Mantras to memorize (modify to your own verbage/word style to make them easier to remember and be more true to you): Nobody’s perfect (or Pobody’s Nerfect from “the Good Place” television series) This too shall pass/No season [no darkness] lasts forever Time takes time (it took me so much time to get to where I am at so I cannot expect thinsg to miraculously be better overnight) One day (or hour/minute/moment) at a time Be here, now (live in the present, be mindful) You can’t eat an entire alligator cow in one bite (When I heard/readthis one it said elephant but elephants are my spirit animal and I would never think to eat an elephant then again I wouldn’t likely eat an alligator because I don’t eat much meat as it is….) Everything is temporary/This is not permanent (this not only helps remind me that as the econd mantra says: “this too shall pass” but also that even the good things in life are not constants that will be here for sure tomorrow so to appreciate everything and everyone in my life in the present) Worry is a pointless emotion/I’ve had a lot of problems in my life and most of them never even happened (When I think back to similar situations I’ve been in in the past where I’ve had the same type of anxiety or worry pop into my brain I realize that the majority of the time the things I fretted happening never did and I wasted a lot of time and energy on the what ifs. If a situation is within my control then all I can do is make the best right choice in my course of action and if it is not then I must let go and let God [TED]) Let go and let God [TED, whatever you call your HP/Higher Power] if a situation/outcome is out of my control (which most are or at least partially are) then I’ve learned to pray (or chat with which is my kind of praying) to my HP to take my worry and then trust Him to do what is best even if that means it’s not exactly what I would’ve wanted to happen because I have also realized that I very seldomknow what is bet for me and if i had my way in a lot of situations I would not have learned so many valuable lessons that only come from dealing with the tough stuff head on. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift that’s why we call it the present. This little nugget is straight from the halls of my elementary school lolol but it hits home at the three basic truths of mindfulness and living in the now: 1) the past is just that – past, it cannot be changed, altered, corrected, etc in any way no matter how long we dwell on the could’ve/should’ve/would’ve of it! So let it be, learn from it where you can and then let it go and move forward. 2) tomorrow will be today tomorrow and then it is worth focusing on but worry over what is yet to occur and may not happen 3) today is a gift that I’ve spent too often fretting over the yesterdays and tomorrows and so now I don’t instead I practice mindfulness and being here, now.
For thirty-something years I 100% believed I had no control over my constantly-whirring mind and not for nothing – I felt I’d tried everything (therapy, recovery programs, meditation, exercise, hypnosis, melatonin, sleeping pills prescription and otc, teas, journal writing, alcohol, marijuana, harder drugs, reading, exhaustion, sauna/heat therapy/exhaustion, etc et al) and nothing seemed to work. And since I live a life of unabashed honesty (now) I will admit that I didn’t put forth the necessary effort needed for any of those attempts to be fruitful; I do believe that all of the other methods I’ve tried have benefits that aid in what I finally found to work for me… Plus the more mental health help and positive resources and tools I’ve got/I can get the better!
Inspirations Instilled by Intellectuals I 💕
Also, alongside As A Man ThinkethJames Allenhas a plethora of written works that I have found even more wisdom in. The link when you click James Allen here or ^^up there^^ in the previous sentence takes you to his daily meditations and morning and evening reflections from the books he wrote of a year of each (one or the other is actually a compilation of his work put together by his wife after his death but all written by him prior to the end of his life).
Another couple of great authors to read and follow that are of this generation and also write blogs as well as books are: Mark Manson author of his self titled blog markmanson.net and a handful of best selling titles including The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck. ((I just purchased Will the autobiography/memoirs of Will Smith which Mark co-wrote with the superstar and am super excited to see what those two phenomenal brains and introspective personalities put together. Especially after reading <listening to> Green Lights by Matthew McConaughey and having my socks knocked off by the absolutely topnotch quality of his narrative making me not want it to end, I can’t even imagine what Mark and Will have in store for us!!)) & Alfred Jameswhose blogPocket Mindfulnesshas saved my spiralling mind on more than a handful of occasions; it’s as though he’s in my head because the needed post is always right there when I go to his page.
And to be clear these guys do not know of my existence so I’m not pushing anything for monetary or other value or affiliation; I’m just telling you what works for me to live happily even when my life’s a shit show.
Walk With Me Working It; Choosing Happiness IRL(in real life)
Here’s the reality of this step guide situation – I’m giving you the method that worked and works for me day in and day out and after a few years of fine-tuning the nuances and sharpening my toolkit I feel I have it about 50% 100% dialed in for public consumption LOLOL (laughing obnoxiously & lovingly out loud).
“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.”
But as the world turns and feeling that even in it’s roughest draft of an idea that getting this concept out to any and everyone now and with the help of my Higher Power and folks looking to enhance positive thinking and choose to be happy and give this way a try we will fine tune it to embrace everyone’s quirks and needs along the way. Or more likely, at least in the short term, broaden my track to incorporate all levels of abilities and capabilities.
So without further ado, and putting aside my wavering confidence in what I do know works because I am working it!, Step 2 on our path to simple happiness and choosing so, sounds straightforward enough …. ONWARD to how to start thinking thoughtfully.
I’ve got you!
As described and repeated ad nauseam by Mr. James Allen in my personal Thought Life Bible or as he titled As A Man Thinketh our life starts and ends with our thoughts. The thoughts we think create the actions we do, the reactions we have, and the inaction we avoid; all we do begins with the thinking going on in our head.
After 3 decades of living with my constant, nonstop and oft overwhelming thoughts dancing, sprinting, sometimes spiraling around my brain I could not longer honestly claim that I was not able to control my thinking, that I was victim to my thoughts; Mr James Allen, *fist shaking in mock frustration with the messenger of what has always been while I’ve unhappily been unaware of the fact within my control* annihilated my excuses and victimhood <which was something I wasn’t aware I was not only playing into but was holding fast to because then I wasn’t responsible and I couldn’t change anything…right?! oh but how incredibly wrong I was! and sans first growing pains of disdain at having to own my shit, I am forever grateful that I was wrong; whenever you’re ready to accept ownership of your life we’ll be over here on the other side waiting with open, understanding arms but no pressure this is a “at-your-own-comfort” pace and so long as you’re making an effort to better yourself a little bit each day or whatever measure works for you then you’re making progress toward self-awareness, acceptance and ultimately unconditional self love of a variety that gives you the choice of happiness in any and all circumstances> and in doing so the incorrect beliefs of lifelong uncontrollable anxiety and insoluble insomnia ever pervaded by my anxiety’s acuteness and all the hunkering down I’d done in acceptance of such a miserable existence ruled by unhappy, unkind, unhelpful, repetitive, mocking and negative thoughts more often than the opposite variety had been for naught.
My perspective was completely changed by my interpretation and understanding of the concepts and correlations involving my control over my thinking and thus my control over my life as laid out so simply and basically in As A Man Thinketh.
Thoughts >>> Actions
So now what? I got it but I was still me and my way of thinking was pretty thoroughly ingrained being how I’d done it for thirty plus years. And I wasn’t even unhappy really, looking back with my hindsight 20/20 vision I can see that I also wasn’t happy at all, not actually even though I tried to sell the idea that I was to myself even, while hiding from myself and pretending that my life was shitty because of other people’s doings and causes/unwarranted and unwanted interference which to a large extent was the truth and still is the why and the how of certain happenings and unfairness that was out of my control.
But even in those parts that I may not be to blame for the outcome I played a role somewhere that created where I was at then and factors into where I am at today. At that point in life I wanted to leave the past in the past not for the right reasons but to slam shut the ugly truths that it held about me and my mistakes/missteps/misguided choices shut tight and run fast and far to freedom from their knowing looks and murmurings of my shortcomings and failures that blared loudly even though nonexistent and just a part of my own skewed thinking and thus far negative self talk that weirdly is more natural and the normal than its counterpart of positive self affirmations.
First, I decided, I had to know what my end goal was in making any change to begin with. I figured once I had that no matter how lofty or far off it may be, I could map my way toward it with baby steps and sometimes throwing in the needed sprint when inspiration lit a fire under my tush.
My dad is a goal oriented fella and has always promoted and suggested and reminded me and my brother that the only way to achieve anything is by setting a goal to do so and writing it down. I had avoided doing so for my then thirty plus years and had always known it would be part of the simple happy life I was determined to live yet had no real idea of how to obtain and then maintain said simple happiness. So that is the first part of Thinking Thoughtfully in Step 2 : defining our desired outcome – D.O! D.O!
Defining Our Desired Outcome(s) : : Do!! Do!!
We have arrived at part A of our second step toward choosing happiness and controlling our life and circumstances instead of pandering to what happens TO me. Depending on your way of brainstorming ideas this can be done whatever way is most comfortable and workable for you to come up with the best desirable outcomes (yes plural on purpose!) for your life that you hope to actualize and can foresee your life benefiting from taking back the reigns of control and owning your life from thought to outcome.
Brainstorming techniques I find useful:
Thought Write (I’ve read it called Brain Writing recently)
whatever you’re thinking write it and don’t delete, edit, leave out anything. Write your stream of consciousness. While this may not be the best way to brainstorm goals or specific ideas it will loosen up your creative brain and get words flowing.
Word mapping/Mind mapping/Goal Mapping
Lists. Make lists of lists. Lists of ideas for each area you want to focus on making a change or putting forth more effort.
Word associations/synonyms/word breakdowns – prefix suffix/definitions
this will loosenup your rather than writing your ideas sketch/doodle/draw out what ideas come to mind. This can broaden and expand initial ideas especially for us less drawing capable bc our attempt to draw an idea may come out in such an abstract fashion as to extract different ideas from your artwork.
No matter what enjoy the process. There are no right or wrong answers or goals. This isn’t about or for anyone but you.
For more brainstorming ideas Google some variation of “list of brainstorming techniques” adding in “for goal setting” or other specificities will help get more than just the repeat copycats in your search results and since you can Google as easily as I can I’m not going to regurgitate them here.
In case you aren’t one to pay attention to images (since I often am that type with all the ads constantly sneak-attacking what I’m reading so that I click them by accident!) and/or my lack of proofreading and double checking that my shared images are able to be viewed at the proper size necessary to read any text on them depending on the screen size you may be utilizing to do so and/or just to be thorough 😉 here are the goals I set and have met and/or am still working toward obtaining:
take control of my thinking
reduce/eliminate unnecessary anxiety
overcome insomnia caused by incessant thoughts
disprove mental health diagnosis (misdiagnosis)
control how I allow my emotions/feelings to affect me and my current state of happiness
regain self confidence
know my worth and act accordingly
set and stick by boundaries in all my relationships
learn to control my reactions
let go of worry/care of other peoples’ feelings and/or judgments about me
disprove the liars/lies used against me to take my daughters
stop allowing negative people and toxic relationships headspace
take responsibility for and control of my actions
own my shit 100% and forgive myself my mistakes and shortcomings
love and accept myself completely and honestly flaws, faults and fuckups included
when the courts open up with COVID ending (fingers-crossed) get my butt in there and get my daughters back home and safe
be a positive role model for my girls and show them that it’s okay to be fallible and own my mistakes so long as I try
I’d love to hear some of your goals in the comments or direct message me if you’d prefer. I based my categories around those aspects of life that are within our control, which I either hadn’t really been taught or had forgotten and subsequently fallen into feeling like a victim to my circumstances and life’s “unfair” treatment. What I’ve come to learn or remember/relearn is that the only things we have control over in life are our own thoughts (I promise it is possible!! Next part of this step is the how of it!!), our actions and reactions, our attitudes and behaviors, our mindset and perspectives, the words we use and the tone with which we use them, our amount of effort we put forth and the choices and decisions that are ours to make, and how we feel and to what degree we allow our emotions to affect our state of being.
Boohoo Me was a clever little manipulator always able to find ways to get my way and do so without upsetting the people I was stepping on to do so; it took this complete overhaul of my personality and finally meeting a man who wouldn’t cosign my bullshitting ways -plus a bit of wisdom and self introspection- to finally see the narcissistic tendencies and victim role I had played unwittingly for so long. While I wasn’t the type to harm others mainly because I didn’t want to experience the fallout that could possibly create for me I wasn’t living as the person I believed myself to be and want to be and role model I want to be for my children.
I’ve raised my daughters and will continue raising my son and my girls to accept everyone, not be judgmental and love themselves always. After going through the process of owning my life, the good the bad and the ugly and learning to control and utilize my thinking thoughtfully to be happy within myself independent of my circumstances, I now walk the walk AND talk the talk. I’m a firm believer in practicing what you preach and find “do as I say not as I do”ers an incredibly frustrating bunch especially as co-parents!
The Thought Life as I like to think of this in-the-works quasi-life program geared toward anyone wanting to live a simply happy life and have the choice to be happy despite anything life throws at them, is also inspired by AA and NA’s 12 Step programs and can go hand in hand with any of the Anonymous step programs and will have some similarities but without the focus on addiction and alcoholism (or codependency, overeating, etc et al) but rather can help anyone take back control and stop giving outside forces the power that only we should have over ourselves, and just have to choose to practice self acceptance and taking responsibility for our lives to do so.
So for step 1 in my previous blog post I gave the simple task of listening to/reading As A Man Thinketh by James Allen in it’s entirety in one sitting (preferably but so long as you read/listened to the whole book however you accomplished it is fine and works). I don’t expect that you had the same experience or epiphany that I did, although if you did too that wouldn’t surprise me as it has had a huge impact on a few people I’ve recommended it to who actually heeded my recommendation. It’s a very old book and the author is unapologetically redundant, I think with a purpose, which he succeeded in doing, in driving home his message. So did you get it?
Mr. Allen gives examples of how thought affects every aspect of our lives and of our selves. He explains best in the book’s forward:
“It is suggestive rather than explanatory, its object being to stimulate men and women to the discovery and perception of the truth that— ‘They themselves are makers of themselves.’ — by virtue of the thoughts, which they choose and encourage; that mind is the master-weaver, both of the inner garment of character and the outer garment of circumstance, and that, as they may have hitherto woven in ignorance and pain they may now weave in enlightenment and happiness.”
From the day I read this book my life was and is forever changed in the best of ways. Of course as is life it wasn’t simply having the knowledge of how my thoughts affect everything in my life and in themselves create my world that brought about my ability to choose happiness every day; that took action and training my thinking. Which is the third step in how I took control of my thinking and have found consistent happiness despite, and often in spite of, my circumstances. Next up, and importantly before any real work towards our goals is started we must figure out what we are striving for personally and define our desired outcomes aka D.o! D.o!
Step 1 Choose Happiness introduction to the Thought Life by way of Jame’s Allen’s As A Man Thinketh
The crazy reality is that we do have the choice. It took me over 30 years experiencing life tormented by anxiety and insomnia that I believed I had little to no control over until finally I learned that I have complete control over my thoughts. Even crazier – this epiphany came from listening to my first audio book and first self empowerment type writing I’d ever actually completed; which are two things I had, up until that point, vehemently disapproved of and thought were gimmicks or, to be completely honest, too much effort without a guaranteed or instantaneous reward. My dad actually called me up out of the blue one day and said, “Daughter I’m sending you a link to an audio book I want you to sit down and listen to the whole thing right now, it’s only 45 minutes long, and then call me back after you do.” I didn’t even disagree and he was still trying to convince me to just do what he was suggesting and call him right after because he knew my aversion but just the complete determination and confidence in his demand of me had me intrigued to say the least. He didn’t tell me what it was about or any type of synopsis or clue as to what I was about to hear and when we hung up I did what he said. He had text me a link to Audible’s version of As A Man Thinketh by James Allen and for the next 45 minutes I sat and listened with a weirdly open mind curious as to what had my dad so intent on me hearing.
Now I’m not going to pretend like all it took was listening to the book and wham bam thank you ma’am I was choosing happiness and free of anxiety as though just hearing James Allen’s words hypnotized my life into alignment. And as weird as it sounds I’m really glad it wasn’t magic or an easy fix because 1. Nothing worth a damn is ever that easy or without some sort of effort and 2. Enduring the journey it took me on to get to the reward of being able to choose happiness every day makes it more fulfilling and real/actual and oops 3. The lessons I’ve learned parallel to accomplishing control over my thinking amongst so many revelations and insights about myself I am so grateful for acquiring as young as I am especially since I can see that some people may never have these realizations in their entire lifetimes. On the flip side of that though it also didn’t take an enormous amount of time. However because I was so moved upon hearing my first read through of this book I dove in at full speed to adapting the concepts described in As A Man Thinketh to my life and ridding myself of the anxiety I had so long believed was a lifelong curse I’d been afflicted with. So, as with anything in life results and time-frames will vary, oft drastically from one person’s experience to the next. I can guarantee one thing: you can control your thinking and choose happiness every day if you so choose.
I’m not selling anything, I am simply sharing my experience in hopes that even just one person may benefit from hearing about it. As A Man Thinketh by James Allen is free and a public domain book and in my post I’ve linked to with the audio and written book versions that I made pretty at the bottom of the post are links to other places to download either version free as well.
Step ONE: READ/LISTEN TO AS A MAN THINKETH BY JAMES ALLEN and come back for my next post on how I began implementing Mr. Allen’s simply brilliant concept into my life and the changes I started to see and feel right away!!! ENJOY!!
Can you put yourself in someone else’s life for even a second before running yo mouth?
Cause you decide how someone else should think and/or perceive life to be?
Who made you so full of self-righteous pompous-ass egoticity?
I’m probably smarter than you intellectually speaking but I can learn from you a whole different way of envisioning.
Because WE ALL walk different paths, choose different turns for different reasons and learn differently and at our own personal pace as God intended when he made us all unique – just like everybody else (that is actually what that quote is meant to mean not as an insult to your uniqueness as people seem to like to use it which baffles me or at least that is how I see it).
SO, what makes you need to be right. I’m wrong even when I’m correct all the damn time!
Think on it and accept that your opinion matters just as much and/or as little as mine.