From now on, whenever I talk about the pieces that make up our beings I will not refer to them as mind-body-spirit. Instead the components shall be referred to as spirit-mind-body. Since I spend so much time working on allowing my spirit to thrive, in spite of my mind’s obsessive need to control every breathing moment and deny the spirit’s existence, and even though the three parts are equal, I am making spirit the first of the three parts of my being to help stay in balance.
It’s a small change but one that feels important to me and if I post it in this journal, hopefully, it will remind me to keep them in perspective.
The Love Bucket Revisited
A better name for the love bucket would be the emotion bucket. It’s a constant task to not allow the emotion bucket to right itself and begin containment measures on my emotions. That’s my busy mind at work trying to control the world. Or at least my world and those who interact in it. I can’t tell you how many times a day I am filled with anxiety (my controlling emotion of choice) and I have to acknowledge it, let it go, feel it move through me and then reach deeper into my being and connect there.
Typical stream of thoughts in my head:
The cell bill is due on Friday. I won’t have the money until the following Tuesday. What if we don’t have enough to pay it? I should call Sprint. Ugh. That’ll take a couple hours. I don’t have a couple hours to sit on the phone. What if they cut us off? Oh man, that would really ruin things. I should call them but I really, really don’t want to. (Dread settles in my stomach.) My son needs to figure out his classes for this college semester. How am I going to pay for that? Kids will need school supplies soon. (Anxiety level ups another notch.) Wal-Mart probably has their school supply specials running. Maybe I can pick some of the supplies up early next week. But the cell bill is due and it’s a biggie. I sure hope they don’t cut off the phones if I am a couple days late. Have to call them. (More dread) I wonder how many classes my son is going to take this semester? If he takes that extra class, I’ll have to pay more. (The tightness in my stomach creeps into my chest.) It’s the books that really amp up sending a kid through college. I need to check how many books he can turn in for credit at the campus book store. So many school supplies! The cell bill is due on Friday…
And on, and on, and on. The same thoughts, more anxiety, and no solutions. Because there are no solutions. My worries are projections of things going badly in a future that hasn’t happened yet. It’s a continual process to stop my mind from running the show. I have to realize what I am doing, tip over that darn bucket, and become aware of the present. Also, it’s not the most comfortable feeling to allow the emotions to flow. Seriously, it feels like acid running through my insides which is why the mind works so hard on containment. The mind, in its fight against pain, creates longer, more ongoing and intense pain through its efforts to contain and control. It’s like having a migraine and holding absolutely still so it doesn’t hurt instead of facing the pain at least long enough to find whatever medication is in the medicine cabinet to cure the migraine. Whereas living in my spirit acknowledges that the future can bring either happiness or pain but those are fleeting emotions. Many, many times a day - 50, 60, 100 – I have to stop and reframe.
Slowly but surely, I am changing. God said to be anxious about nothing. I used to believe that meant pray about my problems and then beat myself up for failing God when I worried anyway and fighting a nagging sense that as a Christian, I must be doing something wrong that I couldn’t let go of the worry. Now I pray about my problems but when I find myself worrying, I let it go, and delve underneath the mind-worries and allow my spirit free. The peace that passes all understanding comes forth and joy spills out. That’s not to say that the mind and emotions aren’t necessary and useful. But it’s an amazing thing that when I am filled with spirit, with the joy of being, feeling the peacefulness from within, my mind will find solutions that hadn’t appeared before or I can plan what needs to be done, make the list and go about the tasks without the constant fight to contain anxiety, dread, fear – whatever controlling emotion trying to manifest.
Also, I make a conscious effort, once I am realigned in the present, to use a stream of thought with positive pictures of the projected problems I was fretting about. I’ll call Sprint and the call will be pleasant and quick. School supplies will be on sale the following week as well. The money will be available for my son’s tuition and his books will receive the highest credit at the bookstore. It’s amazing how uplifting it is to see the future as a pleasant place instead of a dark and fearful monster waiting to pounce. Just typing these words puts me in the present moment and I am filled with gratitude. The AC is running and the house is cool despite the 98 degree temps outside. I’ll enjoy a pleasant shower in a couple minutes. My shampoo smells good. A bowl of leftover chili will make a great lunch. Where I am at this moment is a great place to be.