How do we grow, to experience more of what life has to offer?
For a good portion of my life I felt stuck and not happy with where I was at. I had this constant feeling that there was more for me in this life. Even when things were stable and good I still had a feeling that I was sinking and something was not right, I needed more. For the most part I sought the “more” through longer hours at work, buying “more” things and having “more” debt and becoming “more” unhappy in the process. I have searched and tried many things over the years to only be left standing at the very place I began. I wanted more in life, I needed more in life because the life I was living just didn’t seem to fit. If I was ever going to experience more in life something needed to change. I wanted off the wheel I was running. In this blog I will be discussing how I was able to turn this around and change my life for the better.
My Internal dialog
It wasn’t until I started to look at the quality of my thoughts that I began to realize just how toxic my mind had become. I had an internal voice that ran a negative commentary on just about everything. I was hard on myself and everyone around me. No matter what was happening in the moment I was in, I always seemed to find a way to spin a negative forecast onto it. Even when there was nothing to complain about, I would find a way to project myself into a past moment or a future moment that had not yet come to pass. I could be having the time of my life and right in the middle of it all, I would have a thought, “Crap! The day is almost over, I have to go to work tomorrow in that stinking factory.” I had become addicted to my toxic thinking and for the most part, I didn’t even know it was happening most of the time. In my mind, I had created an entire infrastructure that was a maze of roads and they were all leading to the same place, insanity or my own living hell.
The realization that my mind was full of toxic thoughts came to me when I started to take an interest in spirituality. I began reading books and taking in new knowledge to repave all my roads with better and nicer thoughts.
Eventually, I had repaved almost every road in my mind, however all the roads still led to the same place, crazy town. I thought by adding more and new beliefs, that my mind would be a better place to hang out in. Nothing really changed for me. Instead of feeling low most of the time and pretending I was happy, I pretended I was happy all the time and felt like I was on a roller coaster that never stopped going up and down. Positive thinking on its own was like adding more bread to a shit sandwich.
What I really needed to do to change my inner dialog was to set it down. Yes that’s it. Set it down. When the negative commentary starts and you notice it, stop. Let go of the thought and just carry on like nothing happened. Think of it this way, if you were on a long hike up a mountain and you noticed there was a rock in your shoe, would you stop and dump it out or would you keep walking, allowing the rock to cause you pain? Letting go of a thought is as easy as dropping a rock. As soon as you let it go it no longer causes you pain.
My Unwillingness to change
For the most part I had been unwilling to let go of my past, needing to hang on to my sorrows and wounds to maintain my sense of self, and my identity. I received a huge charge to my ego by clinging to my wounds. I was the fat kid who struggled with self-worth and who had been abused by his brother. I held that label most of my adult life, allowing it to haunt me daily creating an unhealthy attachment to my past and the labels others had placed on me. My unwillingness to let go of my past allowed me a reason to feel angry and sad. I needed my past to justify the way I felt and behaved in my life. Carrying those old wounds gave me the right to be intolerant and pissed off. If I let go of my past, the only thing I would have been left with was that I was an asshole. It seemed better to be a broken asshole who was sad and angry.
The catalyst for changing this paradigm in my mind started with acceptance. I needed to accept that things happened to me that I didn’t like. My acceptance allowed me to lay down the sword so to speak. I stopped fighting with the thoughts in my mind. I no longer wanted to wrestle with the memories that were painful.
Letting go had seemed impossible most of my life, I felt trapped and destined to be forever stuck in my past. In my acceptance, there was a possibility to let go of my stories and stop the tape loop running in my mind. However, just because I accepted that I felt harmed and was beginning to let these things go, didn’t mean that I was instantly free of my past and the burdens I carried along with me most of my life.
At first the letting go happened ten thousand times a day, but over time it became less and less. As the thoughts of the past would arise, I just let them go. Just like I mentioned earlier, like dumping a rock out of your shoe. What I noticed over time, was that I was becoming more willing to let go when I felt hurt or sad inside. The charge my ego received by replaying the stories in my mind paled in comparison to the peace I was beginning to experience. At times, I needed to repeat the process because I would slowly begin to revert back to the old dialogues in my mind. The key is to notice when this is happening and move back to acceptance and surrender and let go. For some, this entire process can be simple and for others, you may need to be vigilant in your practice of letting go.
Standing in the place of change
It’s from this place that we are able to make great changes in our lives. Changes that are right, positive and in alignment with our purpose. The mind can carry more weight than we can handle in our lives and the result of all that weight is a life of struggle and disease. The more trapped in my head I became, the harder life had become for me. With nothing weighing us down we are able to make better life decisions. We make better decisions because the path ahead becomes clearer to us.
Just maybe what you will discover is that nothing really has to change in your life. By eliminating the negative dialog and letting go of the past, you just might love the place you’re in.