Are You Preoccupied With Yourself? Ideas for Slowing the Thought Tornadoes
Oh, my friends!
It’s been a minute.. or a couple weeks..
When I originally started this blog I thought, “OK! I’m going to be CONSISTENT. I’m going to post EVERY week. And I’m going to post in Instagram almost EVERY day.”
I’ve been asked a couple times lately about where I’m going with The Sound Musician, you know, the GOAL. Because why would I invest so much time and energy into organizing free events and writing posts and starting a podcast and hosting a book club and speaking for NOTHING?
Now let me tell you about a revelation I had over the weekend.
I have been in my head. Like REALLY in my head. My thoughts have been residing exclusively in the past or the future, neither of which I have any control over, mulling over the “what ifs.”
I have been talking myself in circles and talking myself IN to having anxiety again (but why?!!).
I knew what I was doing, but I just couldn’t seem to stop the cycle. I just knew I had to get out of my head.
So I googled, “How to get out of your head.”
Which led me down a rabbit hole until I found this TED Talk. A light bulb went off while watching it – it was confirmation of that which I knew to be true – I am overly preoccupied with myself!
That can be the danger of summer, I think. With more time to yourself, you also have more time to spin your thoughts around until they become full blown thought tornadoes.
If you don’t want to watch the full 18 minute video, here are the highlights:
1. Mini meditation: Close your eyes and breathe deeply and slowly. As you exhale, smile. The power to peace is always within you.
*side note: I HATE when people tell you to smile. But adding the smile on the exhale truly did change the experience and brought me to a peaceful state more quickly.
2. The speaker says that all emotional suffering arises from obsessive self-centric thinking.
“It is a total preoccupation with oneself. It is a total incessant preoccupation with oneself. And it is this preoccupation that separates you from the other.”
3. We are always living in one of two states: a stressed state or a beautiful state. Anxiety, tension, anger, fear, loneliness, hurt, etc. are all conditions of a stressed state. A beautiful state is one of joy, love, connection, and vitality. Our default state is a stressed state because society conditions us that way.
4. Mini meditation: Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Ask yourself three questions:
“Am I in a stressed state or a beautiful state?”
“Am I engaged with the past, the future, or the present?”
“Am I preoccupied with myself or in a state of connection?”
Imagine a flame glowing over your third eye (the space between your eyebrows). Smile. Open your eyes.
I highly recommend watching the full talk if you can. It’s simple, calming, and beautiful.
After watching it, every time I started to feel a little “heightened” or anxious, I’d ask myself if I was preoccupied with myself. And if I noticed my thoughts start to drift to “what ifs” and a future that I cannot control, then I’d remind myself to “stay here.”
Another thing I’ve noticed, personally, about my anxiety is that I usually don’t feel it when I’m actively engaging with others (that will, of course, not be the case for everyone), and I usually don’t feel it if I’m completely involved in something, especially if I’m doing something for other people.
Which brings me back to the why behind The Sound Musician.
Why do we make music?
And it is my opinion (and you know, Brené Brown’s) that when we are honest and vulnerable that we connect more quickly and deeply.
I may not write a blog post every week or post on Instagram every day, but when I do, please know that it’s genuine. I just want to connect.
With love and light and peace and compassion,