Sometimes I catch myself having thoughts I’d rather not have. Mornings on the bus heading to work for instance. I’ll probably be listening to music on my iPod and suddenly thoughts may pop up out of nowhere. Disjointed. Disconnected. And out of the blue I all of a sudden find myself mentally reliving situations that occurred years or even decades ago. Like the time when I said something embarrassing in class when I was in the first grade. Or when I at 10 got caught trying to lie to one of my parents about something my brother and I were up to. Some might find the ability to remember back that far so clearly impressive and even endearing. But frankly, in situations like that, it sucks! And when the instances that come to mind are even newer…. not decades and years old, but merely months… then it’s even worse.
I’m sure it’s very cathartic. I’m sure it’s even healthy at times – when not overdone or used to the detriment of current life and self-esteem. Reflection is one of those things that aid growth and acceptance and compassion. It doesn’t have to be pleasant and convenient to be useful. And, of course, it could be argued that since these events keep popping up in my awareness they’re obviously requiring attention. Unfinished business, perhaps. Lessons yet to be learned. Accountability yet to be assumed. Things buried in the past so fast I was able to move on without tripping over them at the time when they happened, I guess, you could say.
Certainly, there’s merit to that claim. And the notion that they always seem to pop up in that little “in between” space after finishing one thing and before starting the next, at times when there really isn’t quite enough room for them to insist on getting full attention or follow-up action further supports that. They sneak in under the radar when I’m too busy to keep the lid on the box, so to speak. Because they want to be heard. And seen. They want me to see them. To be aware that they are there, even when it is the very last thing I want. Especially when it is the last thing I want.
I don’t have a standard way of dealing with these thoughts. An intuitive blend of denial, repression, acceptance, admission, penance, constructive action and contemplation make up a practical if not entirely virtuous palette of coping tools. I’m okay with that. Ideals are good sources to draw inspiration and motivation from but as for living relentlessly by them… that’s rarely a path that leads to inner peace and wholesome living. So, it’s all about forming lines as neatly as possible – or if possible, I should say – and dealing with things one at a time as they come. Queue jumping is frowned upon (I am a Virgo and anal about things and their places, after all) but at times it happens. Such is life.
And really that is perhaps what’s hit me lately. That all this apparent self-flagellation isn’t so much about unresolved issues and disorderly lines that just won’t wait their turn. It’s about encompassing it all and being okay with it. So, I made an ass of myself at some point. And I lied. And I behaved badly. And I hurt someone’s feelings. And I did a whole bunch of stuff I’m not proud of. And I still haven’t made amends the way I feel I should. Big deal – inadvertently or not I most likely will do all those things again many times again before I die. It’s not the end of the world. It’s not the end of me. It is not the end of anything. In all likelihood it probably closer to a beginning… something new. Which is good. And that’s actually kind of exciting to me…
… not that that will make me hate it any less when it sneaks up on me next time. But that’s okay – supposedly vegetables are good for you too and I’m not a fan of those either. I don’t have to like it, I just live with it.