It’s often said we choose our thoughts, feelings and perceptions. That we create our own reality.
Indeed, shite does happen to us. But how do you see, hear, feel, and interpret it? That, my dears, is entirely up to you.
If you’re a human like me, you may sometimes forget that you have this option.
I’m in the midlife shift. Time to create NEW ways, rising from the ashes of my beloved OLD ways. So one of my current pet projects is to notice my habitual thought patterns for what they are: fiction.
Yeah. I write fantasy. But I’m not always aware when I make stuff up about the ‘real life’ around me: opinions, judgments, evaluations. A lot of which are piles of hooey.
The other day our cat Sparky showed up with an abscessed wound. I took him to the vet on a busy afternoon. I’d planned to swim with a friend and a take a ferry to Seattle to see a writing mate from Australia at her bookstore reading. The doc said Sparky had to stay indoors. My fabulous daughter Sara agreed to take care of him so I could go my merry way. And then he escaped.
As I tried to wrangle him back into safety, I transformed from a slightly stressed, busy woman into a lunatic. I shouted to Sara to help me grab the little bastard. Time ticked. I cornered him, grabbed him, then screamed hysterically when he scratched my arm, blood running down. I cursed and climbed precarious over piles of old wood in the junk shed where he hid from me.
Sparky ran like wildfire into the brush. Naturally. Who wouldn’t run from a raving crazy person?
I gave up on him, cancelled my swim and rushed to the ferry, only to be foiled by a 1.5 hour backup. As I drove back home I had to laugh at fate and how I’d overreacted. This was not life and death, people! I just got caught in a seriously funky place. OF MY OWN CREATION.
To transform this experience, I first took a hard look at my actual thoughts (for reals):
- Damn Sparky! His wound will get dirty, crawling over rusty piles of junk. The infection will get worse.
- Damn my husband! He’ll be so upset with me, for not being careful – like he would have been.
- Damn Sara! she’s too tentative. She should try harder, be more aggressive.
- Damn my friend. She’ll be pissed at me for cancelling our swim. I’m always flaking out on her. She hates it.
- Damn my lack of focus, for letting the damn cat out in the first place! I can never keep the basic shit together.
None of this was Truth. I made it up. Fueled my stress with old patterns I’ve learned to love and accept…and yet. I am the designer of my own reality. But I forgot that I have a choice.
NEW me would prefer that I first notice the stress in my body. Sit down. Take a deep breath. Let go of plans, long enough to see clearly that it’s not the end of the world if they get fracked. Trust Sparky to come back when he’s ready. Trust Sara to keep an eye on things. Trust that things are ok. Really.
Teacher and sage Martín Prechtel says humans are “raving amnesiacs.” We forget what is really important. What our options are. We need ritual and touchstones to help us shift back on track. Writing this post does that: makes way for new thoughts and actions.
I’m working on a tool designed to help you get perspective on old thoughts and new desires.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear —
- Are you becoming more conscious of your thoughts and perceptions?
- Do you notice your thoughts are sometimes in conflict with the new person you want to be?
- How do you like to work with that?
Your comments show me that I am not alone in this… and they are a fragrant, moisturizing balm for the soul.