May 30, 2014 at 7:59 am #57710
Good morning TB members. Thank you in advance for any suggestions, opinions and/or advice. I always appreciate your insight.
I have two questions that I have contemplating and wonder if you could help. The first, I am having a difficult time sleeping and getting these obsessive thoughts out of my head at night. I wake up each hour and find myself anxious and having reoccurring negative thoughts spinning in my head. Last night, I tried breathing slow and counting 1,2,3 Peace over and over. I tried watching the thoughts leave my head without luck. For some reason nights are a bad time for me. I recently found out that my ex (wedding in the works) has starting seeing someone else that is a friend of a good friend of mine. It’s been 8 months since we broke up, and I am definitely getting better, but still lonely and hurt, while grieving and focusing on mental and physical healing. From social media, I see these pics of him and her having so much fun doing the things we loved to do and other common friends commenting on them. I am happy he is in a good place, but it hurts to see this and know she replaced me and will hang out with my friends as well. I know I need to move on, but just can’t focus at night, when “she’s so cute,” “he’s so happy now,” “they are having so much fun,” “I wish I would have, could have, should have” ring through my head continuously. Any thoughts on how to help deal with this?
Another question, how much should “fun” be a part of your relationship? I know that is a generic question. But, as I reflect back, my ex and I had so much fun together. We were always busy having fun, traveling, diving, biking, camping, socializing. This is what both of us enjoyed in the relationship. I now see them having fun, and I am lonely and trying to heal my heart and thoughts. I typically tend to be attracted to this type of person, but dread going through another tough breakup after years of being involved in a relationship. We broke up being after 2 ½ years, and ultimately he had issues with committing or future planning. I am 38 and know age shouldn’t matter, but I always thought we would have a family together as well.
Does anyone have suggestions on how to turn off these thoughts as you’re trying to sleep? And could you offer what are the more important things in a relationship, and does that include having fun with someone? I should say I think it does, but to what extent.
Thank you kindly.May 30, 2014 at 9:27 am #57714MattParticipant
I’m sorry for your spinning thoughts, and know how exhausting it can be when we are unable to find restful mind. There are many approaches to helping silence the mind, and its really more about letting the spin happen without grabbing on or getting sucked in. Consider, as you lay in bed, there’s no point to your thoughts. Like a little bird,chirping and chirping, the mind just runs. But like a whirlpool, they suck you in, generating painful feelings. Very normal, very usual.
Consider for a moment the mental stuff as a maze. Corners, dead ends, twists and turns, your creativity imagining what ifs and if onlys. We keep looking for an exit, a thought that will free us from the maze, but golly, there seems to be no exit! The lesson of the maze isn’t to find an exit,rather, its to drop the maze. We sit down,right in the center of the maze, and start intentionally thinking happy thoughts.
Specifically, we can start cultivating loving kindness, or the emotion of warm friendship. This helps erode the walls of the maze, helps lessen the gravity of the whirlpool. The spinning isn’t really an issue, its that the mind isn’t peaceful. The spinning is just your creativity, but its painful creativity because its being fueled by your lamentation, or cyclical grief over the loss.
So as we cultivate loving friendship, that loss is left behind, accepted, moved past. We start simple,such as imagining giving tender care to a kitten, helping it feel safe,warm,loved. Slowly, we can work toward the bigger challenges, such as wishing the ex to be happy and peaceful in his life. This brings us authentic healing, uproots the ick that pulls at us, the gravity of the whirlpool.
Then, our mind doesn’t fixate on the negative, rather it dances across a wide open field smelling flowers, maybe nibbling some grass. “What did I like about the ex, what would I like in a new partner? Oh, that one man smiled at me sweetly, that’s nice. Maybe I’d like to go on a hike tomorrow.” Etc. Easy, simple, warm, tender.
To grow that loving space within us starts with metta cultivation. Metta is just a word that means that energy of loving friendship. When we sit and intentionally think happy thoughts, first it is a struggle, the mind falling again into painful cycles. Over time, those happy thoughts sink deep into our subconscious, and we begin to feel loving and warm feelings. That’s when the maze becomes past, dropped. The walls just sustained by grief, by “poor me”,by “dammit”. Consider “Sharon Salzburg guided metta meditation” on YouTube if interested.
Namaste, dear sister, may your fields open and blossom.
MattMay 30, 2014 at 1:20 pm #57719
Thank you, Matt. I always appreciate and respect your responses, this one included. Your analogy of the maze walls makes good sense. I am going to try that tonight, along with imagining fields of beautiful flowers. And thank you for the meditation advice, being I should be keeping up with that better. I go in good spurts, and then other times, it’s hard for me to get into that peaceful state. But, I am going to strive so my fields open and blossom. I love that. Thank you for your positivity and light.
Take care.May 30, 2014 at 8:45 pm #57755MattParticipant
Thanks for the kind words, happy to help. 🙂 Sometimes our time on the cushion doesn’t seem all that relaxing… but its still a workout. If your mind is really distracted, consider “ajahn jayasaro counting breaths” on YouTube, if interested. If there’s a lot of emotion, it can be helpful to give something very tangible for the brain to do. Such as if one of Sharon’s pauses is met with a lot of random thoughts, not spending time with the words, etc. 🙂
MattMay 30, 2014 at 11:15 pm #57759JuniperParticipant
I was looking up items on being judgmental and somehow came across this posting. I specifically registered so I can reply to this. And maybe I’m replying to this more because I want to hear it from myself too.
You are human. We have brains that are based off animal instincts. You will get jealous. You will be sad. You will feel a sense of loss when a relationship ends and you feel like the other person has moved on.
You don’t have to judge yourself on a time frame of how long you “think” it “should” take for someone to get over something. You are understandably feeling a sense of loss with this new situation. Many people would feel that way. Even if they don’t, you do. So let yourself feel sad. What you will push away will only come back stronger. Ironically, if you let yourself feel it and accept your feelings as they are, you don’t get that secondary “feeling bad about feeling bad” which can sometimes make you feel better. Even if it doesn’t feel better, it’s ok. All feelings and thoughts will change because they are only feelings and thoughts. Everything changes. Even thoughts and feelings.
Should you want to not be caught up in your head, find some grounding things to get out of your head- meditation, yoga, whatever. But continuing to argue with yourself about why you shouldn’t feel a certain way will understandably only keep you in your head thinking things over and over to make yourself stop.
“Don’t think of pink elephants. Why are you thinking of pink elephants? I told you not to think of pink elephants. There you go again, thinking of pink elephants. You are defective because you can’t stop yourself from thinking something like pink elephants.” The same thing happens with any other subject. When you try hard to not think of something, you are bringing that thing to your attention. Know your thoughts don’t matter and you are ok being a human who is understandably in pain for having lost something.
Also, “age doesn’t matter” only to people who don’t have goals that have a human biological time frame. If you do, understandably, it will matter.
On facebook, people will almost always present the positive things in their life. No one posts pictures of the arguments they had or the way the other person checked out every other person in the bar they were in. You don’t have to judge your insides to other people’s outsides. Plus, the beginning of any relationship is always wonderful when people don’t know that much about the parts that make them real people with real problems. The same problems you saw will always be there for the other person. The only difference is how much it doesn’t matter to the new person.
Synopsis: You’re ok. You’re understandably human and sad. It’s ok to be sad and you may think about it over and over, but in the end, it doesn’t matter. They’re just thoughts. And as long as they don’t dictate your behaviors, you are doing just fine. Have a good sleep.May 31, 2014 at 12:50 am #57762
Thanks Matt and Juniper.
Thanks for your post. I will provide my perspective here and hopefully wont double up with other posts.
1. re: fun in the relationship. You need to stop blaming yourself for the breakup.
It is good to have heaps of fun in any relationships. Sometimes, it is not us, which makes people leave us. It is often about the other person who is not able to commit or appreciate something about the relationship. How would you feel if in a few days you find out that your ex-partner has moved on to yet another partner and this could go on for a long time ?
You need to re-focus and make it all about yourself now 🙂 When we are able to do what we want to do in our lives without conditions or hesitation, everything becomes easier. We don’t feel cheated, betrayed or jealous then as our needs are being met. We feel content in our existence. On the other hand, as long as we keep blaming the external circumstances or people for our grief or destiny or things going wrong in life, we keep looking outside for answers and keep binding us down in the chains of sorrow. Does this make sense ?
If Lightsource likes to have fun, then do that. If lightsource likes to chill out in the house with a glass of red, do so. If Lightsource likes to go out pubbing, then do that. Whatever makes you happy and free, do that. You have to live your life in order to move on from negative experiences that we all go through. You are not a slave and you are not someone’s toy either. You are YOU with feelings, desires and emotions but the only person who can appreciate this about you is no one else but YOU. Do you know what I am talking about ?
2. re: negative thoughts. We all go through ups and down in this life and that is what makes life worthwhile. No day is same. Change is the only constant. When we flow with the nature, life feels great. Stop flowing with nature or our needs, life starts to feel burdensome.
We produce close to 60000 thoughts a day and we recycle about close to 90 % everyday, which means we are producing very few new thoughts and just rethinking the old again and again. Thoughts are influenced by everything around us – the news, friends, food we eat, things we look at, FB drama, work drama etc. When we are surrounded by negativity, our thoughts are predominantly of similar energy and we feel heavy and dark. When we are surrounded by positivity, we feel light and bright. Sleep comes easy when we are feeling positive. Ability to help people comes easy when we are feeling light and bright. So I suggest that to turn your thoughts around from predominantly negative state to a positive one, pls try the following:
– Practicing positive affirmations. I have mentioned this in my earlier post as well. Louise Hay, Susan Jeffers, Cheryl Davidson – all provide a useful resource on this. One easy way of putting you to sleep is to listen to one of their positive affirmation CDs. It has 2 benefits – it will put you to sleep and secondly, whole night your subconscious mind will be processing those positive thoughts and when you wake up, you will feel charged 🙂
– Meditation is a great way of easing your mind and thoughts but it can take a while to work for some. Most people focus on trying to eliminate their thoughts during meditation, which doesn’t work. We are creatures of thoughts and the only time, we cant think is when we are in trance. A true trance state can only be achieved by a few who are practicing the right type of meditation for a long time. This takes regular and devoted practice ie no breaks whether you are having a good day or bad day. The meditation that Matt has mentioned is great and you should give it a shot if you have not done so as yet. Another option is to listen to this heart chakra meditation before you go to sleep.
You don’t have to do anything except for close your eyes and listen to the sounds in a dark room. You can think as much as you want 🙂 it is only 10 mins. I am pretty confident that after a few days, You will see a positive change in your reflection of the world and self.
– practicing gratitude is another way of changing your thought pattern – you can be thankful even for the slightest things like hot water for shower, hot water for a cuppa, warm water for washing dishes in winter, fridge to keep our ice cream nice and chilled etc. There are often 50-60 things that we can be thankful for easily in a given day. The more we let the Universe know that we are grateful for things we have in life, the more it grows in our lives.
3. Few pearls that I have picked up over the years
– we are 100 percent responsible for everything that happens in our lives. If we do not like something, we should have the courage to change it and move on. The more we resist the change, the longer it takes to move forward.
– where attention goes, energy flows
where energy flows, things grow. If you do not want to feel sad, do not check the FB or things associated with your ex. Let him go.
– we are made up of atoms at a very basic level, which is energy. Everything in this Universe is energy and like energy attracts like energy. If you are constantly vibrating at a negative energy, you attract people, things or circumstances of similar energy. To turn this around, laugh a lot. Sing and dance. Offer Gratitude. Do selfless service.
– we get what we want but what we do not realise that our wants can be quite conflicting by the time it merges with the Universal consciousness. For example: I want a husband BUT I hope he doesn’t leave me. I hope he DOESNT say no to having babies. I hope he DOESNT do this or that etc. See what I mean. We have a want but we also have a DOES NOT to go with it. How confusing ! Our wants need to be very clear and simple with no “ifs, buts or should”. I want a husband and we will have a beautiful family together and learn the life lessons that we need to learn in a harmonious way. When you send this wish out into the Universe, how can it not come true ? The trick is the belief that it will come true because that is what YOU want without any “ifs, buts or should”.
Ok, enough of my preaching. I think you get the point 🙂
Loads of blessings and it is ok to have a bad day as long as tomo is a better day. No one has all good days and no one has all sad days. Even I do not have endless positive moments but I know how to turn my negative days into positive ones quickly and I did this by working on self. Nothing happens without constant effort or determination or strong will power. Learning doesn’t stop in life school.
JMay 31, 2014 at 1:12 am #57765JuniperParticipant
Please understand that there are different ways to view thoughts and feelings. Amongst many others, there is the “you think things for a reason, let’s figure out why” psychoanalysis. There is “you need to stop thinking dysfunctional thoughts, change them to positive happier thoughts” version of cognitive behavioral therapy (which is currently the most common version). Or there is newer mindfulness based therapies like acceptance commitment therapy who view thoughts as “neither good or bad, they’re just thoughts”, which is very Buddhist. The mindfulness based ones talk about compassion for whatever thoughts you have, but that actions are the things that matter, not thoughts or feelings
Whatever you decide that you identify with the most, know you are OK as you are.May 31, 2014 at 9:05 pm #57800
Matt, Juniper and Jasmine, thank you so much for your beautiful words of wisdom. I woke up early and found the responses in my email and definitely had a better day because of all of you. I appreciate it so much!
Matt, Ajahn Jayasaro is so good. I love his approach to counting breaths, and it’s definitely something that helps my mind focus on counting rather than spinning in that maze. Thank you for sharing.
Juniper, I am so lucky that you logged in TB to share your response. It made me smile and definitely made me feel better. I have read it a ton of times. So many things you said helped, especially the pink elephant analogy, to allow the feelings and thoughts being that’s all they are, and to not judge my insides to other people’s outsides (so true). And I appreciate you pointing out the different ways to view thoughts. Interesting, and I have never thought of the differences that way. Thank you for your kindness and knowledge.
Jasmine, it’s so great to hear from you. I will take your “preaching” anytime, being it’s really wonderful advice. How true that when we live without conditions and feel content, life is so much easier. It’s odd how we can beat ourselves up, when it’s probably the last thing we need. And you are right about looking outside to external circumstances/people to make sense of something when really the “answers” or peace comes from within. Thank you for sharing all your great advice, and ah, the heart chakra meditation is so soothing. Your pearls of wisdom are brilliant, and I will be coming back to this post many, many times for a refresher. I need to be more conscious and consistent to working on self. Thank you for so much insight to help me with that. And for sharing your big, bright light.June 5, 2014 at 11:07 pm #58219
Thanks for your kind words 🙂
How is it going ? Whats cookin ? LOLJune 6, 2014 at 1:14 am #58226Linda burtParticipant
My name is linda and in march I had a very bad cold and then I had sinusities my doctor gave me a nasal spray and since then I had panic attacks and now I am having negative thoughts about my family. This is really making me worse and I end up crying. I have tried many thing to break the circle but without success. I have had a blood test which came back normal.i am desperate now. Can anyone help.
Many thanks.June 6, 2014 at 7:34 am #58237
How are you, my friend? I hope wonderful!
Well, with summer finally here, I am overindulging in all the ripe, luscious fruits. This morn, it was Greek yogurt, granola, grapes, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and a drizzle of honey. Other days, apples with almond butter, bananas in milk, frozen yogurt and nectarines. Yum! Living in the cold Midwest, it’s nice to see our fruit/veggies options expand.
How about you? What’s cookin’ in your kitchen and life? 🙂June 6, 2014 at 9:34 am #58248
Hi Linda @lindarut
I am sorry for your suffering. Hey, are you still on the spray or you have ceased it ? Was it a decongestant or a steroid based spray ? Did you have anxiety, panic attacks or any mental health issues prior to starting this medication or the panic attacks only started after the medication use ? Is there is a family history of mental health issues ?
What was the blood test for ?
Hey, is someone in the family irritating you real bad ?
JasmineJune 6, 2014 at 9:48 am #58249
Life is always great down under. Went out with complete strangers today for dinner and it was a hilarious outing. I have learnt some decent foul language today. It was like revisiting the good old Uni days lol. My tummy muscles got a lovely workout.
You are cooking some delicious stuff. I have to try the greek yoghurt with all those fruits. Cooking has been a little slow at this end but plan to whip up some pancakes with maple syrup and fresh mangoes in the morning. It is winter here and Mangoes are ripe 🙂 Dogs love mangoes so it will be a treat for the whole family. Yummmmmm
Keep in touch.
JJune 6, 2014 at 2:45 pm #58269
Sounds like a lovely evening! Always fun to make strangers into friends and get a good belly workout in the meantime 😉 And some new foul language as well?! Too funny! I can imagine it was an exciting event.
You and the luv pups enjoy your mangoes! Yum is right!
Let’s definitely keep in touch. xx