On the 11th day of Christmas, Alexis said to me….
Let the river flow!
Isn’t it funny. Last week Christmas was such a big deal, and suddenly whoosh! It’s gone past. In hindsight, it seems less structured, less significant. It is just a memory. Just a thought. Just like 2015 is about to be.
The thing is, Christmas was always made of thought, it is just much more obvious in the rear view mirror that this is so. Our thoughts are like a river, bringing life into view, and then taking it off downstream. Sometimes, it is such a relief to have that river take something away. It sweeps stuff off your mind.
I can remember that the last few Festive periods, I have been so ready to take all the decorations down, pack up, and get on with ‘normality’. I couldn’t wait to throw it all into the river. I don’t feel that just yet this time. Each day can unfold in its own time, and I will see what the river brings, what it takes.
The difference for me is seeing that the river will always take life with it. That string of present moments. Last Christmas, I felt like I had to divest myself of it. This year, I can see it bobbing on the horizon, about to fall off the edge of the world, at least for 350 days or so. Merry lights atwinkling, and splash. Going. Going….
Moving towards the New Year, perhaps your thoughts are turning to reflection on 2015, and to your hopes for 2016. Perhaps you are thinking of betterment, of renewal, of goals and achievements.
Here is a wee video about resolution! It got hijacked by a cheeky elf;)
Wherever we are, we can only ever be in this moment, only the presence experiencing these thoughts, only a blink in the eye of everything.
I bet you anything that any behaviour you want to shift in the New Year is a result of thinking you have at the time. A result of having a lot on your mind. I know mine is.
So, it’s nice to know that, no matter what, the river will carry stuff off my mind. If I don’t cling onto it, it will do so with more ease. When we don’t think of things, they cease to exist for us. That doesn’t mean it is helpful to try and forget, only that recognising the nature of thought and its propensity to change helps us to stay present and clear.
Sometimes, like with Christmas, changes in circumstances help us to let things flow away, to not cling. I give very little thought to Christmas in the spring or summer. It’s not a big part of my circumstances, and therefore not salient in my consciousness (though, it might pop up once or twice).
Other times, we have to allow things to flow away. These thoughts can be tricky to let go because we have coupled some associations to our ongoing circumstances. When we have recurring thoughts over a period of time, that thinking becomes habitual, and often feels every real.
So, my body is a part of my ongoing circumstances, and over time, I couple associations with its mass, such as the thought that being 65kg is OK, but being 75kg is not, and being 85kg is very bad. My experience of my body changes, so that no matter what weight I am, I can have a healthy mental experience or an unhealthy mental experience of its mass.
Because I have this recurring idea, which I begin to take seriously, that 65kg is happier and better than 85kg, I am more likely to have an unhealthy mental experience of being heavier. So, if I am feeling heavy and unhappy, the answer seems to be that I cannot be happy with my body until I am lighter. Of course, I can be glad of not being heavier, and I can see that once you get to a certain mass, weight loss becomes bad. Nonetheless, my habit becomes to see my weight and happiness as being linked, and being heavier than 65kg as undesirable. The more I think this habit, the more real it feels.
The fact is, there is no necessary link between my weight and my mental health. Knowing this, I may still choose to lose a bit of weight, because common sense tells me that it is a good idea for my physical wellbeing. However, the need to associate my weight and happiness disappears, as does judging myself. This is actually helpful from a weight loss point of view, because when I get annoyed about my weight, it is my habit to reach for the chocolate.
I may not always see this, but the more I see it, the more I see it.
If we don’t hold on, thought flows away. If we don’t take it too seriously, it flows away. If we don’t do anything, it flows away.
And new things will come.
So, forgive me the use of the imperative, but don’t decide what you can add or what you can gain in 2016.
Think about what you can let go.
What thoughts are you clinging to?
What can you allow the river to take off your mind?
Come and tell us in the Mamajestic Facebook Group. Come share your experiences with us!
Lots of love,