Over the weekend I did a massive reorganization of both my office desk and my art supplies and now I have fresh space in which to create. In sorting out the piles of papers that were meant to be filed, I discovered a short piece of writing that I wrote, but I don't remember writing it!
That used to happen to me a lot when I was in college and graduate school, after I had cranked out a paper or thesis I would wonder, did I write that? But since this writing was a helpful reminder for me, I thought it was worth sharing with you.
Every explanation we tell ourselves about what's happening is simply a story we've crafted based on our frequently changing interpretation of events. Stories can be told on a purely physical level: "my son yells at me," "I need to lose weight," or simply "the sun is shining." Our descriptions of what we are experiencing are like containers of meaning as we go from one moment to the next. It's easy to overlook the fact that those descriptions change depending on our moods and levels of awareness. But that's what happens.
One moment the world looks wonderful and full of promise. The next moment the world looks dark and despairing.
Sometimes our stories are more esoteric: "in a past life my son was my overbearing husband," or "demonic forces are attacking me" or "my guardian angel watches over me."
Have you noticed how our stories include thoughts and feelings that are automatically generated based on how we see the world?
Whether mundane or exotic and whether our stories are factually true or not, our view of life becomes limited when our stories contain an expectation or a disappointment. We lose our connection with what's happening right in front of us when we expect or assume a specific outcome.
For example, if I'm worried about the outcome of a project I'm working on, I'm not only imagining an undesirable future but experiencing negative feelings that come with that projection. My mind becomes too busy with how something will turn out than focusing on the tasks at hand. So of course that makes it so much harder to keep spinning the initial thread of inspiration.
Life has a funny way of surprising us with what happens next, but if we're not caught up in our imaginations trying to predict or make assumptions, we can respond with more flexibility and creativity in the moment and things go so much more smoothly.
The life force that animates each and every one of us contains all the intelligence and resilience and adaptability and problem solving skills we'll ever need. And the way to connect with that life force within us (regardless of what we call it) is to just take a moment to listen inwardly and notice whether we've been spirited away by the stories we tell or fully present to life.
Once we've taken the measure of where our attention is, we can refocus and pick up right where we left off. Or, an even better way forward will make itself known to us.