A client and I were in the middle of our first session, and we were covering the usual mind-blowing stuff about thoughts, feelings, letting go, relaxing, etc. Letting go and relaxing even when you’re busy and even when you’re making tough decisions. Just practicing this and doing your best. Because you still have to do what you’re doing, so you can practice being tight about it or you can practice relaxing your body as you do it. Either way, you’re practicing and perfecting something. So we’re simply talking about two ways of doing the same things in life that we’re going to be doing anyway. I prefer the latter.
At some point, she asked me, “Do you live this way?” And I replied that of course I do, that’s why I went back to grad school in my mid-thirties for a major career change. I’d begun to find some peace (emphasis on “begun”), and I wanted to make it my job to share it. Being a counselor was the only thing I could come up with to get the ball rolling. And rolling it is! It’s totally just beginning, too, and it’s really fun to see how it unfolds. Who knows?
Right away, I realized that what she was really asking was if I still have low moods, “bad days,” etc. And she caught that, too, and asked me that as a follow-up question. And my answer was that of course I do! And she was pleased to hear that. She wasn’t pleased because she’s evil and wants me to suffer, but rather because it meant that this wasn’t an impossible task. It wasn’t all or nothing. It’s something you simply practice, and you don’t judge how you’re doing along the way. You’ll notice it from time to time, but you don’t have to judge it. You just keep practicing.
We had a good laugh at this, which is always nice. Laughter is so powerful. So I explained that moods go up and down. That’s just what they do. When you learn that the cause is your thinking, though, and not the world directly, a lot of power has just shifted your way. Over time, you’ll notice that the low moods aren’t as low, they don’t come as often, and they don’t last as long. A more scientific way of saying this is less frequency, less duration, and less intensity. And that’s a great thing.
When you start to practice A Clean Mind, you get more in tune with your body. You know that your body has a very helpful alert system called feelings that tell you to check in with your thinking. You start to catch it earlier and earlier, when you’re just started to feel bad instead of when you already feel terrible. And you do things to change directions, starting with a relaxing breath. And a change in thinking to just sticking with the facts of the situation. If you need to, you can go for a run or a paddle. You see a movie or hang out with a friend. Those things get your mind off of what it was on. The power of distraction is great…
So definitely know that I’m not bullet proof by any stretch of the imagination. But that’s the direction I’m going, along with my clients, friends, family, and so many others these days. The bar gets raised as far as what it takes to rattle us. You’ll notice that the same things will happen, and you’ll be less rattled. When you notice this, celebrate! And give yourself a pat on the shoulder. That means it’s working. And then something really big will happen and you’ll be rattled. That’s okay, though; it just shows you where you’re at. There’s no success or failure, just learning and growing. And we have fun, too. That’s important. So happy weekend everyone. I’m off for the rest of the day, so I’m going to visit some friends I haven’t seen in years who are on vacation at a nearby beach. And I’ll take the paddleboard with me, too.