I can’t, but I will.
shared by Ed in Utah (whose wilderness therapy client transformed these words uttered on a difficult mountain descent into a mantra that helped him gain confidence to excel in his healing and also in his life)
[a series of texts sent from father to son]
Mind is a trap…
(son: Mind is a trap?)
Your thoughts may set you up for outcomes that aren’t defined yet…
Thoughts lead to feelings… feelings spin out on equally charged thoughts… and actions… that not necessarily need to happen
Become the observer of your own thoughts and actions
And learn that
You are in control
-rearrange your thoughts
-reset your emotions
-take the wheel of your life, hold it tight and steer around bumps and corners
-Carlos Semeghini, shared by Carlos in Trumbull, CT
Last year in Ripples #1138: Validating Your Feels, we explored the idea that your feelings are valid even though they aren’t always accurate. That topic came rushing back to me recently when I read the paradoxical “I can’t, but I will,” mantra that Ed picked up from one of his clients. It reminded me that just as feelings can fib, thoughts can sometimes be tricky, too. They can initially sound reasonable, but sometimes slip in some fuzzy logic that can derail our plans.
And then Carlos shared the text exchange with his son which became today’s Boulder, helping us unpack this idea a little further. I like how he suggests that our thinking patterns can sometimes lead us down a path that seems logical but may not necessarily be the only or best path to travel. I know my own monkey mind is often a swirl of cognitions and emotions. When I pause before acting, I often realize that much of it isn’t relevant or helpful.
We can’t completely avoid the inevitable bumps and corners that life presents, and we have little control over which thoughts and feelings pop up as a result. Still, with a little practice and a little patience, we can improve our capacity to pause and observe before we act. Mindfully choosing which thoughts to focus on can alter, sometimes drastically, how we experience those bumps and corners.
In the last few weeks I’ve played around with moving past a few of my instinctive “I can’t do that” thoughts and powered through with some “I will do it anyway” actions. It’s been helpful, empowering, and even kinda fun. Give it a try.
P.S. This week’s Pebble and Boulder are great examples of “off the beaten path” quotes that you won’t likely find elsewhere. I’m proud of the fact that from the very beginning of Ripples (back in 1999!), I’ve relied on readers to submit quotes when they encounter (or create!) wisdom worth Rippling. Thanks, y’all!