So that’s the good news and the bad news on that one. Whatever it is—it’s all in your head.
I’m not implying that it didn’t happen or isn’t really non-virtual. I’m saying that whatever happens to us gets stored in our brain.
ONCE IT IS IN MY BRAIN, ANYTHING THAT HAS HAPPENED ON THE OUTSIDE WORLD IS IMMEDIATELY SUBJECTED TO MY BRAIN FUNCTION IN ORDER TO BE INTERPRETED BY ME.
If the way I routinely think is like a toilet bowl, because of hours of cotton candy screen time, price comparing, or stalking exes on social, then I will interpret outside events based on inside dysfunctions. Current mental illness studies on heavy social users appear to confirm this sad truth.
If the way I routinely think involves violence or anger towards people or the world around me who I perceive to be out to hurt me (true or imagined makes almost no difference in terms of effect on my brain and body) then I will begin to process everything around me as a perceived threat. Ask any veteran of sustained combat about this one.
If the way I routinely think involves grace–freely received and given–forgiveness and true love for another, then I will routinely experience my outside stimulus in a completely different way. If I can see myself in others, and I actually am practicing self-care (an under-appreciated concept today) then I will find a way to care for even those people who treat me sub optimally.
I’ve seen very few examples of this second way of thought mirrored towards me in my lifetime, but I sure as anything want to become one—and not in some levitating in the mountains, separate from it all way. That’s actually easy. I’m not kidding. I’ve busted my hump for years trying to learn to think well of the world around me in real-time, on the ground.
I STILL SUCK AT IT. But I suck at it less and less often.
What’s REALLY not easy is to think well of all people at all times in daily life. I am continually amazed that no matter how hard I try, I rarely overestimate the under-intelligence of others.
I told you I still suck at it.
Practicing mental discipline while in the midst of the human fray—whether I’m in NYC, London, LA or Appalachia (seriously) is asking the seemingly cruel and impossible. Yet, in my experience coming back from the dead, that has to be the goal IF I WANT TO HEAL. Remember—It’s all in my head.
MY HEALING. MY CHOICE.
If healing isn’t my primary bag then I’m afforded all kinds of “___ this guy!” and “Tell him to ___ a ___.” I’m probably infamous in my teeny tiny Legoland hometown for driving 33 in a 25 (the whole town is a 25mph go-cart loop) and saying things like “Would you PUHHHHLEEEEZ. JUST. DIE!” loudly out the window.
I’m also dumping cranky chemicals from my brain to my body when I think or act that way. And I am absolutely incinerating my personal healing. Every. Single. Time.
If healing IS my primary bag, then IT’S NOT ENOUGH TO JUST NOT SAY IT OUT LOUD. I have to actually work on not thinking these thoughts. Ugh.
As I slowly learn this lesson about how thinking affects my physical chronic pain and full body chronic inflammatory condition, I’m motivated to think less and less ill of myself and the world around me.
I’m motivated not by some altruistic mall hippie, yoga retreat afterglow desire to “be present”.
I’m motivated by not wanting my joints to scream every time I lift a thing or being able to have sex without needing a knee replacement after.
What I’m trying to say here is that my negative thoughts are scientifically proven to jack my stuff up, while my simple awareness that I am ok no matter what and so is everyone else around me will allow me to heal through the intolerable. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
I’ll share more of the mechanics of how I am retraining my brain to think well of the world around me regardless of their behavior towards me or socio-political inclination in a later post.
For today—if you’re healing from something gnarly and super painful or are stuck in a rut and not loving the décor—try remembering that you are IN CHARGE of what goes on in your noggin’ and that it’s not just grandma’s wisdom that “Thoughts are things!”.
Pain is my great motivating force—the one thing that continually brings me to a place of surrender and compliance whether I like it or not. When I’m all lit up, it helps me IMMENSELY to say to myself many times a day:
IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD.
Thanks for reading this.
I’m doing it right beside you all the way.