Directed by Thought
Thoughts are key agents in our human process. They channel our energy toward the creation of what we want… or its opposite. Being mindful involves, in part, knowing what our thoughts are and learning to guide them gently in the right direction. Clients who had a challenging background – trauma survivors, those who are working through depression, people whose anxiety or grief is overwhelming – can often heal if they know how powerful their thoughts are. Rather than denying our difficult thoughts or repressing them, we can learn to allow and release them. If we work at it, we can learn to understand, honor, and ease thoughts of sadness and to replace them with thoughts of our own conscious choice.
e following is an excerpt from a Client’s journal. Her background was challenging. There have been difficult moments in her healing process. She has worked tirelessly and consciously to be healthy and to engage her creative potential. I think that you will like her results. I have my Client’s permission to share these notes with you. They have been edited to omit identifying details.
I am moving more and more towards discipline.
How I can shave things down in life to do what I really want? First you figure what YOU really want (not what you think you should want based on other people’s ideas). You see what you would just love to do. Even if it seems impossible, I move in that direction.
I cultivate regular unquestioned habits that I resolve to do pretty much no matter what. I have a few of those now, especially morning routine and study habits, healthy eating and drinking water, breathing, walking, simple prayer, AA meetings, time with Josh and Noah.
I am strengthening basic disciplines so I will be ready to refine and add others. I am making big progress with mindfulness throughout the day; that is a discipline which is also essential to me. It is more challenging than the others but worth more too. Actually, they all work together.
When I am in the moment and worry comes, I am able to tell myself, “Yes, you will probably need to be a caregiver for your parents someday, but it is not now. Now you are folding laundry. Just be here and fold the laundry.” It calms me right down. I have a big three hour group presentation tomorrow, and I have stayed calm by using mindfulness. I ignore worry. I prepare and tell myself just to show up and do it. Things turn out better this way.
Here are things I value:
- Health: physical, mental, spiritual (balancing my energy)
- Education: learning, sharing what I’ve learned
- The practice of mindfulness
- Nature (this is God to me)
- Playing, laughing, imagining, telling stories, making people laugh, hearing other people tell stories…
I love stories! And encouraging people to tell theirs!
- Writing, music, reading
- My family
- Simplicity, quiet, being alone: this one is so important for rejuvenation, it is a challenge too especially with the family
Everything is getting more focused, more clear, little by little.
I have had four days totally alone at home (family is still on vacation). It is like peaceful waves of water washing over me. So wonderful.
I think I can get more of this calm even when family is home when I strengthen my boundaries and learn how to stay inside myself. That is key. That’s what I’m working on also.
One Person, All People
My Client’s process has not been easy. It is still not easy. It is, however, in my opinion (and, I hope, in hers) beautiful, mindful, interesting, helpful to others, spiritual, evolutionary, and even revolutionary. Her journey has affected many people and will affect many more. If all of us engaged in a process as thoughtful and as compassionate as hers, what would our world be like in five years? In ten?
What do you want? What do you value? Where does your journey lead? What can you give to others along the way? These questions seem as essential to me as they do, apparently, to my Client.