A penny for my thoughts….
Just as clouds glide in and amongst the constant sky, our thoughts come and go from our minds. Our thoughts are what we are thinking at a certain moment, so why is it often so hard to just accept and acknowledge them? why can we not let them pass without becoming consumed and overwhelmed? As a train arrives and shortly leaves from a station, to be replaced by another one our many thoughts appear and then disappear. Yet as a train breaks down and becomes stuck, often we let our thoughts become trapped in the passageways of our minds, ruminating and brewing to boiling point until we have catastrophized a situation so much, that it takes over every cell, controls every feeling and often paralyses us with such overpowering emotions.
Mindfulness allows us to become aware of these thoughts, enabling us to accept and analyse where they have come from, so we don’t internalise them in a harmful way. It is interesting yet saddening to notice that, often as an insect that crawls into the tiniest of spaces, That harsh voice sneaks its way into in our mind, blurring our judgement so that we may see thoughts as if they are facts. For example: “I am a failure”, “I am not worthy” or it takes a situation, blows it way out of proportion and condenses into a belief; “I did this so that must mean I am a horrible person”. In this way, these heartbreaking core beliefs that we have led ourselves to see as cold hard facts, can be thoughts that have manifested negatively over time. When we start to pay attention to our thoughts, in a gentle way, we can use mindfulness to think about the way we are thinking, so that slowly we become unconsciously able to allow them to be without using them as ammunition to wound ourselves.
I am seldom able to watch my thoughts wander ‘lonely as a cloud’. Instead I stew in a thought which in a flash creates a feeling, that in turn leads to a behaviour, that develops physical sensations. Suddenly before I know it I am waking up from a powerless trance having self harmed because I wasn’t able to let the thought gently float away like a lily downstream. A gnarly weed has now grown from the murky water, latching itself onto the side of the bank, creating a sticky quagmire. The key to resulting in a different outcome would have been to notice the thought, be aware of its presence, but allow it to delicately slip away, and be joined by something new.
Life is a rich tapestry, woven together by the roads we take, the choices we make, and the challenges we face. The magic in these threads, is that they can be undone, allowing a second chance to create a new pattern, and a new work of art. I believe that with every outcome a lesson can be learned, and with every thought, is a new possibility. I am in the process of weaving new threads, and carving a beautiful new path.
One of my favourite poems by William Wordsworth. For me the daffodils in the poem emanate hope and represent my wellness.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced;
but they Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.