Thoughts about a rampant brain

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I am never bored. Never.

I never have been. Not once.

That’s one of the good parts, I think, of being an introvert. We introverts live a lot of our lives internally. We think, we feel, we ruminate and celebrate internally. We become energized internally, not by external things.

It’s a good thing, but it’s not always what it seems. I generally look still and quiet, but looks, as our mothers all told us, can be deceiving. More times than not my brain is running rampant like a four-year-old in a toy store, overwhelmed by the choices. So many possibilities. So many things to do. So many things to think about. So many things to write, to paint to fix. So many people to reach out to, visit, take care of.

I start my day, most days, with meditation and prayer and journal writing. That time grounds me, forces me to focus on the moment. The now. What is. Not what might be could be should be, just what is. Right now.

It allows my poor brain and heart to rest.

I’ve become good at it. I wasn’t for a long time. I didn’t even know that I wasn’t. That whole running at millions of miles a minute thing was my normal. And yet, I was quiet. People would ask me what I was thinking. I’d say nothing.

I realize now that was a lie.

The truth was that I was thinking about so much I could not begin to articulate it all. I was overwhelmed. People will accept the answer “nothing” easier than an answer that says “I have a few thousand things going on in my head right now and I can’t even wrestle one or two of them down enough to make conversation.” Yeah, give them that answer and they’d be calling in the men in the white coats. I’d be dressed in the latest is fashionable straight jackets.

But, I was never bored.

Meditation, conscious stillness has become a lifesaver for me. but it took a long time to get here. At the beginning, when I tried meditation, or tried to slow myself down, that just gave my overwrought brain more fodder for the fire. “Oh, what makes you think you can do this?”, it would laugh. “Just one more thing in the mix to do. Bwaaahahahahahah!”

But I persisted. I believed it was possible. My counselor, bless her soul, held my feet to the fire, and I got there. Most days, I can wrestle my four-year-old brain into a quiet place. And I rest.

I know how exhausting it is to have a brain that won’t stop, and how exhausting it is to try and get some of that stuff out when you can’t keep up with your own brain. I know how frustrating to begin talking about “A”, when your brain is already reciting the rest of the alphabet while it’s singing nursery rimes, and trying to do rocket science while it seeks the meaning of life and the meaning of “A” and why did anyone want to know about “A” anyway and….

I know that exhaustion.

Add that to depression and you have quite the stew.

And no wonder I value the stillness. It is rest. I love work that makes me focus for long periods of time. Others might think that exhausting, but for me, it is rest.

The path here has not been easy. I didn’t take to it naturally.

I did once. For many years, I was not so crazy. My divorce changed that. It took an already tired and depressed person and pulled me apart and re-put me together like a madcap Mr Potato head, with too many mouths, ears, eyes and noses. Which one was right? Which one as wrong? How I had I become so ugly in a moment? How had I become so disposable? And from there, I began to question everything.

Stillness though, allows me to see. It allows me to sift. It allows me to choose what I want to think on, to do. It gives me perspective and simplifies things.  And reclaiming it as, for me, hard.

But powerful.

I learned a lot of techniques. I worked at it. I read books. I talked to others. but in the end, I came to one simple answer. For me at least, I got there because of persistence, not skill or talent or inclination or ability. I got there because I believed it was possible and kept on despite failing again and again and again and again and… well, you get the picture.

Winston Churchill once said “Success consists of going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.”  I believe it.

Overwhelmed? THere’s a way out. Don’t give up. And don’t make it too hard. Hardheadedness will serve you better.

I believe it.

Be well. Travel wisely,

Tom

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