Tight Pants

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essay, mindfulness, self help, wellbeing

I’ve never understood how we (I’m acting like I’m not the only one) don’t always know what we’re thinking. For instance, how is it that I woke up in such a shroud of darkness the other day, wore that mood all day long like a pair of pants constricting my waist, slept in those pants that night then got up the next morning still wearing them, totally not putting it together that I was carrying around the gloom of unpaid bills, bills that had gotten pushed back and pushed back and pushed back because everything else in the world kept gobbling up my time? Those bills had multiplied in my mind until I had not a single cent left. And so when my partner stepped in and brought my money up online, I was shocked to discover there were only two paper bills to pay manually and they were nothing. (Such is the escalating storytelling nature of unknown thoughts.) Instant liberation. The tight pants evaporated.

And then just earlier today I had a similar situation in which I started feeling so exhausted and weak I had to bring my standing desk down and sit while working on a project. It took me a few hours to get the project under control and cleaned up. It turned out there was a fair amount of re-organization involved and it also wasn’t very pleasant to discover how I had not done a great job first time around. But I was pleased with the results when I finished and couldn’t help but note upon standing that my legs had plenty of strength and I plenty of energy. More than enough to go out and take a brisk walk into the wind at lunch.

What is going on here! Why does the message have to come to me through my body when my brain could just go ahead and tell me how upset it was about the unpaid bills or that it knew I’d done a shoddy first pass on the project? We could then have a reasonable conversation, my brain and me, and make a plan. Which brings me to Three Things, a way of initiating a conversation with that non-verbal part of us that communicates via headaches and belly aches and bad moods. It’s simple: you just ask yourself what the top 3 things sitting most heavily on you are. Then you make a plan for getting them done and off your back before they have a chance to embody themselves.

I came up with Three Things while out on that brisk walk which is when I found out that the third thing weighing me down was not having reached out lately to a very dear friend who is in a time of grief right now, having lost his wife. When I got back from the walk, I got out my calendar and made a date. My heart is settled and I’m so happy. And there is no telling what embodied monkey business has also been avoided.  

Maybe everyone else has full knowledge of their thoughts and feelings and manages them reasonably and above board rather than embodying them. I hope you do. But if there’s a chance that you, too, have some constricting pants in your wardrobe rotation, maybe you can try having a conversation with that deep part of yourself to see what top three things are most troubling you. Then make a reasonable, above-board plan to make it right. And when those three things are all said and done, then you can start the conversation all over again.

To the easily overlooked and enlightening benefits of making it right, whatever big or small thing is weighing on you,

Elizabeth

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