Thoughts may have no intention, but my intention today is to write a short post. (Mind reading break: I am now imagining you, dear reader, thinking “Yay!” or “It’s about friggin’ time! These long posts have been brutal!” or “I’ve stopped reading your blog because of those annoyingly long posts!”) (That latter burst of mind reading is based on a logical impossibility, but that’s not going to stop me.)
So far, in this post, I have almost immediately put up obstacles for my writing a short post — by writing down several of my thoughts. And if I keep doing that, this post may be nominated for The Longest Post In All Creation Award. (By the way, in my meanderings on this blogging site, I’ve noticed that people do get nominated for awards but I don’t know anything else about them.) (I wonder if that sounded like a hint, that I’m asking to be nominated?) (Hmmm, maybe I am?)
So, believe it or not, this post already illustrates my point, which is today’s title: “Thoughts have no intention.”
I have to thank Michael, my boyfriend (whom I have not mentioned in this blog before) for the title of today’s post.
I haven’t mentioned Michael before today for at least two reasons: (1) I am figuring out, day by day, how much to self-disclose in this blog and (2) I don’t like the word “boyfriend.”
By the way, I originally wrote, in that previous sentence, “I hate the word “boyfriend,” but I could just imagine my son saying to me something like “You are supposed to be soooo Non-Judgmental, but you are sooooo Judgmental.” (That’s not an accurate quote, at all, but I’m trying to capture my son’s verbal mixture of sarcasm, age-appropriate challenging, and good humor.) (If my son reads this, I’m assuming he is NOT going to like what I just wrote.)
So, I don’t have to point out or apologize for digressions in today’s post — Yay! Because, dear reader, that’s the friggin’ point of today’s post. (By the way, my son keeps telling me to lose the “dear reader” motif.)
Our minds wander, everywhere. They just do. Thoughts come and go. Flit in, flit out.
Our thoughts are in the moment, but rarely, unless we practice, practice, practice, bringing ourselves back to that present moment, over and over again. Our thoughts go to the past. They go to the future. Our thoughts relate to where we are, geographically, and they go on trips, all around the world. They’re in the room, then outside the room.
Maybe that’s one reason it’s so difficult to write! Of course, I can only speak to my own experience, and I’ll own that experience, for sure — I find it difficult to corral my thoughts, to stick to a topic, and to communicate effectively. In communication (writing and speaking), I find that it takes soooo much work to maintain effective communication with others — to keep the connection — because I’m constantly trying to figure out which of my thoughts are relevant, and which thoughts are so random and unique to my experience that spouting them off will confuse the other person, and break that connection.
Actually, I find Michael’s quote “Thoughts have no intention” really reassuring. Does that seem random and surprising, for me to write that, right now? Whether it does or it doesn’t, I do find that quote reassuring.
Here’s why: If I’m engaging in the cognitive distortion of Mind Reading, Michael’s point is one of my “antidotes.” That is, it’s one way I challenge my negative mind reading (that is, my projection of my own Inner Critic or Fears about Other People’s Thoughts).
Let me try to explain and illustrate that.
Let’s say I’m doing all sorts of Mind Reading — having moments when I’m caring what other people think and assuming the worst — that people are having negative and judgmental thoughts about me. (Am I the only one in the blog-space who does that? I think not.) As an example of that, let’s take those negative Mind Reading thoughts I was having in the first paragraph in this post, above, where I imagined readers disliking my long posts and some getting annoyed enough that they have rolled their blogging-readin’ eyes and thought, “Forget this! I’m out this dopey, Non-Judgmental-Living blog NOW and FOREVER!!”
I could challenge that bout of negative mind reading, as follows:
So what if some people have had negative thoughts about this blog? What if people have had moments of annoyance about the length of some of these posts? If they have, those thoughts would be just some of many other thoughts they might have, that come and go, flit in and flit out, about this blog. Also, those thoughts are just a small sub-set of thoughts they are having about a kashmillion other things. There is a constant train of one thought after another, a complete mix, each thought being replaced by the next. People don’t intend to think something, they just do. And the thoughts that I’m fearing — the negative thoughts, about me and what I do, are NOT more powerful than the other thoughts they are having. And some of the thoughts they are having, in addition to any negative ones about this blog or me, might actually be positive ones, too! That is — as a reader is reading through one of my posts — any of these thoughts may come up, as each moment goes by: “this part doesn’t make sense to me,” “now this REALLY makes sense, ” “I agree with this, “I don’t agree with this,” “this part is well-written, ” “this part isn’t,” “this helps me,” “I don’t like what she’s saying here, ” “this makes me uncomfortable,” “I’m skimming over this,” “I’ll try to remember this for later,” and so on. And those reader-thoughts are just my guesses at the blog-related thoughts, which will be sharing mind space with outside-the-blog thoughts, such as, “I have to get all these friggin’ things done today,” “I hate my hair,” “I’m hungry,” and “I wonder whether Alec Baldwin is in the news today?” Plus, different readers are going to have their own sets of different, passing thoughts. One reader might think, “I don’t like the term ‘dear reader’, another might think, “I like that term!” Or, different readers might think “Alec Baldwin pisses me off!” “I love Alec Baldwin!” “Is there anything that guy does that the media DOESN’T report on?” or “Whoa! Where did HE come from?”
So that helps me, right now, dear reader — to recognize and name this: Your (and my) thoughts, are so numerous, so varied, and pass by soooo quickly.
That helps me reduce the power of the Thoughts I Fear — any critical ones you might have.
Okay, here’s a thought of mine, right now, which DOES have an intention: I’ve got to stop writing and get to work!
Thanks for reading (and for ALL of your thoughts).