Have you ever had a situation where something happens to you or someone says something that is upsetting – and it sticks in your mind all day?
I just had that recently. I was talking to a friend, who said some things that pushed my buttons. We were courteous to each other, but after we spoke, I realized that this person is not someone I want in my life anymore.
If you’ve been reading my posts, you know that I’ve been doing an inventory of people in my life over the past year. In some cases, I’ve given up friends or acquaintances who were draining my energy or had values that were out of alignment with mine. As I am changing, some of my friends don’t understand this “new me.” I’ll write more about what that process has been like in another post.
Stuck In My Story
my mind just kept going and goingAnyway, it was freeing to make the decision that this woman was no longer going to be in my life. It was like a relief. And yet, my mind kept going through points in time during our history where she said or did things that made me angry. I talked about them with my husband and thought about them as I was on my walk. And then it hit me – what was I doing? I was walking along past some of the most beautiful views, in perfect weather – and I had noticed none of it! I was immersed in my story of how she had said or done this or that – and how angry I was. My body was feeling the results of my negative thinking – my shoulders were tight and sore. It was like waking up from a dream.
And that’s what the little stories in our heads are, aren’t they? They are like mini-movies we play over and over, while walking, driving, working or talking to others. They serve to take us right out of what could be a pleasant, beautiful reality – and put us into a dark, negative place. Why? I watched my mind for awhile, still thinking the negative thoughts about how my no-longer-friend had done me wrong. I watched the effects of it on my body. This noticing is the first step in disengaging from the mini-movie. Now it was like I was looking down from above on this process of me playing the movie in my head. This gave me some distance from the thoughts – and let me see what was really happening.
Thoughts Are Like Static Cling
That’s when it came to me. Spending my time thinking about all of my perceived “awful things” this person had done – my thoughts are like static cling. In fact, the way I thought about it was more like plastic wrap – sticking to me, smothering me. And instead of letting this person go from my life, she was sticking to me – in my mind – just the opposite of what I wanted. Here I was, in a beautiful place and not feeling so positive at all. In that moment, she was doing nothing to me — I was doing it to myself.
Letting Go & Forgiveness
I saw the sheets of plastic wrap come off of my body and fly over to this womanAs soon as I recognized this, I did a visualization. I saw the sheets of plastic wrap come off of my body and fly over to this woman. And as they landed on her, they enveloped her in love and kindness. And I started to feel better. I did this for awhile, until the tension in my shoulders dissolved. I did this while walking along, looking at the beauty and wonder of the scenery around me. This allowed me to stop doing further damage to my mind and body through my own thoughts – creating my own movie with past and possible future scenarios all playing out on my mind-screen.
The Quirky Mind
It’s funny our quirky little minds, isn’t it? They love to latch on to the negative thoughts and run them over and over again. Like a child that wants to read her favorite book every night. Yet the book gives the child pleasure, allowing her to feel good. We play a negative movie over and over, only to feel bad.
What attracts our minds to this is that we get a sense of satisfaction in feeling like we caught someone doing injustice to us. We ask “how could they say that or do that?” It serves to separate us from others and the whole, in an us against them mentality. And it ultimately gives our power over to everyone else but ourselves. It allows others to “MAKE” us feel certain ways, instead of taking the power for ourselves. We are powerful when we CHOOSE to feel how we want to feel.
Now my quirky little mind is no different, even after working on it for so many years. It still likes to go back to the injustice and play it over and over. But this time, I have a trick. I can catch it before it plays too long. It’s like watching a movie trailer, instead of settling in for the whole movie. After the trailer, you get to decide whether you even want to watch the movie. You don’t have to buy the ticket. And this is where I get to choose. More and more often, as I catch my thoughts, I find I am only watching the trailer and choosing to let the thoughts go. The more I practice this, the shorter the trailers get. And the more I practice this, the more I feel like I’m watching my thoughts, instead of getting lost in them.
You don’t have to buy the ticketThe result? I get to spend more of my time choosing how I feel – and I’ve chosen to feel happy & joyful. I am also noticing that I am having fun watching the quirkiness of the mind. It’s fun, kind of like a game, to catch it trying to trick me into watching the movies that I don’t want to watch. I am starting to see it as amusing, rather than feeling like it is hard to deal with.
If you find yourself in a situation – with family, friends, co-workers, etc. – and you find yourself feeling wronged, judged, insulted or some other negative emotion, try this out. See if you can look at your thoughts and notice what they are doing to your body & mind. Watch them like a movie, without judgment. See if you are feeling any tension or pain in your body. See if they are triggers for disordered eating behavior.
Choose to feel how YOU want to feelDecide if you want to give the power of your feelings to others – or if you choose to feel how YOU want to feel. Experiment with choosing to let the thoughts go. Perhaps the cling wrap visualization that I did will work for you. If not, there are many other “forgiveness” and letting go meditations you could try. One of them has you putting the person you are angry with on stage with you watching in the audience. You watch great things happen to them, as if watching a play. You see them happy. This allows you to realize that there is enough for us all – that the universe wants us all to experience happiness and abundance.
Always A Lesson
I have started to really believe that I have the experiences I have because in each case, I get to learn an important lesson. These lessons have shaped who I am today and I am grateful for them. This woman who is no longer my friend? I am grateful for her for allowing me to look closer at the inner workings of my mind so that I can use more of my power to choose.
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