I have a chalkboard in my office upon which I write inspirational quotes. For a few weeks now, I’ve had this wonderful quote by Nayyirah Waheed: “You will be lost and unlost over and over again. Relax, Love. You were meant to be this glorious. Epic. Story.”
Relax, Love. Those were the words I needed to hear during my breakdown breakthrough. Relax. This too shall pass. No need to take it too seriously or too personally. This angst (depression, grief, anxiety, shame, anguish) is not who you are. The storm clouds will pass.
But I did take it seriously, very seriously. I created a tragic and melancholic saga from the stressful thoughts and emotions that were trying to pass through me. I did this innocently because I didn’t understand the inside out nature of life. I kept the stressful thinking alive and I seriously suffered as a result. For years. I didn’t know at the time that I had the capacity to handle what I was going through. That it didn’t define me. I didn’t know that it wouldn’t harm me at my core. I didn’t know that it would pass if I left it alone. I didn’t know that resilience and well-being were innate in me.
No. I analyzed it. Judged it. Diagnosed it. Medicated it. Ran from it. Barreled toward it. Escalated it. Tried to pray it away. Tried to drink it away. I misunderstood it. I became mired in shame and despair. I couldn’t find a way out. All I wanted was for it to end and I thought I had to end it. One way or another. I didn’t know that all those feelings of angst would end themselves by simply moving though me. In their own time. There was nothing to be afraid of all along. Relax, Love.
Sydney Banks, a philosopher and author, said, “If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.” I’ve found this to be true. As I take my moods and emotions less seriously, I find that they have minimal influence over me. As I stop adding my personal thoughts on top of the impersonal thought that is naturally passing through, I’m not as affected by them. As I become aware that I am spinning stories when I reach into the past or project into the future, I relax a bit and the fog begins to clear so that I am able to see my way forward again. Relax, Love.
You see, thoughts are impersonal. They constantly arise. That’s what thought does. As we attach to them, making them personal, we feel them. That’s how we are able to have this epic human experience.
You could think of thoughts like the painter’s palette. The painter has an array of colors available to her. She chooses which she wants to create with and she leaves the others on the palette. She creates with the colors she chooses, creating form from formlessness. Thoughts are similar. They are energy moving through us but once we start painting with them, we create our unique experiences, we create our lives. That’s why you and I and every other person can react or respond to the same situation completely differently. We are painting with different colors.
When we notice ourselves caught up in complicated thinking, analyzing, judging, reaching into the past, or projecting into the future, no problem. That’s our cue to slow down and allow our thinking to settle. We don’t get to choose which thoughts arise but we do get to choose which thoughts we paint with. If we have a stressful thought arise, we could leave it on the palette.
Relax, Love. You are resilient. That is your nature. You have all you need to move through this life with its ups and down.
I welcome your questions or comments below.
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