I often wonder what I’m “supposed” to be doing in this life.
I think a lot, not necessarily a good thing, mind you. Overthinking makes it hard to be successful at meditating and sleeping, and the downside of over-analyzation. In the journey of attempting to “slow my brain down,” I’ve realized that we can over-think things so much that we become paralyzed.
If you’re a serial over-thinker, not only will you likely be exhausted, you might miss out on great relationships, conversations, or moments.
Most opportunities don’t come to us gift-wrapped with a pretty bow on top. We need to be open to them, invite them into our lives, and then see where they take us. We can’t “hit the ball out of the park” if we’re afraid to pick up the bat. Sometimes we just have to make a decision and “go for it.”
A while ago, I told two dear friends the story of a recent meditation attempt. I think I could have won a stand-up comic award, considering how hard they were laughing! I’d read, “to still your mind, imagine that you’re watching the ocean. You might see a boat go by, but you simply acknowledge it and don’t let it grab your attention away from serenely viewing the ocean.”
Sounds beautiful, peaceful, and relaxing, right? Unfortunately, in my head, the run-on chatter went like this:
“Wow, what a beautiful boat!”
“Do you see the sails?”
“How big do you think that boat is?”
“I wonder where that boat is going!”
“How many people do you think are on the boat?”
“Did they have a champagne toast when they set off?”
“I bet she’s wearing a cute boating outfit!”
You get the idea….my mind and meditation haven’t been a good match so far.
Sometimes we think so much that we become paralyzed by the “what ifs; conjuring up problems that don’t even exist, creating a routine of being afraid to make decisions because the outcomes aren’t guaranteed. Then, we miss out on an awful lot of living.
Usually, I wake up with a forward-looking outlook—attributed to my typically “glass half full” personality. (I think people tend to be “glass-half-full” or “glass-half-empty,” but we’ll talk about that another day.) The expectations I set for myself, however, are sometimes unbelievably ambitious. But, I’m determined, believing “I can accomplish almost anything.” So, when those expectations aren’t met, I become overwhelmed, slip out of the positive mindset and become my harshest critic: exasperated for being upset, hard on myself because I know what truly matters, and try to live and teach that. I sometimes even think, “how dare I try to inspire others when I sometimes stink at what really matters?”
Somewhere in that cycle of crazy, everything else comes up too:
get more exercise,
reach out to those in need more,
try to meditate (again),
make a difference more,
Do you do that to yourself too?
We’re blessed when we have others cheering in our corners, but we need to be our own best cheerleaders, too, reminding ourselves that we’re only human while we work on keeping our glasses at least half full!
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