When I was a child, some of the stories I loved were simple. One, in particular, my Mom made up about a girl who walks by a store window and sees a dress she loves and wishes she had. Oh, how I hung on my Mother's words as she described this. I asked for that story over and over as though I was starving for it. The story was straight forward: the girl wanted the dress. And she wanted it and wanted it and eventually she got it. That was it.
The part I enjoyed the most was the girl's first moments of seeing the dress and loving it.
This may be telltale in terms of life. Perhaps the most satisfying moments are in recognizing what we love, what excites us and moves us. When I get lost in dynamics of work or relationships, I strive to remember those moments of recognition and use those as my compass.
Yesterday I spent much time at the Bottom of the Pond. It's okay; I've been there before and I always vaguely remember how to surface again. But the thing I realized by the end of my day - which felt more like fifteen days all lobbed together - is that I had forgotten to lead with my heart.
And so, in the midst of the engulfing field of grey, I reminded my brain that it is a fantastic recording device, an excellent gofer and an honorable organizer, but in the end, a lousy leader. It's simply not equipped for that. Love must lead or else everything I do takes form as a giant hamster wheel upon which I feel compelled to run. And an inevitable sense of pointlessness sets in.
"Life's short" only matters if you're enjoying it. If you're not, it's just reassurance. I want it to matter and so I return to the heart as the starting point, once again.
When I say, "I feel lost", I am not lost. I am confused and upset by a loop of circular thinking. Crazy thinking is what makes me feel crazy and miserable, no matter how much I think it's "reality" doing me in. If I'm unhappy, it's the lens through which I'm seeing the situation.
Whatever my goal is - it needs to be served and supported by my thoughts. If my thoughts run counter to my goal, I feel lost: pointed one direction, with my attention turned the other.
So I will practice ruminating and stewing on whatever lets Hope creep back in, in whatever form it takes - then all of me will be aligned with where I want to go.
I consider myself too old (and maybe even too smart) to care about what other people think of me. And yet. . . I catch this kind of thinking rampaging my sense of well-being daily. But I recognize it's always a choice. There's thought that jails and thought that frees. Fabulously, when we don't worry what anyone else thinks of us, we free them too; we show them we each have our own path, one that must be created by us and reflective of our unique way.
We also free others because we're no longer looking to them to make us happy. Now, instead of trying to get the "right" response from these poor people, we can just appreciate them.
Mental jails are always constructed of self-criticism and self-attack. But without all of that there is nothing to hold us back, no reason to withhold our authentic natural expression, quirky and rich as it is. The gift we're all here to give.
Hopeless and Down are always reactions to a story we're telling ourselves. The trick is refusing to buy into the story. Then, there is sudden quiet. And from there - a chance to feel and know what we really want to create next.
If a thought feels bad, don't believe it. Start again.
From the Inside