Does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but the light bulb has to really want to change???”
I’m here today because I know I need to change. Things that normally move and motivate me are having trouble getting me rolling. For example, I went for a x-c ski today. That usually gets me going. But today I could barely slog through the drifts, I could barely keep going. I had to stop a whole bunch of times, look at the ski, breathe in, will myself forward. I’m not great at that. I’m better when life draws me forward. But it isn’t right now. I’m not sure why. Well, I am sure a bit. I’m a prisoner of fear. Anxiety. Depression. Loneliness. Delusion.
I think I want to / have to write a book about the process I’m trying to engage in in order to effect some behavioural and attitudinal change. SO I thought I could write raw material to this blog, and not have to hide it under a rock, or in my bed or down my pants or something.
There’s a bunch of stuff in my head I want to write about, I guess. Maybe then it will stop rattling around and maybe start mobilizing into a form that could help somebody else. Who knows? Once, at a university convocation I was at, the university principal told an anecdote about a guy who realized that there was no such thing as a completely useless person. That person realized he could at least serve as a really terrible example. That’s kind of how I feel about this project. It’s possible that it will be composed of equal parts what-to-do and the example of how-not-to-do-it. I guess we’ll just have to see.
The thought that prompted me to write today, that I didn’t want to lose hold of, was about “thought-mines.” These are things like land-mines – things that you step on somewhat innocently, but that blow up and damage you. I have at least a couple of these — I had a second thought that some of these turn into quagmires, but I think that’s for a different post. The “thought-mines” I keep myself stepping in are things like (1) I’m going to win the lottery and everything is going to be ok. (I actually believe this. I pray about it, see it as reasonable. I even negotiate with God about how I”m going to handle it, help the world, prevent it from ruining my life and the lives of those around me. After a bit of finger-painting like this, it just feels normal that I”m going to win and do fine and the world is going to be a better place because of how magnanimously everything is going to work out.
Holy gawd. I think maybe “thought-mines” come with a kind of poison or toxicity that gets released in your brain and rolls around in there, making a lot of noise, and keeping you from really figuring out what’s going on. It fosters a kind of auto-paralysis — which in the great scheme of things might not be too bad a thing if it just happened once, for a limited time. But when you turn a “thought-mine” into a habit or a safe place — well, then you’ve kind of set yourself up to be stalled right in the middle of a whole lot of traffic, and on a road that is supposed to take you to the next places in your life,.
What are some of my other thought mines? I don’t know. For a while one of them was that some kind of deity or outside force or power was going to come along and rescue me from myself and/or affirm me in that expression of that rather elusive self. You can see that this is a bit similar to the thought mine about the lottery. I had another analogous one that had me believing that the perfect partner was going to come along and do the same thing.
This is more than a little embarrassing to write down.
Now playing the lottery, believing in God or hoping for a swell partner — these in and of themselves really aren’t terrible things. What screws things up is what my mind / heart / soul / body does with these things. My headspace kind of traps me in them — they are like safe places to stand. But they don’t go anywhere. I feel like they are going to be elevators, but they just end up being cages or boxes that I step into and the doors close. When I open them again, there I am, in exactly the same place as before, and with nothing ventured, nothing gained, nothing solved, nothing truly experienced.
“the unlived life is not worth examining….”
I think I’m at a point where I can’t really afford standing in these cages anymore. I’m not sure how to change, or go forward, but I do think that something that might help me learn what the next step is going to be would be to become aware of the fact that I’m doing it — that I’m stepping on a thought mine and blowing myself up into a cloud of paralysis thought-goo. If I can just stand back, have a laugh at my good old history-of-this-particular-bad-habit, give myself a bit of slack to understand — this is how I used to manage being afraid – and step somewhere new, well, maybe I’d get myself into more of a process and a momentum that would help me to stare down, process, mediate or confront this fear I have of, well, everything…
There’s something I’m avoiding big-time right now. I don’t know why. I never know why.
I think I need some little trick to remind me that I want to be better. That I need to be better. That I can CHOOSE to be better and at least feel better about the process of living, even if I’m screwing up left and right, top and bottom about the “how, why and what” of how I’m doing it.
The funny paradox of mental illness is that I’m beginning to think you have to mobilize a lot of mental resources in order to fight it.