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Monday, December 19, 2011

Fighting the Gremlins


I've never been an "in the moment" kind of gal. I've been a planner....more truthfully, a worrier. I have a mind that actually gets a sick enjoyment out of creating elaborate, apocalyptic possibilities. When I was recently faced with a very difficult situation, my mind saw its opportunity to do real damage, and ran with it. Over the following months, it took any chance it found to grab the worst  tidbit of any conversation or situation and create a "reality" that did not exist, making an already painful experience almost unbearable. I believed it all...and I was in agony from an imaginary creation.

But...although I may be gullible, I'm not stupid, and I can learn. And this is what I have (and am continuing to) discover: it really, truly is simply a figment of your imagination.  And you really, truly can decide how to respond. Yes, bad things happen (to ALL of us), but worrying about the possibility of what could happen is counterproductive and even harmful. Instead the key is to stay present; to truly notice what is directly in front of you at any given moment.

I don't mean this metaphorically, I mean it literally. What do your hands look like?  What does the air smell like?  What does the ground under your feet feel like?  Asking yourself these questions--and really focusing on the answers--has the tremendous power to bring you back to the literal here and now. With that solid present moment, you are able to diffuse the pain and pressure of your imagination and return to true reality.

I say none of this lightly. I know how hard it is to do this thing that sounds so simple. It is a skill that must be purposefully practiced, and has yet to become "easy" or "automatic" to me. My mind is a powerful gremlin, and it still sneaks up and grabs me from behind at times. When this happens now, though, I can most often stop myself in the process of spiraling down, focus my eyes on an object in front of me, and ultimately find my way back to the present--to what is actually real and true.This does not mean that reality is always "good", "happy", or "easy", but it is something that is actionable, and I can choose which action I want to take based on what is really happening. 

To have this power, to honestly have the ability to control your mind gremlins, to choose how to react to a situation, and to--in your heart of hearts--care for your being, is an amazingly empowering experience. So, I ask you now...what is literally right in front of you?

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