Our thoughts are a constant running train following the tracks around and through our mind; there are no breaks, there are not stop overs, it is a constant unending noise that can, and does, drive one to distraction. Sometimes as the train passes by our subconscious, a thought may stare out the window and our mind grabs at it. This notion could be real, relating to an actual event, a past memory, or it could be a ‘what if’ kind of idea that never fails to play the devil with our emotions. Once we get hold of this ‘what if’ we are like a cat with a mouse, we worry it to death and stain our day with its blood.
My massage therapist Nicole likens the thought train to a conveyor belt moving continuously day in, day out, making me envision millions of memories, ideas, and opinions tumbling like rocks, sand and diamonds across the jiggling surface, all of them crying out for my attention. It brings to mind gold diggers sifting through their sieves chucking the bad, keeping the gold (good/gold…pardon the pun!).
Nicole explained that if we pick up a thought that does not sit well, we must learn to put it back and look for another. This is an important point that needs to be understood…choice… we have a choice! We can, and should, turn away from some of our thoughts, ignore them, or totally disregard them if necessary, as we would strange dreams and nightmares conjured up during our dark sleeping hours.
What I would like to add to both the train and the conveyor belt image is a megaphone shrieking: Step away, step back…alert!…danger!…noise blaring, lights flashing, some one save me kind of thing…that way I can’t miss the pitfalls identified with the reflection that wants my attention. It’s like in the movies when the music starts to build…slowly at first… then faster, faster, faster…as the character we love moves closer to the peril she/he has no idea is there! Remember the music climbing suddenly as the shark approached at mega speed in Jaws? Or…wait!…wait!…the knife slashing music as the attacker approached Janet Leigh in the shower scene in Hitchcock’s Psycho. How could she possibly not have heard the music warning her of the imminent danger? The water pressure in a motel back then would nary make a sound, she should have heard!
That is exactly what we need in life don’t you think?…music following us, protecting us, the gentle notes that climb the scales when we are about the fall in love, the ominous dark tones when a struggle is around the corner, the lulling sound of rain falling when it’s clearly time to take a nap…sigh…it would certainly make life a lot easier to navigate.
The fact is I want an escape hatch, a cloaking device that will protect me from my own thoughts, at least until I have gained the strength that will allow me to turn peacefully away. You would think that at this point in my life, when I have finally stumbled into my mature years, I would already have a firm grasp, or at the very least a steady reassuring hold, on those maddening perceptions that will most certainly lead me astray. But no, not I, there is naught but a shaking tenuous connection that does little to guide me.
As much as my personal train derails me at times…ha!…who am I kidding, the majority of time my thoughts and I careen over the edge clinging to each other screaming heartedly as we plunge into the abyss…but the truth is, I need each and every one of them, even the tired and worried portions, because they may just fit perfectly into a story yet to come. They are the fuel for my creativity, even if I am not yet ready to face them.
So it comes back to control. Independent thoughts are just that, independent, and unruly, therefore I need to investigate even further into other options of restraint.
One method I found rather interesting, due to the fact it makes me smile, and to be truthful it seems to work, at least as a distraction, even if for only a short duration. The premise is this… whenever a repetitive thought makes an appearance and hangs on with the tenacity of a bulldog, think of an elk walking into the room.
See?! You saw an elk walking into a room didn’t you? I love it! I thank Martha Beck from the Oprah magazine for this gem.
This technique works for me because, for one, I am easily distracted; I’m like a magpie lured in another direction by a shiny object that has been spied off in the distance. However in turn, shortly after the elk has made its appearance in the room, thereby squashing the nagging beliefs, I become hypnotized by yet another worry that has slipped in the back door, so I am pushed to introduce yet another elk, and another, and another. Just the other day I had about fifty elks socializing away whilst I was checking out the train zipping by the window. Like many things in my life, it’s a work in progress.
I will continue to practice, to fine tune each system that works for me, for I do hunger for moments of quiet in my mind, in my life; however if I cannot avoid the thought completely, I hope to develop the ability to see what truth lies beyond. There is, I believe, a thin curtain between what is good and what is bad, and I need to stop being afraid of what I may see when I look further.
I must learn to trust myself…and my thoughts.