When I lay in bed at night, I think of all I accomplished during the day, things I could have done or said differently…things I hope for tomorrow.
I like to explore ideas and figure out exactly where I stand on issues of the day. I consider my stance on body image. I mull over the level of poverty in my neighborhood, in my state, in my country, in the world. I focus on big solutions for little problems such as build tiny houses for the homeless. These whiz through my brain at a million miles an hour like a constant hum of distant activity that I can’t quite pin down. It sometimes gets worse when the lights go out.
As I watch others struggling with similar issues in their heart-minds, it occurs to me that being in the now, being mindful, is meaningful to me. The woulda-coulda-shouldas are distractions from what’s really happening. They are ways my mind tells me that I’m ditching out on things all day long (even though they’re there) so that I can survive. I build up a dam of “Yes, sir. No, sir” all day and in the still of the night my mind has a chance to breathe the emotions I’ve suppressed during the day. It’s the larger than life minutia that builds frustration, anxiety, misdeeds mishandled and things that cause the water to break through the dam.
Since I started paying attention to my emotions as they come dancing or more accurately stated, aggressively plowing through my mind, I don’t have as much trouble falling asleep at night as long as I take the emotion realize it and then set it down.
Mindfulness: Lay Your Mind to Rest.
What does it mean to set thoughts down? It’s acknowledging that they exist, but not paying any more mind to it than necessary. I find myself less likely to give in to my knee jerk reactions if I see them and face them. Paying enough attention to “see” them but not be ruled by them helps tremendously. I don’t have to spend hours creating probable scenarios based on my reactions. It is just another thought, another idea, another part of me that desires attention.
What can I do to change the problem I see? Nothing? Let it go. A donation? Make it. Some time spent in my community? Do it.
In Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series, a particular line sticks in my head. Loosely quoted, “You already know what the problem is, think of the solution.” Solutions don’t come to those who focus solely on what’s wrong with the world. Solutions happen when we shift focus. It eases the mind to realize that what we’re allowing ourselves to think about is exactly what we’re becoming. If we focus on nothing but the issues, that’s what we continue to find.
There is, in my experience, a greater sense of personal accomplishment even in failing at my endeavor and a stronger sense of purpose even if I get sidetracked with a better idea. Transitioning to acknowledging problems as pathways to solutions and continually growing our personal goals, creates an energy that reaches out as tendrils towards like-minded people.
Spend time thinking deep thoughts and focus attention on the outcome, not the enduring struggle. Find your footing among probable solutions. Blame doesn’t matter. Personal power is found within you and entire communities.
Take a deep breath, think, Let go.