I was stuck in my head for a bit this evening. I found myself with three hours to do five hours worth of tasks. There was no way it was going to happen. Absolutely no way. That didn’t stop me from trying. After all my mind convinced me everything could get done.
In My Stroke of Insight, Jill Bolte-Taylor likes to point out that “Most of us think of ourselves as thinking creatures that feel, but we are actually feeling creatures that think.” We’ve got it backwards, and our minds willingly support this idea. And why not? They have a marvelous ability to create worlds that don’t exist anywhere, and convince us that they’re real. I did that tonight. As time passed my stress level increased, and there was no way I was going to stop what I was doing to figure out that I was in my head because I didn’t have time! I was impatient with my daughter, and lashed out at my son who had the gall to catch my stress and become stressed, himself. I’d wanted to return to the dinner conversation we’d had about whether emotions were contagious, yes. But not this way.
Seeing him stressed helped the smallest part of me realize that the drama I was in wasn’t real. It was just something I’d made up. I looked at him. “Why are you upset?” I asked. Wrong question. In moments like that any question is the wrong question. It’s just fodder. “I’m upset because you’re upset. And I didn’t do anything!” Fortunately, I’d started letting go of my stress, even as he’d caught mine. That helped keep the loop we were in short. I sent him off to Karate, and did some focusing-based repair later. It was a good reminder that knowing the importance of stopping and paying attention to what’s happening to you, and doing it are different things. I have a lot to learn.