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We Box Ourselves In With Limiting Beliefs, and We Also Set Ourselves Free

I can get seduced by the idea that there is somewhere to get to. At those times, it looks like something exists outside of the present moment that I am working toward. I forget that all I have is now.

Erda Estremera on Unsplash

I still get surprised by the invisible power of thought at times. Like the Henry Ford quote says: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” I got it into my head that I can only write in the mornings. This morning I didn’t write. I got caught up in trying to unsuccessfully figure out a video editing software and spent most of the day ensconced in it.

When it came to this evening, I had some quiet time while Angus was picking up our youngest daughter from her job. I started to watch a video. Then I remembered I hadn’t written and thought, “I can use this time to write.”

My first inclination was, “No, I can’t write now. I only write in the mornings.”

I had defined myself as a morning writer. My instinct to believe that thought was strong. I put myself in the morning writer box and started gathering evidence.

“I’m tired. I can’t write when I am tired. I need to be fresh to write.”

Then I realized I was the one giving credibility to my thoughts. The thoughts were not THE truth. I was the one making them real.

The fact is I can write any time of day or night. I can write if I am tired. I can write if I’m sick. It doesn’t mean that I will or that I should, but it is possible. And me writing first thing in the morning when I am fresh, does not guarantee that anything good is going to come forward. I don’t control that part. My job is to show up and let my fingers do the typing. The less I think, the better the experience is for me. If I am thinking while writing, it is usually a running commentary evaluating what I am writing. It is not helpful and ultimately only slows my output by putting a filter of quality control on my words.

It is so obvious to me that this is not a good idea when it comes to my writing that I am usually able to ignore my unhelpful thoughts, but I can see how my evaluative thinking is active all the time trying to box me in, and I sometimes pay attention to those dampening thoughts without realizing it.

I wonder, “How many boxes am I putting myself into each day without even knowing?”

In day-to-day living, it is less visible to me when I am boxing myself in. I am more prone to fall into automatic thinking and not notice that I am living in habituated thought rather than inspired, fresh thinking. I get complacent and tolerate a low feeling out of routine and numbness. When I do this, it feels normal and comfortable even though it is usually associated with internal pressure. My habit is to be driven. It is a routine of pressure to get better results.

The new normal I am getting used to is seeing the benefit of allowing natural momentum to emerge in my life. Rather than have my doing be from my sweat have it can come from inspiration. This is a learning curve.

Sometimes the noise of pressure is so loud I can’t see beyond it. It consumes me and drowns out the voice of common sense or reason in my head. I am not doing any of this consciously. Like a cigarette smoker who lights another cigarette without even realizing it, I can find myself working hard before I know it.

I have improved. There has definitely been progress made. I experience less internal pressure, but I sometimes find myself looking for more peace.

“When this gets done or when I finish that — then I will relax.”

I can get seduced by the idea that there is somewhere to get to. At those times, it looks like something exists outside of the present moment that I am working toward. I forget that all I have is now.

Just because we have a thought doesn’t mean it is true. Even when the thought evokes a big negative feeling that feeling is not a sign of the validity of the thought. It is feedback to let us know our thinking is off base. The worse the feeling is, the more distorted our thinking is at the moment.

Greater freedom does not come from improving myself, trying to eliminate or change thinking or the accompanying painful emotional experience. Trying to fix myself boxes me in.

Peace and ease come from seeing thought and feelings for what they are — temporary and normal, and from looking to what is behind our thoughts and feelings. Rather than looking for the experience of freedom by getting more done, I can look to what is unchanging to reveal to me more about the truth of who I am that is peace.

When I see this, it is so much easier to ride the waves of human experience. I get better at not losing perspective and the surfing becomes more fun and enjoyable.

The human experience includes limiting ourselves and boxing ourselves in. However, we are also connected with infinite potential. We have the gift of unlimited fresh thought that breaks us free from our conditioned thinking so we experience greater levels of freedom. This our divine potential. We get to unboxed ourselves, and like unwrapping a present — we are always waking up to the gift of who we are.

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    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

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