I'm reading The Greatest Secret by Rhonda Byrne right now, and a description of the mind in the book made me such an impression that I had to read it three times to take it in. The mind was described as having three functions: measuring, describing and comparing.
These functions are helpful when they're subservient to noticing where I am in relation to where I want to go. But when I get caught up in measurement or description or comparison to the exclusion of my ideas of what I'd like to be, do or create, I get stuck.
When I'm focused on any one of those three functions, the secondary thoughts of not being good enough or not far being enough along produce feelings that slow me down if not shut me down.
It's a variation of shiny object syndrome; I get distracted, but instead of by things that might delight me, those "objects" are thoughts that stop me in my tracks.
Our dreams can range from the most (seemingly) simple as enjoying our day to the (seeming) more complex of building a legacy or a business or a work of art. The nature of the distraction is still the same.
What if paying more attention to what we want (and not what we don't want) could move us forward so much more easily? Haven't we all been in situations where we were determined to go for something, and we ignored all the naysaying in our heads - and it worked out?
There are many famous quotes from people who insist that when we stay the course, life will assist us, including such luminaries as Albert Einstein and Walt Whitman. Every day I'm seeing more and more deeply that staying the course means
staying focused, directing my attention away from any doubting or negative thoughts and being present enough to ask "what's the next step" in this moment. It can literally be that simple.
If my measuring, comparing or describing thoughts are neutral, then they can help me. If those thoughts carry any shred of a negative consequence, then it's in my best interest to stop, get present again, refocus and see what's right in front of me, waiting for my next move.
I was recently working in my art studio, making a collage from materials I'd painted, not knowing ahead of time how those materials were going to come together. I noticed that as soon as I started assembling them, cutting and pasting, those old thoughts of "no, I don't like this, this doesn't look right, what a mess, blah, blah, blah" starting coming into my mind. And I wanted to throw my brushes down and walk away.
Now, sometimes I don't catch this mental chatter right away until I find myself disliking what I'm doing. That's a sure sign that something's off. Whenever "no" is showing up, my mood changes and my creativity plummets. I don't mean "no" in the sense that something simply needs rearranging; I mean "no" in the sense that it's going nowhere but downhill.
Thankfully, that inner something in me (call it wisdom, inner knowing, my higher self, my awareness) noticed that the roadblocks were mental, not actual. I did step away from my work table, but not out of defeat. It was a choice to regroup, take a breath, and look at what I was doing with fresh eyes.
And when I came back to what I was making, I saw it full of possibilities instead of impossibilities. What a delight! Back on track again.
It never matters how long this takes to recognize what's gone wrong and take steps to make it right again.
What matters is recognizing when our minds have obscured what it is we dream of creating, being, doing or having.
That recognition opens the door to solutions, new perspectives and a greater awareness of what's already available and waiting for us to discover it.