Monday, 27 July 2015

One day, I’ll get the hang of it.

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A joke amount of work today. My fingers were flying. Sometimes, when I have a lot to do and deadlines to meet and pressure is mounting, I take tension into the very act of writing. My shoulders go high and tight and I forget to breathe and I frown and frown at the demanding screen. Today, I took a deep breath and sat back and very consciously did the thing in a state of physical ease. And out came the words, without rush or fret or forcing – as if they had been there all along, waiting.

As I worked the red mare, I thought some thoughts about life. Much of the time, I concentrate so hard on her that I don’t contemplate anything else, but sometimes she puts me in philosophical mood. I thought about the waste of emotional energy. Even though I know, from endless experience, that people are never thinking what you think they are thinking, I still fall into the elephant trap of putting notions into their unknown heads. I grow convinced that someone is cross with me, or disapproving of me, or upset with me. I have done something BAD, and they are furious or disappointed about it. Even though I know better, I create an entire mini-drama in someone else’s mind, when in fact they are almost certainly thinking about something quite else, like what to cook for supper or whether they are going to get that report in on time or what is the answer to the Universal Why.

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This is the most stupid of stupid wastes. Even if they were thinking what I think they are thinking, my chewing over it like a mangy old dog with a ratty bone is not going to achieve a single thing. As it is, they are surely not thinking half the disobliging thoughts I impute to them, and the entire shooting match is utterly pointless.

Theory and practice, I think, and the gaps in between. I know what is true and I know what I should do and I understand about the waste, yet still I fall back into bad mental habits.

I returned to my best and sternest rule. This is the giving of two discrete choices. You can, I say to myself, as if I were a slightly dim child, go on obsessing about things you know are pretty much sure not to be happening, because you’ve gone down the rabbit hole for whatever reason, or you can just stop and do something more useful.

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I did something more useful.

The mare did her new, floaty canter. I ran up to HorseBack and did my work there. I galloped back to my desk and wrote hundreds and hundreds of words. I got things done, instead of working myself into a state about things which are only spectres in my fevered mind.

Life, I think. One day I will get the hang of it.

One day, it will be all cantering with no reins.

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3 comments:

  1. This is the MOST timely post for me. I am sitting here obsessing over what I am absolutely certain someone thinks about me and, of course, you are quite right. I have no idea what they think. AND it's none of my business (as my dear Dad used to say). AND what a waste of time and energy and it makes my shoulders rise up to my ears. So I'll stop. Thank you xx

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  2. Yes, I echo the above - thank you for this wonderful post! WHY is it so hard to realize that it is such a waste of our vital lives to ruminate about how terrible we think we might be (since we are usually just being human) or conversely, how inhuman someone else is (when they too are usually just being human!). As someone once said " that's like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die"....

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  3. Oh the conversations I fabricate! Especially while gardening for some reason. Full of defensive arguments and injured self justification going round and round. Why the heck do we do it?

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