I was away for the weekend with friends. The plan was to think about our future, talk about our vision, our dreams, our goals, and create a fabulously enjoyable experience out of it. Given my passion for empowering people to free their own potential, I was really keen to get going!
In the afternoon, as we were walking through a lovely English countryside town, I looked at the time and started to hold negative thoughts. I noticed myself becoming irritated that we were running late and more and more frustrated. I found myself feeling increasingly stressed. I got nervous as I started thinking that we would not have enough time to do our goals in the afternoon if we kept walking around, visiting antique shops. Obviously this was a matter close to my heart; I really loved the idea of envisioning our future, what we would commit to, what we could achieve. You know what it’s like, don’t you? When you have something you just really want to do and can’t wait to get out there; feeling like a horse raring to gallop across the beach. But by the looks of things (from the only reality I could see at the time), I became convinced I was the only one to consider and feel excited by that (bullsh*t thinking). It seemed to me I was the only one feeling that way, because I was the only one having these thoughts. I felt irritated that my friends would not even manage to notice and become aware of the fact that we were wasting time. Because obviously, we should all have wanted exactly what I wanted in this moment. Right? (bullsh*t expectation).
Now, not wanting to come across as needy and being a pain to the group (bullsh*t excuse), I decided not to voice my irritation and kept my mouth shut; my body language leaking out more, and more, and more, what my internal maelstrom was about. I really did not need to say anything for anyone to know that I was not having a good time. And somehow, there was this sick voice inside of me hoping that this would happen. I was expecting that one of my friends would notice what my body language was supposed to communicate without me having to voice anything, and that they would then decide to say out loud what I really wanted them to think about: “let’s go talk about our dreams!”. I was in fantasy land! I was hoping one of my friends would somehow silently agree with me and decide to do the work of being the “needy” one in my stead because I did not even have the courage to stand up to my own desires (ultimate bullsh*t)!
I’m not joking. Are you laughing yet? I mean COME ON! HOW F*CKED UP IS THAT?! I hope you’re crying your eyes out now, realising how RIDICULOUS that was, and how easy it would have been to just communicate clearly and then enjoy the ride.
There is something fundamentally wrong with the way I used my thinking then. I was enslaved to my thoughts rather than able to recognise them as what they were, as I am doing now. We can use our amazing capacity to think in a way that serves us when we understand that thoughts are not real. They seem real because they produce our feelings, but they are only thoughts and we can choose to change them. They are not real.
We are all guilty of similar illusions from time to time, aren’t we? The funny thing is: we are the illusionist and we don’t even know it.
So what is your loop? What is the spiral thinking you find yourself caught up in every once in a while that generates feelings of frustration, anger, stress, nervousness, resentment…? What assumptions are you making up about others to turn the spark into a bushfire?
Einstein once said: “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one”. For a long time, I did not really know what he meant. Now I’m beginning to see it.