Does your mind look something like this?
Well, here’s an exercise for the beginning of this year.
Write down all the recurrent thoughts that you have.
Doesn’t matter what they are about. Just write them down.
I mean the thoughts that keep on coming back over and over and have done for some time.
Let me give you an example.
A long time ago, I bought 10 coupons to go for a sauna at a local fitness gymn. There were 2 coupons left about five years ago.
Now I often drive through the village where the fitness gymn is situated and I’ve often thought that it was high time that I used up the last coupons.
But then I realised that I’d misplaced the coupons.
Now the thought became two:
“I really must find those coupons.”
“We really must use them up.”
I even looked for them once or twice without success.
I don’t know how many times I thought to myself that I must find those coupons or that I must use them up, but quite a few.
Finally, in November a friend came to visit.
As part of a general cleanup in preparation for his visit, I cleared off the piano in the living room.
Amongst the clutter, I came at last upon the coupons.
That got rid of one thought. Now we just had to use the coupons.
A couple of weeks ago, we finally got around to using them.
Great, I thought to myself. One less thing I have to think about.
Does this all sound familiar?
Physical clutter is easier to distinguish because it is physical. Mental and emotional clutter is more insidious and more difficult to eradicate.
Now I’m not suggesting a miracle cure for these thoughts that keep coming back to haunt us. You won’t get rid of them all in five minutes.
But I suggest you take a quiet moment to yourself to write down as many of them as possible.
Choose one that you can do something about.
Then do it.
That will be one less piece of clutter floating around in your mind.
Then try to do something about another one. And so on.
Don’t try to do everything at once. Just choose one at a time.
I guarantee you will feel better and you will have a little more space in your mental house to move around. Maybe even to think about things that you really want to.
Of course, if you’ve hung on to the thought for long enough, this isn’t quite the end of the process. It will leave a trace.
Now I drive through the village and think:
‘Thank God I found those coupons and used them up!’
Which is still a thought which doesn’t need to be there.
But at least it’s a positive one.
And eventually, I’ll be able to drive though the village and only think that occasionally or not at all.
It does, however, underline the importance of getting started.
The quicker you get on to these thoughts and resolve them, the quicker you can move on.
And the shorter the trace time.
I hope that 2019 brings you excellent health and your heart’s desires (as long as that hurts no one else!)
May your life never become an endurance test!