Do you remember that little train engine who kept telling himself: “I know I can, I know I can, I know I can…” That’s all very well when you’re feeling good about the world. But what happens when the inner voice is telling you that you’re wasting your time and will never amount to much… Whose voice is that? Is it your own or an echo of someone else in your life whose mantra you have taken on for yourself? Maybe it was a parent, a teacher, or someone else who had significant influence over your life at some stage. So why does what they said such a long time ago still have so much power over you? How can you still that voice and claim back your power and sense of peace and freedom?
What if I told you that your thoughts are not true, and that you don’t actually have to believe them at all. That every thought that passes through your mind; you have a choice to believe it, or to not believe it. You can choose how you react to it, and if you decide it’s a load of old cobblers – you can choose to dismiss it altogether and just get on with your day and the peace of the moment. Sounds too easy? Well it can be – with practice…
Try this simple Exercise and see what happens:
Get yourself comfortable, sitting down in a quiet spot, preferably upright and not slouching. Tell yourself you are going to watch yourself for a short time. Gently close your eyes and take conscious control of your breath. Try and breathe deeply and slowly into your belly, and then release your breath naturally. Take three deep slow breaths and enjoy the feeling of calm that is starting to come over you.
While you’ve been doing this, did you notice that the thoughts in your mind began to slow down? If not, that’s OK too – just keep breathing and watching. Now gently focus your ‘minds-eye’ to the dark space behind your closed eyes. From this place continue watching the thoughts that are going through your mind. Don’t engage with your thoughts – you’re just watching them and letting them go again.
Have you noticed the more you watch your thoughts they less power they seem to have? Have you noticed that you can separate yourself from your thoughts? That you can become the observer. The observer has the power to decide what to believe and what not to believe; when to engage or not to engage. The observer can decide that these thoughts are not going to disturb my peace, and that actually – they are not helpful and I’m not going to let them control me any longer!!
So next time you catch yourself noticing that voice in your head, you have become the observer again. Just quietly watch the thought and see it start to dissolve, it’s already losing its power – just because you are watching it. Once you are done watching – just carry on with your day and the new-found sense of calm that has been created. The more you practice, the easier it gets. The more you practice, the more space and calmness is created in your day.
Taking time out, whether it is to do the simple Exercise above, or to taking a walk through your favourite places – the beach, the garden, the woods... Listening to your favourite piece of uplifting music, doing an exercise class, having a massage, savouring a lovely piece of dark chocolate or a getting absorbed in a hobby. All these activities help bring space and calm into your life. They take you out of your head and allow you to enjoy your other senses: sight, touch, taste, hearing… Appreciating with gratitude that visual beauty, hearing the birds, playing the piano, feeling warm wet sand between your toes, the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, completing that work of art, or baking a cake from scratch – all these activities bring satisfaction and joy into your life. The more you allow time for the Exercise, getting out of your head through engaging with your other senses and appreciating the simple things in life – the less power that negative inner voice will have over you.
Remember – you are not your thoughts and you don’t have to believe them anyway! If you'd like to talk to someone about getting more out of life, give me a call!