Sunday, November 1, 2015

Tidy Mind

If you come across something that does not spark joy
but that you just can't bring yourself to throw away,
stop a moment and ask yourself, 'Am I having trouble getting rid of this because of an attachment to the past or because of a fear for the future?'
Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Since taking a ride on Marie Kondo's tidy-magic bandwagon, I've been feeling tender and open as I let go of things which I had been keeping 'in case'. It's turning out to be quite the practical practice of trusting the present moment, where I actually live. 

'Just In Case' drawing (markers) by Jude Spacks

As Kondo-san says, attachment to the past can make decisions murky. But what is this 'past' I find myself clutching on to, related to some forsaken item? A memory, an outdated plan, a storyline, a shifting mental position which reality has already left behind. 

'Attaching to Past Thought' cartoon by Jude Spacks

"The worst thing that can happen is a thought."--Byron Katie
Fear for the future happens in the imagination, too, like the past does. It is an uncomfortable current thought-form, no matter how valid its predictions. 

Future-fear seems to be trying to protect me from experiencing thought-feelings that might or might not show up in reaction to things that may or may not occur. I doubt it helps much to prepare for what may actually happen later on–I'm more likely to be resourceful in the unknown future moment if I'm not weighted with anticipatory worry. 

'Thinking Future Thought Now' cartoon by Jude Spacks

Trying to make the 'right' decisions now to keep myself from thinking unhappy thoughts later is a tense, defensive way to live. It's a neat, self-fulfilling, often unconscious, theory that if I do the 'right' thing I get to feel good, but if I make a mistake, I'll have to feel bad.

'Fear of Future Thought' drawing (markers and digital) by Jude Spacks

Do thoughts (and the feelings they bring) really play by these rules? 

For instance, sometimes I see with hindsight that I made a regrettable choice and yet still feel just fine, knowing I did the best I could at the time. Sometimes I give myself a hard time with no justification whatsoever from 'mistakes'. Things happen that aren't what I imagined I wanted and I may still enjoy a clear, open, grateful mind about them–or, not. 

'JoySpark Thought?' cartoon by Jude Spacks

Thought-feelings will come and go, including thoughts that call choices good or bad. Thoughts take available evidence about circumstances and spin it however they do, and, so what? Why take them so seriously? Keep what sparks joy, for now.

“I think 99 times and find nothing.
I stop thinking, swim in silence, and the truth comes to me.”
--Albert Einstein

'Blue Thought' cartoon by Jude Spacks


Want to have a happier relationship with your own thinking?
Check out whether a coaching conversation might be just-right support
for reconnecting with your own wisdom and commonsense.

Here's another post on liberation from self-government by Bogus Thought Laws: 
Woman Stops Braining Herself With Carrot Stick