My Brain is Broken and I’m Talking to Myself

My 28 year old son has a degree in Movement Science and is now interning in strength training at Florida State (go Noles!). He also reads…ALOT. (Funny how I remember his little middle school voice yelling down the stairs “I don’t even like to read!” as I was trying to discuss with him his less than desirable language arts grade!) Anyway, he reads many books on health, physical and emotional. Which is a good thing, because somehow, bless his heart, he inherited certain attributes of my psyche. It seems that we don’t get to choose as parents which innate characteristics our children absorb from us. We do our best, but it’s just how it is. That’s a post for another time:)

So, my son recommends a book to me called “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer. I had been telling him about my struggles with feeling valued at work, leading to me wanting to make a change. He proceeds to tell me that this book had helped him the most with his insecurities. So I bought it right away, and since I’m on spring break, I dove in.  The first chapter is entitled “The Voice Inside Your Head”. Singer explains that we have a dialogue in our head that never stops, it just keeps going and going. Ok. If you have read my earlier posts you know that I know this about myself. Nothing new here….

But, wait….. As I read on I realize Singer has a unique way of dealing with this dialogue. “To attain true inner freedom, you must be able to objectively watch your problems instead of being lost in them.”  If we get lost in our own dialogue, we aren’t experiencing the reality of our world, but OUR VERSION of this reality. So, yesterday I took this book’s advice, and stood back and listened to my thoughts, as if they were another person. Yes, in essence, I was talking to myself. I had a doctor’s appointment for a check up at 9:30 am. I decided to not eat at all until afterwards. You may wonder why, but I’m sure all the women out there already know….THE SCALE! (insert evil music here). My thought process was ” I will be so discouraged if I weigh more than I think I should….of course I weigh more, this middle aged thing sucks….it’s so hard to get down to the weight I want….the nurse will think I’m overweight….” and on and on and on.  I stood back, looked at that other “person” who was saying all this, and said “That’s silly. Who cares what they think about your weight. You take care of yourself and eat healthy. Just enjoy getting to know this new doctor….” Because that is what I would have said to myself if I were another person. Here is the truth….we wouldn’t let someone else talk to us the way we talk to ourselves! It worked. As I walked outside, I noticed what a beautiful day it was. I noticed the cool breeze on my face. I noticed the neighbor across the street and that we should meet him because he looks like he’s a nice guy. Yes, my other self was still talking, but I chose to ignore her.

I still didn’t eat until after the appointment. Some things will just take time:-/

Singer says we should be able to get to a point when we can quiet our minds….no thoughts. That will take more practice for me, but I’m up for the challenge. Could this be an answer to be able to relax more? Get more sleep? Live in the moment and truly enjoy every experience without always thinking and making judgements? I think so. (And I highly recommend this book).

Psalms 131

My heart is not proud Lord

My eyes are not haughty

I do not concern myself with great matters, or things too wonderful for me.

But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with it’s mother.

Like a weaned child I am content.

Israel put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.

 

So yes, my brain is a little broken, but it can be fixed.

Just don’t judge me if you see me talking to myself.

 

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Left with my own thoughts…

If you read my first post, you know that I have been inspired to use my time more wisely. Well, it turns out that once you run out of things to do and aren’t watching T.V., the only thing left to do is listen to yourself think. That can be dangerous.

It’s not like I’m not already self aware: I tend to pay close attention to, and even talk about my thoughts and feelings. But, knowing about old garbage that is there behind a closed door is very different from sitting in the middle of it. I have ignored my negative thoughts and closed the door on them time and time again by staying busy at work and distracted at home. Every once in a while I seem to have a handle on them, but then they burst in unexpectedly with an intensity that is surprising , even to me.

Then the guilt comes. “I should be so grateful. I have a wonderful, attentive husband. Our kids are doing well. I get to do something I love and get paid for it. What is wrong with me?!?!?!”

My negative thoughts (almost always about myself) are so consuming that it colors every other aspect of my life. It creates a distorted lens that I am compelled to look through even though I know there is a better one to choose.

“Be careful what you think, because thoughts run your life. ” Proverbs 4:23

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

Pretension: allegation of doubtful value.

If I keep letting these thoughts take over is it because I believe that they could be true? Yet I should know better. I know that God doesn’t think I’m hopeless….thats a pretension.

It’s just that all of us have a recording deeply etched in stone upon our childhood souls that will take much time and effort to sand away.

Paul proclaims to the Corinthian church that these thoughts may be taken captive….prisoners. Does this mean I have the power at my disposal to force these thoughts to become ones that are true and noble? Apparently so.

Do I feel that powerful? Absolutely not.

Am I an unworthy person because of this struggle? Maybe not…

Because Paul said a couple of chapters later, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong….”

It was love and a cause that compelled him. It wasn’t about him at all. It was “for Christ’s sake”.

So here I am at the conclusion that pulls me out of the fog and saves me from myself.

It’s the thought that opens my mind up once again to the beauty of the world, and it’s hungering need.

It’s not about me.

Why Stay Inspired?

Inspiration: the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

As I sit here with my lap-top in front of the TV, watching the NCAA basketball championships, I am reminded of how I got into this spot in my life to begin with. I grew up in the 60s and 70s, as a lot of people did, with the wonders of television. Talking was not a pastime of choice in my family, so instead of dealing with problems and issues, we escaped the awkwardness through sports, sitcoms, and the Carol Burnette Show. I equate T.V. watching with reward, relaxation and a general feeling of peace.

The problem is that even though binge watching Breaking Bad or the Gilmore Girls is very entertaining, it doesn’t often inspire me to do something meaningful with my life. And even if it did, I have already set my mundane routine into motion ….so as I pull myself up out of the crevice I have created in my couch, I find it very hard to veer off the path I have taken pretty much my entire life.

So here I am. I am inspired often, and even get comments from others about how my Facebook posts inspire them to think more about life and do great things. The problem is STAYING inspired long enough to get up and do something! I want to write a book, serve the poor, write more music, and meditate. I want to pray more, minimize my possessions and make and save more money so that I can retire early and travel.

Yet here I am, watching Kentucky trying to beat North Carolina (Go Wildcats!). And as I sit here, none of the above desires will even begin to be fulfilled. Then I will get tired, go to sleep, get up, go to work, come home tired, sit on the couch, and then….well you know what happens.  We sit on the couch and wave to our life as it passes by.

Well no more!! I am starting this blog to help me STAY inspired long enough to make my life exciting again. I’m going to write more, explore more, meditate and pray more. I’m going to think of ways to serve others, meet needs, and create beauty. And, I’m going to watch T.V. less. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with watching a little T.V. here and there. But NO ONE has gotten to the end of their life wishing they had seen the last episode of Downton Abbey (a show that I love by the way).

Yikes, I am feeling apprehensive just thinking about this change. Do I just limit T.V. time or go cold turkey? I’ll let you know. Either way, I can’t wait to discover more about myself, my loved ones, my backyard, and my neighborhood. Perhaps new dreams will finally be able to get my attention; attention that I once wasted on binge watching the Gilmore Girls. I don’t think Lorelai and Rory will miss me….