What’s In Your Thought-Closet?
It’s time to spring-clean
“Do you know most of today’s thoughts happened yesterday too?”
“What do you mean?”
“Research shows, lots — up to 98% according to at least one report — of your thoughts are exactly the same as those you had the previous day.”
“Really? Are you sure?” Grace looked perturbed.
“Yep. And much of what you think about is negative.”
“Who told you?”
“It’s similar for everyone. Our brains are like merry-go-rounds,” I replied. “The same old junk pops up and down all the time.”
Our worries are rarely new. We’ve entertained them many times before, and the critical voice in our head isn’t fluent in positivity.
“Well, that stinks. It makes us seem like badly functioning robots.”
“Yeah. Maybe we should do what Elizabeth Gilbert suggests in her book Eat, Pray, Love.” I glanced at Grace, wondering whether she was interested.
“Oh. Okay. I remember. Something about treating your thoughts like they’re clothes in your closet. Choosing the ones you want.”
She was listening after all.
Mostly, our thoughts flow uncontrollably. We don’t even attempt to master our minds. We go over past slights and concerns about the future. Knowing the only moment that exists is now doesn’t stop us filling our heads with yesterday’s rubbish.
“That’s just it. So, you wouldn’t wear the same old clothes every day.”
“No. That would be gross.”
“You’d carefully select what you wanted to wear, choosing what suits you.”
“It sounds good in theory,” Grace mumbled, “but in practice… It would be hard work. You only change your clothes once or perhaps twice a day, depending on where you are going. Your thought-closet would offer you fresh outfits all day long.”
I pondered the dilemma.
“You could choose one main outfit, I mean thought, and do your best to keep thinking it.”
“Hmm. Sometimes,” said Grace, “I’m not great at selecting attractive clothes to begin with. It might be a problem. I go with whatever’s comfy, even if there are better garments available.”
“That’s a good point. You might think the same old negative thoughts because you’re used to them. They help you stay in your comfort zone.”
“Right. Wearing new thoughts may be like putting on new shoes. They’re tight at first. You prefer your worn-out favorites, although they are no good.”
“You’d have to bring your awareness back to the thought you like when it strays. Wear it in until it molds itself to your shape.”
We can’t take hold of our thoughts, discarding those we don’t want unless we’re aware of them and our ability to choose better ones.
“Do you think you could do it all day long?” Grace wanted to know if it was workable.
“Maybe not. I might practice for ten minutes every hour. Or just do it when I walk to work.”
“That’s a start I guess.”
What’s in your thought-closet? Is it stuffed to the brim with worn-out, robotic threads of negativity?
I’d like to say mine isn’t, but it gets stuck, much like the needle of a record player on vinyl, if I’m not attentive.
Grace got excited for a second and announced she was clearing out the wardrobe in her head. “Spring’s nearly here” she trilled.
Amused I mentioned it would be helpful to keep a few of her best outfits, or she’d have nothing to say.
“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.” Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
Copyright © 2019 Bridget Webber. All rights reserved
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