Originally Published - June 29, 2016
I've been working with a life-coach lately who happens to be one of my idols. This woman should be the life coach of the world. Her heart is the biggest I have ever known and its' capacity for good and love knows no bounds. The first time I met her I instantly knew I needed to be around her. Her brightly colored shirts (usually tie-dye), her smile and attitude are all infectious. One of her many life mottos is "Life is too short to wear boring colors" and I think she's on to something. She owns her truth, trusts her path and creates room in her own life and others for creativity to flourish. All-in-all she is amazing.
And the woman has the patience of a saint. I mean, I know I am not the easiest subject with which to work....I have the attention span of an elderly beta fish (I assume their attention span worsens with age and beta's have the prettiest colors) and have a terrible habit of interrupting. I'm working on both of these things daily.
Her first assignment to me was to simply wake up in the morning and write. The instructions around this assignment were simple - don't judge your thoughts, there is no goal but to let what's on your mind out on paper. The point being to declutter your brain, allowing more room for creativity to flow. Made sense to me - I got a journal and was set to go!
There were several reasons I thought I could tackle this assignment and enjoy it with no qualms.
1. I teach yoga, I meditate and I know how difficult being with your thoughts can be. I have found the benefits of meditation to be extraordinary and I can always tell when I am missing out on my practice of stillness because my anxiety begins to creep up (or slam directly into my face). But this assignment....has been totally different.
Though I still have my difficult days quieting my mind, I have accepted that part of the journey of meditation is, in fact, recognizing your thoughts and attempting to move back to stillness. That exercise IS the meditation. It's not necessarily sitting completely still with a quiet mind for 20 minutes but the PRACTICE of trying to do so.
2. I like to write, I have since I was a little kid, so I figured writing my morning thoughts down wouldn't be a problem and would be something I would enjoy....
....INSTEAD I have been avoiding it like you avoid an ex boyfriend in the aisles of Target. Every chance I have I dart to something else, stare at this blank page and make an excuse to look away: I probably need to check Twitter, I need some water, well now I have to pee, I should pick up those clothes, put those dishes away - I do chores to avoid forcing myself down to write.
Turns out for me, being completely alone with my thoughts and having them stare back up at me is somewhat terrifying. The insecurity around it screams of the dream where you show up to a party in middle school and everyone immediately begins talking about you.... is it my clothes? my hair? do I have something in my teeth? The thought literally made (makes) me nauseated.
I was shocked by the revelation of this of total avoidance and fear. I am no longer afraid of a dark, quiet mind I can (sometimes) achieve by meditation but I am TERRIFIED of working through the madness and chaos that is my mind.
To actually write my thoughts down on paper, unedited gives me a slight panic attack. It takes me back to my first few times in savasana when I thought the teacher was crazy to leave me alone in a quiet room expecting me to just LAY there....that was MADNESS.... and well, now, it's a new verse in my song about my favorite things (cue Julie Andrews).
The mind can be a dark and scary place - not because we are dark and scary people but because we don't allow ourselves to explore it often. To shut off the nonsense, the notifications on our phone, the news alerts, the shiny thing over there.....Oh, look, SQUIRREL.... it take major practice! To actually BE alone with ourselves, with our own thoughts, with the present moment is difficult, it's tedious and it isn't always fun but man, just like anything else.... practice pays off.
I'm slowly overcoming the fear of my own thoughts. Of writing them down. Facing the truth of what I'm always thinking and seeing it stare back up at me. But through the practice of writing out the nonsense something amazing has begun. I'm dreaming more often, I'm continually writing down ideas for business and life, finding more inspiration and overall being much more productive.
This practice is a different form of meditation - sometimes it's junk, but sometimes it's not. It's the dedication and discipline of the practice that brings about extraordinary results. We are not guaranteed to be amazing just because we are born - we have to tap into ourselves and find what our extraordinary is and then SHARE THAT!
My fear held me back from some of those benefits for almost 2 months...60 days of pure avoidance. Fear holds us back, causes us to procrastinate, find something else on which to focus, taking us off task and out of the moment at hand. FEAR IS A DIRTY LIAR.
So ya, I'm still afraid of the dark that is my mind, but slowly I'm seeing it more for the amazing thing it is...even if it is scary. After all, life is not only too short to wear boring colors, but it's too short to not know what it is you dream of to create your own colorful, vibrant life.
Here's to my mentor, life-coach and friend Linda Rae and to many more colorful pages of scribbles, notes and ideas.