I am really worried about the future. I am 54 years of age, my daughter, who I have brought up on my own since she was two, is about to start university, my mother isnt getting any younger, my pension fund is not going to produce what I expected and I feel the future is going to be a really lonely place. These were the thoughts of a friend of ours who came to stay with us recently. The thoughts of an overworked, stressed, caring, dedicated professional woman.
So what is the answer? All the feelings expressed by Sue are real and none are going to go away with a drop of the hat. So what can be done?
The conversations we had together started with her thoughts. We have a choice between quality thinking and quantity thinking. When Sue drops into quantity thinking, like here, she generates many useless thoughts that swirl around in her head making her tired, and reducing her self respect. The problem is that the world rewards quantity thinking. It makes us think that we have to be in control all the time. Makes us feel inadequate if we dont cover all the bases.
The alternative is quality thoughts. With good quality thoughts we recognize our greatness and what is possible in life. We get to experience happiness and self respect.
During our conversation we asked Sue: what was she good at?
What qualities did she admire in herself?
What did she think were her greatest successes in life?
What are her particular strengths that she could depend on now and in the future?
In quality thoughts she was giving love, and attention to herself. She was not telling herself any lies. She was just refocusing her thoughts. You dont have to think of a number of thoughts to uplift you, one quality thought has the power to uplift you in a second
The next killer is our tendency to pass judgement on others. To focus on anothers shortcomings and the urge to criticise and correct others. When we think negatively about other people all the time it makes our mind and body really heavy and restricts our thinking. When we start thinking about the personality of others we overshadow our own true personality. And gradually, we begin to resemble that other personality, including their defects. By letting people go from our mind, we lift all restrictions of thinking, and release our original qualities again. Our mind becomes light and we can use all our talents with confidence.
The third problem Sue brought with her was the tendency not to let go of the past. Sometimes, especially when we feel down, we remember every single thing that happens; we hold on to past memories and interactions and constantly revise them in our minds. Due to overwork, Sue was acting just like a frightened young bird: holding on to a branch or small twig. Too frightened to let go and fly again. The secret to overcome this behaviour is to use the method of the full stop. When you feel life is getting on top of you treat life the same as a novel. By this we mean. When you write and come to the end of a sentence you apply a full stop to show you have completed that part and wish to continue again. The same with life. When you start to replay all your recent experiences in your head. STOP. APPLY A FULL STOP. Start a new paragraph. The incidents have passed. There is absolutely nothing you can do about them now. So let them go. Start again with a clean slate. On reflection Sue realised that she does this at work. As the last client leaves the building a new one is now sitting in front of her and Sue is able to give her all her attention. By living in this way, in the present, with practice you can easily let go of any negative feelings about people or situations that surround you.
Gradually Sue began to relax, open up and acknowledge that she wasnt really worried about the future. She had just allowed her negative thoughts and tiredness to change her view of the world. All she needed was to find a way to breakthrough her way of thinking and see what was really there. As Sue said as she was leaving, I just needed to give my head a wash.
Graham and Julie