Historically, I’m not great at letting goodness into my life.
I am skeptical of good things.
Something as a simple as a complement makes me anxious, leaves me wondering what I have done to deserve such goodness.
After a massage the other day, my masseuse handed me a glass of water and said, “You have a very strong mind. I say this without judgement, but you do not let good thoughts in. Stop fighting your body. Trust, have faith and all that negative, painful energy will come out.”
The next day, this quote, by Ajahn Chah, was inside a fortune cookie:
“If you let go a little, you will have a little happiness. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of happiness. And if you let go completely, you will be free.”
My masseuse always had a way of knowing what was going on underneath my physical pain. So I did not take his words lightly. And after seeing the words on the tiny strip of paper inside a fortune cookie, I knew it was an omen.
The next few days I began to observe my thoughts, my reactions to other people and anticipations. I noticed that I spent a lot of time worrying, not about anything of great significance, but little things like how I would accomplish all the items on my to do list, ongoing petty conflicts with family members, rejections and disappointments, bad weather, upcoming doctors appointments.
I judged, blamed myself. I anticipated my actions would result in a negative outcome.
I am too organized, my organization drives others nuts, I am not patient enough, I say the wrong thing…
When I realized the importance I was giving to negative thoughts, it really sank in how much I was allowing them to change everything I saw around me. And l clung to these negative thoughts like a child clings to bunch of balloons she doesn’t want to set free.
It is a survival mechanism to ruminate over negative thoughts. Repeating a mistake twice may have very well killed our ancestors—picking and eating a poisonous berry, for example.
My worries were not a life or death matter, yet I treated them that way.
The masseuse was right, I could not trust to just let things happen. I clung to those negative thoughts like balloons in the hands of a girl fearing to let go because she believes she will never have goodness again. I believe if I set the balloons free, I will be judged as untrustworthy, irresponsible and unworthy.
So how did I stop making negativity my default thought? I had to stop making everything about me. I was making myself the source, cause and root of all bad things. The last time I checked, I did not carry a magic f*ck-up wand.
To get out of my thoughts, I had to start observing everything around me. So I started taking time, it started with five minutes each day, to observe everything that was going on around me. I watched the sun rise in the morning. I sat in a coffee shop and watched other people. I observed my dog.
What this helped me realize that things went on perfectly smoothly around me.
My very presence was not messing anything up. The sun still rose every morning. People got their coffee and read newspapers, My dog played. The only thing that was messing things up was my own trepidation. So like releasing balloons into the air I decided to let my negative thoughts run free.
Each time a bad thought came into my mind, I told myself it wasn’t true. It began with little things like driving to the gym in the rain. Slowly, it worked up to bigger things. Each time, I envisioned myself letting go of a balloon. Watching it float away and burst into the air.
It was and still is a conscious effort, but little by little I am becoming free I am setting each one free.
Author: Jane CoCo Cowles
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: cea +/Flickr