Each thought provides the opportunity for a choose your own adventure
One of the things in life that is pretty much a guarantee for humans is that we will have thoughts, lots and lots and lots of thoughts. The reality is that our minds are thought generating machines. An important question for all of us is what will be our relationship to our thoughts? What are helpful and unhelpful ways to live with and navigate our endless streams of thoughts?
As I began working on a crochet project in late May, one I hadn’t tried before and was in the process of trying to figure out, I noticed I had the thought, “I am destined to fail with this project”. This particular thought I didn’t choose; it just popped up. My inner thought generating machine was generating thoughts of its own accord, automatically.
If this was a choose your own adventure story, at the point right after the character (myself) noticed having the thought, “I am destined to fail with this project,” choices of where to take the adventure next could go something like
- For the “character believes the thought is completely correct and true and that her thought-generating machine has absolute authority, credibility, and the power to accurately predict the future” option, turn to page 37.
- For the “character says, hmm… my thought generating machine is at it again then asks herself, is this thought necessarily true? I wonder what would be a helpful way of thinking about this new crochet project?…” option, turn to page 44.
Of these choices, which do you sense would be the most helpful adventure for the character to choose? Considering this kind of question in the moment-to-moment experiencing of our thoughts is really important.
If we choose option 1 for the choose your own adventure example above and the character believes the thought that she is destined to fail, what is she likely to feel in that moment (and those that follow), to do, to think? What is her body posture most likely to be like, her energy level, her mood? What is the likelihood she would persevere with the project? What is the likelihood she would further develop her skills?
Our minds are always generating thoughts, lots and lots and lots of thoughts. The thoughts that are generated can be influenced by certain factors such as the physical and emotional states we are in or the things we have heard others say to us over the years. Regardless, what we do with the thoughts that arise—how we respond to them, and to ourselves when we are having them—does make a difference. It influences the directions in which the story goes.
In my own case, after noticing the thought, “I am destined to fail with this project,” I thought about other things, about how with and from each thing I’ve tried to crochet I’ve learned something whether I’ve managed to complete the project as described or not. I thought also about how with everything I’ve tried, my skills have improved. Everything I’ve tried has been an opportunity to learn something, truly. So in my own choose your own adventure, I didn’t give the original thought much weight. I thought, “sure, I might not complete the project but I also might”. Regardless of whether or not I completed it, I was confident I would learn something. “This is a project I’m destined to learn from,” I concluded. In fact, I learned a lot.
You can find the pattern for the above crochet project here.