Reflections: Get Out Of Your Head

If we do not keep them (our minds) busy with some particular subject which can serve as a bridle to reign them in, they charge ungovernably about, ranging to and fro over the wastelands of our thoughts. (Michel de Montaigne)

A lot of our issues are self-manifested. It’s because when we are inactive when our bodies or minds aren’t involved in a task then the mind is free to roam different possibilities and concerns, many of which lie in the uncertain future. If we don’t tame this impulse, we are wrought with stress and anxiety.

Many times self-doubt only creeps up when we are still, when the world is silent, that moment before you go to bed or right before you are about to take a risk, the plunge, that one second, that’s where doubt comes because for that moment you think about the possible failures and the mind becomes untamed.

An easier way might be to say that when we don’t concentrate on the present then our mind becomes untamed. But concentrating on the present moment seems impossible if we aren’t actively doing something so, that’s a difficult thing to practice. Be present is a nice phrase but impractical much of the time.

But as quickly as doubt, stress or anxiety arises, with equal ease, they can be erased if we simply act. Take action, get out of the head and get in your body: Go for a run, see how many burpees you can do in 30 minutes, go meet up with friends and play a sport, play an instrument, talk to someone you love, pick up a book, start writing, whatever it is, whenever we get out of the mind we also leave behind the “wasteland of our thoughts”.

Montaigne understood the side effects of an idle mind very well, he said an idle mind “gives birth to so many chimeras and fantastic monstrosities” because for some strange reason idleness loves to spend its time thinking about what isn’t going right in our life. Constantly jumping from one thing to the next and it feels so real because your heart might begin to race, thinking about these monstrosities and it’s in time like these when one almost has to smack themselves, tell ourselves “it’s going to be okay”, verbalize it, make the mind focus on the positive words, on the task of saying “everything will work out” and you see in that instance these monstrosities disappear.

When the soul is without a definite aim she gets lost, as they say, if you are everywhere you are nowhere. (Michel de Montainge)

Keep an aim in mind. I think this is why people love to journal in the morning or mid-afternoon. If you are able to write down what you want to do that day every morning then for the next few hours your mind is occupied and as the occupation wanes in the afternoon, one simply has to remind it of the aim and it’ll kick right back up and keep helping you instead of hurting you.

The biggest thing is to approach idleness with caution for you understand what comes with such comfort and at least, if those “chimeras” do come, we have a plan of action on how to fight them.

Poem: “Wake Up”

As the sun rises

so does my hope

(you’ll make it)

the warmth of the rays

the gentle touch of aspiration

peace at heart

(you’ll make it)

 

Surrounded by knee-high grass

the path uncorrupted as a newborn

but even with the dawn light, I can only see where my footfalls

surrounded by worn and true walkways

and I could walk them with comfort

(in chains)

but I have to go down this shadowed way; my way

(a voice says)

 

Careful steps or a wild sprint?

See the discovered or find the new?

Cower or stand up tall?

You live my life or I live it for myself?

 

As the sun sets

doubt rises

(hope sleeps)

the cold touch of the evening air

the harsh reminders of possible failures

no peace of mind

 

“Wake up”

“Get up”

“Fuck that”

“It’s going to be alright”

“You’re going to be fine”

You have to remind your slumbering hope

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections On Self Doubt

Self-doubt is crippling. It handicaps us from being ourself because we lack faith in our own ability. Self-doubt raises thoughts of failure, humiliation, causes us to fear being wrong, made a fool out of because all of these are real consequences of independent action. Due to this, we go from being an individual to being a conformist. We start to conform our nature in order to fit a mold created by other people. This is a protective measure. We rather embrace the opinions of others, the beliefs set upon us, act in order to meet the expectations of strangers, behave and think how we are told to behave and think and in doing so we stay safe, comfortable, without the risk of being hurt. Self-doubt is an overprotective mother who shields her child from any harm and raises soft, weak children.

By giving in to the emotions brought on by self-doubt you strangle your own identity. Often times this strangulation, this suicide of the self comes because you think you are not worthy. It is so easy to see the power and strength in other than to see that in yourself. So easy to see why you are wrong and others are right than to trust your own intuition. Following your own feelings can lead to harm so you rather just act in a way that is already destined, a blueprint to copy, a safety harness holds you and you can pretend to be “free”, pretend to be “yourself” as you act out the commands of others. Self-doubt leads to such a scenario.

Trust and self-doubt go hand in hand. When we don’t trust ourselves, we begin to doubt ourselves and this doubt leads to the conformity of our individuality. When we trust ourselves, doubt is erased and we have the opportunity to be an individual.

So, perhaps the issue is not to stop doubting ourselves but rather, start acting in a manner that produces trust in our own ability. To stop is negative. To act is positive. One is passive, the other is active. In life, we must be active.

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being. And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not minors and invalids in a protected corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but guides, redeemers and benefactors, obeying the almighty effort and advancing on Chaos and the Dark. (Ralph Waldo Emerson – Self Reliance)