I’m following my thoughts, or they are following me. Paved neural pathways carry me down trails of self-doubt, I don’t even notice. Thoughts are chasing me into corners, but it’s my own voice speaking, so I am not alarmed. It happens every day, this predictable demise of self-love.
Sometimes it is the small thoughts that wake me up. Small, repetitive, tedious thoughts. Nagging, list-making, flaw-finding thoughts. Insidious thoughts – they take over and I don’t stop them. They sound like the voice of reason, driving down these neural pathways that are more like neural ruts. I am beginning to catch them before hours go by, before my whole day has been shadowed by doubt and dissatisfaction.
More and more, these life-sucking thoughts are being caught by the light of my own inner awareness. They are becoming more noticeable, like red flags. More and more, I bring myself to back away from the abyss of self-loathing….for that is exactly where the neural ruts lead me. They all tell me I am garbage, in so many words. Even (and sometimes especially) the “self-improvement” thoughts also lead me to that trashy feeling. These thoughts are tricky, like I said!
They often present as subtle, grating, fear-based reasons for pervasive, fear-based questions.
“What is wrong with me?”
“Why am I fucked up?”
“Why do I do everything wrong?”
“Why do I suck at ______________?” (parenting, relationships, adulting, etc.)
“Why am I a horrible_______________?” (insert noun)
When I look behind these thoughts – that are actually narrow, self-absorbed and self-loathing fantasies – I see where they are coming from.
I see the scared me.
The exhausted me.
The hurting me.
I see the me that has almost given up, but not quite, and if I could just have a hug and some love and some grounding energy, then maybe I’d be okay.
But I am alone.
It is up to me.
“It’s okay, baby” I say.
I stroke my own arm.
“You’re all good, kid” I whisper, hugging myself.
“This life shit is hard sometimes. You are human. You are on a spiritual quest with all the trappings of the body: Pleasure, Pain, Duality. Joy, Loss, Grief. Anger, Hate, Jealousy, Despair. Fear and Desire. Empathy. Love.”
And with this quiet reminder, my tears are flowing and my heart is bursting with forgiveness – for this struggle, for the precarious nature of life, for myself, my friends, and for those who would be my enemies.
My neural pathways are being weeded and plowed. The farmer of my mind is not my thoughts.
The Farmer tills the soil of my very heart.
My mind gives up resistance, in glimpses, here and there. New neural pathways are explored.
This is more pleasure than I thought possible! Are you sure this is allowed?
“Yes,” says the Farmer, “It’s your life.”