I woke up at 4:50 this morning–overthinking. Decisions I’ve been wrestling with. Deprecating thoughts. You’re wasting your precious life. Why can’t you just….what are you waiting for…you’ve been going in circles for how long? If I were my roommate, which I kind of am in this mind-body living arrangement, I’d tell myself to shut the hell up and go back to sleep. Overthinking is in many applications just another word for self-doubt–and self-doubt is battery acid when it’s spilled over creativity. Nothing is more corrosive. Nothing will sap you of energy, momentum, and happiness.
It’s time I re-listened to a book that I came across recently but apparently haven’t fully mastered. The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer taught me something I didn’t fully know before now and as Anne Lamott says (paraphrased), “My mind is a dangerous playground–and I don’t dare go there alone!”
The Untethered Soul asked me to question my own thoughts and perceptions. It says my thoughts aren’t me and the reason I can know they’re not me is that I (some part of me–soul, spirit, consciousness, whatever you want to call it) can observe my thoughts. You can only observe something that is separate from your own being, therefore it is separate and deserves to be considered, at times, a hostile witness of my own life.
Wow. I can’t tell you how freeing it is to not have to believe all those nasty thoughts.
This is from Amazon: Singer shows how the development of consciousness can enable us all to dwell in the present moment and let go of painful thoughts and memories that keep us from achieving happiness and self-realization.
This book, copublished with the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), offers a frank and friendly discussion of consciousness and how we can develop it. In part one, he examines the notion of self and the inner dialogue we all live with. Part two examines the experience of energy as it flows through us and works to show readers how to open their hearts to the energy of experience that permeates their lives. Ways to overcome tendencies to close down to the rest of the world are the subject of part three. Enlightenment, the embrace of universal consciousness, is the subject of part four. And finally, in part five, Singer returns to daily life and the pursuit of unconditional happiness. Throughout, the book maintains a light and engaging tone, free from heavy dogma and prescriptive religious references. The easy exercises that figure in each chapter help readers experience the ideas that Singer presents. Visit www.untetheredsoul.com for more information.
So, what I’ve been doing is writing Future Me. (Over at www.futureme.org
It’s taken the place of my journals. I find that I’m kinder and clearer when I write to myself. Here’s what I wrote today that will be delivered to myself one year from today. (You can pick any time for the email to be delivered).
Are you overthinking again?
Is it keeping you spinning your wheels?
Up at night?
Turn it off, my love. It’s a waste of your precious time and energy on this earth.
Put on music. Go for a run. Dance. Clean. Do anything to drown out the incessant inner chatter.
Whatever it is that you’re doing–throw yourself in whole heart and all. Make mistakes. Big ones. Risk. Go for it. It’s better than living in paralyzing fear of getting it right or staying status quo.
Ask yourself: looking back on this day what will you regret the most? Doing or not doing? It’s almost always the not doing.
So whatever you decide. Do it. If you need to close the circle then close it. If it’s time for the wandering void, then wander.
If it’s time to make new choices, go for it.
Life is an adventure and you are your own Magellan. Be out front scouting out new lands.
I love you.
How does overthinking effect your creativity/writing/art?
What do you do when you realize you’ve been overthinking?
Have you ever questioned that nasty roommate?