I play with thoughts, hold them close, then chew on them until they’re broken into a million tiny pieces that I can place under a microscope to study them further.
Sometimes, I make myself physically ill by obsessing over a thought, one in particular: vomiting. I have the worst, most neurotic fear of vomiting. I am terrified of getting the stomach flu. So when others get it, by six degrees of Kevin Bacon, I assume I’ll get it, too. And I never do, but I starve myself and weaken my body, which presents a whole slew of other aches, pains, and ailments, including nightmares about others vomiting all around me, and I can’t escape. Then, I judge myself for my neuroses and fears. For a week, if you were inside my head, you’d see the giant mess of twisted thoughts ready to burst from my forehead.
According to this amazing podcast, The Secret History of Thoughts by Invisibilia on NPR, those thoughts should be on a plate in my lap… not in direct eyesight, for if they were in my lap, I would clearly see what’s in front of me. I am not sick. Period. And if I was, it’s okay to let go of control. You will survive.
Sounds silly to read it, or hell, say it out loud, which I often do in times of panic, but that video definitely came at a time when I really needed it, and I had to share. I decided to apply some of the techniques mentioned in the video to other areas of my life–the thoughts I have about my role in my marriage and friendships, the criticisms I dish out to myself about my body/health, the thoughts I have about me as a sexual being and my adequacies and inadequacies, and even the thoughts I have toward my business and its success.
Essentially, in my desire to practice letting go and embrace self-love, I am practicing mindfulness: letting thoughts come to the forefront of my mind, acknowledging their presence, and then lowering them to the plate in my lap so that I can focus on what is right before me, which is a life I love and in which I find so much beauty.
And if the obsessiveness starts happening for any reason with any number of things in my life, and I know they’re tied to a fear, I’ll sit with that fear and challenge it. Hopefully, though, I’ll never have to hold a knife to anyone’s throat like the guy in the podcast. For now, I’m happy sticking with fingers to keys or pen to paper.
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