my space tracker

Hope Forward: Surviving and Thriving through Emotional Pain: March 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Last Time Was The Last Time

You've heard the sayings that go along with this one.  If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got." And "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and again and expecting a different result."

So I recently heard this: We know that our thinking is going in the right direction when we are met again with temptation - to ruminate again, to use our drug of choice again, to act inappropriately, to lose it, to give in, to yes when we should say no, or no when we should say yes - and  instead of doing whatever it is that we do that keeps us going in circles we do something different.  Instead of saying to ourselves "Okay, this time will be the last time," we say "No, the last time was the last time."

It's not always so easy.  We can't always pull it off. We can't always say this to ourselves, even when we know it's probably for the best, for our best, for everyone's best.  Especially when we are hurting, or feeling low about ourselves, or are angry with someone we love and want to trust. Or when we are afraid of feeling too much, too intensely.

But sometimes we can.   We can know that whatever the urge is to do whatever it is that keeps us going in circles will pass.  That we can change directions, even it seems like it's only a small, incremental, tiny pivot point, it still counts.  We can do one thing differently.  We can say something different to ourselves. One thing at a time counts. Next right small thing.  Because the small things add up.  And even if they didn't, they make a tiny mark in the right direction. 

And even if we are hurting, or frustrated or feeling hopeless, it's amazing how one small thought can make such a big impact toward getting us over the mountain to a better feeling and a better life.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Door to Things Unknown

There are things known, and things unknown, and in between are the doors ~ Jim Morrison ( of course, but with a few other earlier influences)

It is sometimes difficult to decide to open the door and walk around in your mind and your past and to get curious about your character, and to take a look at what motivates you, lights you up or holds you back.

And really, its not always necessary.  Sometimes we are functioning and feeling well, or just fine, or even just well enough to do our day and to take care of our responsibilities.  Not everyone is, or has to be, interested in opening the door to things unknown.

Emotional pain, trauma, relationship difficulties, life changes, job issues, these tend to push people to open the door, even reluctantly.  But otherwise, looking around in the undercurrents of the psyche does not seem so imperative.

But opening the door can make us better partners, people, parents and citizens.  And there are lots of ways to open the door, not just therapy, but a good book, film, prayer, meditation, book clubs, charitable work, anything that facilitates thought and reflection, ideas and dialogue.  Any kind of time out from the electronics and busyness of everyday life.

Sometimes we are afraid to open the door.  We think if we know more then we will have to make changes, or be accountable, or we will find something that will shame us, or hurt us, or incite us to self criticism or self attack.  Or that we will be disloyal to someone we love.  So we don't want to look. 

But we don't have too move fast, or look furiously.  And we can be brave.  Looking gently most likely brings gentle but useable information. Our fears are usually manageable, and what comes to us is usually relieving.

Somehow just being open to the idea that there are always ways to grow, there is more to know, can help bring relief when it's needed.  There are many paths to knowing things that are unknown, but just the feeling that you are looking, doing one next right thing toward expansion and knowledge, emotional knowledge, self knowledge, can move you into better feelings, hope and resiliency.