February 19, 2014

Thinking about what you are thinking about.

From the time I wake there is always one thought waiting for me to stir. Sometimes I want to turn it off so I put on the television, sometimes I want to change the direction of my thoughts so I read something and start a new line of discussion in my head and sometimes I want to engage thought so I find things to think about- what I am thankful for, themes from the chapter of scripture I have read or subjects from print outs/ phone messages/ previous discussion or monologue and observations I have tucked away for precisely a time as this.

Sometimes I think out loud.

I do not talk to myself in the context of a crazy person talking to someone they seem to see, i just say my thoughts out loud in my hearing.

Sometimes I talk to someone who isn’t there.

I tell them things I cannot say to them because they aren’t there, because the matter has died in the realm of dialogue but remains in the realm of thought, or because i only just knew what to say or what i would have wanted to say... “One day you will realise I am not your enemy” I say to one and “why did you do that to me” I ask the other.

Sometimes I talk to someone who is there.

Like when I talked with my friend today about what I had been thinking about.

Sometimes I think about how I have felt or thought or acted. Or I go back to an imprinted moment when I have felt something, realised I was feeling something or realised why I was feeling it.

For example, I examined with this friend a moment where I felt I needed to explain myself to someone and saw how I had explained my course of action, my reason for it and then later added the explanation of how that initial thread of events had further developed to the next person I was explaining that thing to.

Did you feel you would be accused of lying? She asked.

Did you want to avoid being misunderstood? I quizzed myself.

Could it be that I just wanted to be understood? And why?

More food for thought.

She showed understanding by sharing something she had learned from someone’s experience on dealing with thought patterns like these. He had decided that he would choose a day not to entertain the particular thought pattern he wanted to break and like in this case he would decide on a day in which he simply refused to explain himself.

I related to her example, recognising that there was something I could actually apply that to. The feeling of feeling bad.

It had occurred to me that week that I needed a break from the many things I feel bad about.

I revisited the moment I realised this telling her the things that I had been feeling bad about in the last couple of days and describing my resolution to those feelings.

I felt I hadn’t done a lot and was feeling bad about that till I had say to myself; “You know Nike, it’s ok. Instead of feeling bad for not doing something just take the load off and don’t do it without the feeling bad. It’s ok to just be and accept things as they are even if it’s just for now.”

My friend also empathized in agreement that she too was too hard on herself sometimes.

We analysed what I hadn’t done. It meant different things, one of them being that I hadn’t seen as many clients that week. 

She listened then pointed out something that made sense.

Well you had an emotionally challenging week, she said.

I did?

I stopped to consider it.

You lost a friend, she reminded.

I gave that some thought.

I hadn’t cried but I had engaged with the emotions of loss. I reasoned that my not crying might have blinded me from seeing I might still have been impacted in intangible ways by the loss. It occurred to me that Haruna sounded a little alarmed at my voice when I picked his call while writing about that death. He had asked me if I was okay with quite a bit of concern.

I continued to take inventory on my own now, sufficiently guided to ask myself what else had made the week emotionally tiring?

Someone had tried to stymie my efforts.

 I stopped and asked myself what the impact to my reserve of strength and willpower that was.

It did take some air out of me, I agreed. I had felt spent just talking about it- reporting it, and I had also felt spent worrying about how to make it stop not knowing how or if it would.

Was there any physical reaction?

Yes. I had experienced a headache and had told someone I felt stressed. 

We continued to run through my week pointing out thought patterns and actual events that summed up to the feeling of feeling bad.

I had a big meeting with one client. I had given it a lot of mental energy pre and post meeting, this too made me tired in the way you feel after anticipating something, doing it and finally getting it done- you just want to sleep.

It seemed reasonable that I might have slowed down mentally and otherwise to catch my breath.

I had stepped back and come back agreeing with her- the week had been challenging indeed.

I had a lot going on- a lot more than I realised.

The stressor might have been how I was measuring my achievement- probably the way I imagine a line manager or outsider would measure it - by the number of clients I had seen-by the length of the reports I was handing in- by what could be seen- but my friend helped me look below the surface.

I saw that I had done a lot more than I realised both on a personal and a professional level.

I had made big progress on the one client that I pursued that far outweighed aimless striving with the several I could have lengthened my reports with.

I concluded that I had been productive even by my standards, more so with all the goings on.


1 comment:

  1. Its so true! .....that we need to sometimes stop and think what we are thinking and why we are thinking it!, because the branches of the thought might stem from a gnarly, lumped up, knotty root, that only needs to be discarded, to make the whole situation better........ Thanks Nike for an insightful write-up.


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