Story Telling: It's a Bitch

I'm pretty sure my cat tries to kill herself at least once a day. It's difficult to come out of downward dog with a cat under you, or walk around your kitchen with a cat practically strapped to your ankle. I love her to death, but that's only a metaphor. Please do not try and die today my little furball of love.

I can only conclude that my furry little companion wants to stay close to me because of her unconditional love and affection. And believe me, I absolutely love her for it. But let's be honest, it can be slightly dangerous.

My pet is surely not the only one who enjoys closeness with its human. I know many cats and dogs who tail this close to their owners without a care in the world. Do they realize they are seconds away from being stepped on, knocked over, smushed, or kicked accidentally? Absolutely not, or they wouldn't do it.

So then the question remains, why do they not know this to be true? For one, they are fully in the present moment. They are not thinking about what's next. They are not worried or fretting, or preparing for danger. They are, quite simply, in pure faith that they are absolutely safe in the world. And second, they are not telling themselves stories as the human mind tends to. Animals are creatures of pure love and instinct. They don't allow their mind to take over their life. They don't prepare for each moment by asking questions of "what if...?" They don't lay out the pros and cons of any situation, or analyze it to death. Instead they move through life mindfully, with presence and ease, having faith that all is well.

The human mind is not quite that simple. We tell ourselves elaborate stories of doom and gloom, possible scenarios of danger, consequences, and even death. We worry about what's next, and as we do we are unable to focus ourselves on the beauty of the present moment. We often get ourselves into such a frenzy that even small day to day tasks become stressful.

The day I realized I needed help with my stress was when I got myself all worked up about getting the mail. I had so much on my to-do list that day, and so much on my mind, that walking 100 feet down my tiny driveway to get the mail became a whole charade. There was simply no time to get the mail, even though in reality, retrieving a pile of papers at the end of your driveway takes about one minute. Did I really have that much going in my life?

The answer was no. But I told myself the story that I did. And I told myself that getting the mail would be too hard. That if I got the mail today, I would lose time, have to sacrifice other tasks for the day, and if I had to do that well then, I wouldn't meet my deadlines and life as I knew it would be over because I'd be in big trouble.

See, story telling is a BITCH. In order to have an even remotely peaceful life, it is necessary to calm the mind chatter. To slow down a notch and smell the roses every once in a while. Well, not just once in a while, but every day. I'm not saying you'll never have deadlines, or a to-do list, or worries. But what I am saying is, give yourself some space to live your life. All those scary thoughts you're having, all those worries, they are just lies.

When you feel stressed or worried, tap into your mind. What thoughts are you thinking? What stories are you telling yourself that are likely untrue? And how can you be more present in your day to day life so you can be like the cat: mindful, calm, and trusting. Because in the end my friends, nothing else truly matters but your happiness.

Get out of your head and into your body. Put your hand on your heart and feel your heartbeat. Feel the miracle of life that you are, and each day say "thank you" for not only being alive, but for the opportunity to create this amazing life journey you are on.

I'll be clear, I'm not telling you to knowingly put yourself in harm's way and trust everything will work out. Instead I'm encouraging you to relax a little. Understand that the crazy mind chatter is really all it is: crazy mind chatter. Have faith. Be present. Give love. It's what life is all about.