our creative minds

“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.” Ovid


I love that quote by Ovid and I keep it on my computer desktop so I can read it often. I’m not sure if it will ever happen to me or not….wake up one day to find that I have ceased to worry, but it might. It is possible, and this quote reminds me of that fantastic possibility. It also helps me stay aware of how my mind often seems to find a kind of perverse pleasure in thinking up new things to be afraid about.

I was shopping last week and found a gift for a friend that I just knew was perfect, so I bought it thinking I’d send it to her rather than waiting to give it to her when we met in November.

All was well as I drove home feeling such delight about my purchase. Then at some point (which I didn’t catch) I imagined her telling me that it was nice of me to think of her, but she didn’t really like it. In my imaginary, unhappy, scenario, I even heard her say that she was so sorry but she just needed to be honest and tell me. I began to feel bad and also think she was ungrateful.

I went to bed that night and forgot about my story but the next day, I saw the gift, wrapped and ready to be mailed and I had a huge desire to unwrap it and look at it again thinking maybe I’d been wrong to buy it. Then I caught myself and backtracked to the first thought, so I tried to change the scenario to seeing her opening the package and loving the gift, but it felt like I was in a tug of war with my mind: one part was trying to imagine a happy ending and the other was holding tightly to an unhappy one.

I decided not to mail the package out until I could stop being concerned (concern, worry, and anxiety are all just words that describe fear) that it wasn’t wanted, and could clearly see happiness all the way around. I eventually did mail the gift, and she loved it, but by the time I mailed it, I realized that the gift was really for me. The entire situation had helped me to see, once again, the power of thought and the power of choosing thoughts.

Not letting my mind dictate a story and have me blindly follow it, believing it to be “the truth”, is a wonderful step to take.

It sounds like such a small and dumb thing when I retell it. I mean, what the heck?! A 59-year-old woman still fretting about such trifles? But the thing fretted over isn’t the heart of the issue. It could just as well be the 2 a.m. thought that a headache is probably brain cancer or the sound of a siren means that someone I love has gotten into a terrible accident. When my mind is creating a sorrowful, frightening, or unhappy scenarios, it wants me to take it seriously. It doesn’t want to be questioned or, god-forbid, laughed at.

One of my funniest examples of this (I think I’ve written about this before but it deserves to be retold) was years ago when I was writing out affirmations. A suggested affirmation for financial success was, “There is no reality in lack”. I wrote this out with a bunch of other affirmations and somehow Jack saw the paper. He was devastated and confused. He thought I’d written, “There is no reality in Jack”. I still laugh when I think about this, but if he had just read it, said nothing, and let his mind run with it? Who knows what would have happened.

Don’t believe every thought you have, especially if the thought makes you feel awful. Imagine happy endings, beginnings and middles…..life is a lot more fun that way.

One of my newest little paintings for sale on MY ARTWORK PAGE

One of my newest little paintings for sale on MY ARTWORK PAGE

9 thoughts on “our creative minds

  1. Dear Mary, as always your posts are so timely for me. I am having an MRI tomorrow regarding lower back and hip pain and of course my mind has been wrestling with me for days now, wanting to think of all the terrible things that might be wrong. Thank you for this honest and truthful reminder that I don’t have to believe my mind and it’s outrageous stories of horribleness. You’ve helped boost a positive attitude for me and brought me back to my senses. My inner senses that is. Much love to you!

  2. Hmmm…you really have me thinking Mary…why is it that while “Literature is my Utopia”, I/we have so much difficulty distinguishing the fictional versus non-fictional in the stories we manufacture and tell ourselves?! Some of us would put a book down immediately if we couldn’t get ‘into’ it and we’d pick up another. But get us wrapped up in our own unhappy fictional story telling and we just keep adding another chapter to the story. Better to put it down and rewrite our script! xoxo

    • Oh my Kathye, how true a statement is that….and how profound, it’s come up and hit me square in the face….something to think about. A reality we’d all be better looking at.
      SandyP in Canada

  3. hi sweet mary. ..saw your latest jewel– “literature is my utopia” and thought instantly of my daughter, who loves books as much as I do. . would love to buy it for her. . .do you still have it? ( I already have your wonderful keyhole painting) Hope you are well; sending you a hug from california. . .veronica

  4. Mary, I so needed to read this. Thank you for sharing. I have been focusing way too much on sad things that may happen in future (and probably will because we all die eventually) and need to focus on the enjoyment of now. Bless you!

  5. Mary, as Kathye has said, if we spent more time directing our thoughts in a more positive manner instead of a minor or major crisis mode and constantly rewriting the stories in our minds, I for one would be better off doing it instead of that instant alarm system that seems hard-wired into my brain. What a waste of time and effort but the ego seems to take pleasure in getting into the muck and murk of life. I seem to have to constantly discipline it like a naughty child who seems bent on mischievously messing with me.
    SandyP in Canada

  6. Hi Mary, I love this message! Just the other day I allowed myself to move through my fear of many things and ask a guy out for coffee. He said no, but I am still quite proud of myself for finding courage to ask! As you said so well, sometimes the gift shows up in ways we do not expect!

  7. I am amazed at the stories I can create. What helps me most to avoid creating those stories is~~to remind myself to stay “in the moment”, with whatever I am doing, to stay focused and not let my monkey-mind ruminate. It’s a challenge but often helps me let go of the fear / worry.

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