, make your decision known. Time is not on your side, my darling.

When my grandmother passed away last year, they spoke of things like a legacy of love and family. While true, it was not enough. She wasn’t a cookie baking, storytelling, craft fixated being. She was a cookie stealing, story creating, crafty person that impacted all she touched.

I see more, though. I see a girl left behind with an imagination fed on books, a heart of hope that can always find it’s way with a song, a temperament that, while always compassionate and forgiving, is fiercely protective and wickedly quick witted and an independence that borders on strength and leadership (no matter how much she resists).

This girl is me, but she is also my grandmother. Lost in the 1940s, my mind is full of passion in the struggle. We shall unite. We shall overcome. We shall spread hope. *side note* We might also take a moment to pause this action and burst into song and dance just to put a smile on your face.

This girl inside me, not the woman I am by daylight, can fly so high off of creative juices that there is not a situation she cannot face and learn from. There is not a puzzle she cannot work out of. She knows the rules, but she also knows their secret. This puzzle, story, world is hers – and changing the rules is always fair play.

Change your thoughts and the illusion of perspective crashes down and you are left alone. Alone, wrapped up in the words you use to tell yourself who you are.

Words have power. They are magic. A special sort of alchemy that we will never fully understand. They are the very essence of what keep you and I from being one. Our bodies are machines – the same needs to keep each one running. That does not create us.

We are forged through experiences created and responded to with thoughts – words. Even the passions and emotions we claim as our own are created and instilled within us by the experiences we live.

We are but words forever talking, thinking, being. We can be played with, organized, manipulated, conjugated, scratched out, misspelled, written over, and even erased. Or – we can call out to the universe and claim our words, name ourselves as something else, something other and become.

I am here. I matter. Because despite what you tell yourself, you DO matter. Your words don’t just create you. We create each other. A world without that creation of literary perfection and all of it is beauty perfected by its/our own imperfections, would cease to matter. Cease to exist. Machines, working in conjunction, filling needs.

So I am here, taking up this space and making no apologies (any longer). Writing is my superpower, I have come to understand. I must use it. “Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.”*

The scene is always changing, but my words continue to forge a path that I must follow. They have saved my life and my sanity, but more importantly, they are constantly keeping me alive.  I am my words. The same words that are now a part of you.

As you pick up the pen, place your fingers to the keys, or part your lips to whisper, “I matter. I have substance,” the words pass from me to you. Even if the only thing you did was scan your eyes across the letters, you comprehended and the thought transcended – words. There is no escaping from this chain reaction, so be mindful of your words. Be mindful of how you give yourself to others. As others have said before me- be kind in your thoughts, for you are always listening.

*H. G. Wells