We often listen the worst with the people we know best. That’s because we’re so sure we already know them and what they have to offer. So when some friends suggested that another friend see me for some help in getting over a six year old divorce, it wasn’t surprising to me when the friend resisted. Despite claims to the contrary about how friendship works, we’re often more secretive about our challenges with friends than with strangers. This is simply because the friends are important to us so we don’t want to be seen as failing in their eyes. So despite the fact that we could all easily see she was trapped in an unhealthy thought pattern, we all just let her Be.
Over a year later she was still in the cycle. The ex-husband had now been gone for seven years, off enjoying a new life with a much younger, slimmer, and apparently more successful young woman. Him leaving had been as surprising as it was devastating and it lead my friend to distrust men in general, and she certainly didn’t have a mind to date. She couldn’t even drive or walk through a favourite neighbourhood just out of fear that she would run into him (and/or her). In short, her life had become a tiny, hurt, sad cycle between working, and sitting at home wishfully thinking life could only be good the way it was.
In her thoughts, her life was over. The great love of her life was gone and she saw that as her only route to happiness. Of course that idea is absurd. There are a zillion ways to be happy, but until we’re watching for them they simply do not exist. Eventually I got tired of watching the friend suffer and so I took action to alter where her consciousness was dwelling. Despite the fact that she’s an attractive woman and she had been approached by a great many quality men, she had paid no attention simply because she was only looking for one man—her ex-husband. I needed to change that.
She was living in fear. Fear of a life without her ex, fear of running into him, fear that she was too old and too out of shape to ever succeed romantically again. Fear fear fear. Then I sent her flowers. Anonymously. From a “Secret Admirer.” Now what do you think that caused to happen within her consciousness?
Before she looked at men simply as interactions. They were there to drop something off, pick something up, repair something, discuss something—men were only about work and her dealings with them were transactional. But now she had these flowers and someone had told her that they secretly thought she was beautiful (actually many people had unsuccessfully tried to communicate that). That caused her to wonder who had sent such a thing.
So instead of viewing each man as not-her-husband, now every man that approached her desk was thought of as a possible source of the flowers. Appropriately, her tone shifted from business-like brusque to flirtatiously curious. Do you see how her thoughts are now manifesting her into a truly different person? Can you see that—to the men who saw her regularly—this was a major change. And as she wondered if they found her attractive, they began to wonder if that was because she was attracted to them.
This took all of two weeks and she was going on her first date. Months later she’d found a new boyfriend half her age and they stayed happily together for years. So what does this teach us? It teaches us that our thoughts create our life. When she sat there thinking she was unattractive, lonely and doomed, then she was. She acted that out and therefore she only looked attractive to fixers—the guys that wanted to repair her life rather than share her life. But when her thinking changed to the idea that someone found her attractive as she was, she became curious about who this person could be. So in short, she stopped thinking about herself and she started thinking about the experiences that were possible.
What experiences are possible for you? What or who are you shutting out of your life because of your fears? How can you go from being afraid of what might happen to excited by what might happen? It’s a simple corner you turn in your mind. Simply watch your thoughts and remember that you are actively creating them. If they feature a lot of I’s and me’s and they’s and them’s then you know you’re lost in ego. But if your thoughts are about discovery and possibility and potential experience, then you are open to all forms of rewarding engagement with life. And with that kind of perspective, any situation becomes a potentially good one.
Free yourself. Stop thinking about your fears. Start thinking about what you love and your life will be miraculous. Enjoy.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.