Noticing Your “Default” Thoughts & Shifting to Better States

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Have you ever stopped to notice your “default” thought set toward something? These are thoughts you think when you’re not going about your life as consciously as you usually do, and they come up when your defenses are down. You may not even realize you’re vulnerable. It’s like being on auto-pilot.

No matter how deep you are into your spiritual journey, you can carry patterns of thoughts that your subconscious has soaked up from childhood and memories from your past. You carry traumas from the ways your heart has been broken before.

I recently moved into a home. Much of my default thought set was: “This is hard.” Another default thought: “This is lonely. I’m alone.” I have since realized that I inherited a lot of this from my mother. I saw her go through depression and loneliness, meanwhile finding the upkeep on her home impossible.

I’ve always rented because I enjoyed knowing that if something broke, the repair would be someone else’s responsibility. The idea of being solely responsible for an entire building full of switches, knobs, wires, and things I have no name for terrified me.

In my “default” mode, it also emphasized the idea that I have no man in my life. Now, I’ve put furniture together, done minor repairs/maintenance, and used tools, so I know I don’t need to rely on a man to do everything for me. But I’m talking about the sad thoughts that pop up and defy your rationality, the ones that nip at your more tender, heartbroken pieces when your defenses are down and no one is there to hug you.

On only Day 5 of being a homeowner, I was having a meltdown on my couch. Between learning I had to hire a trash company, that the city wouldn’t just magically pick up, and various other problems that seem much smaller in hindsight, life felt difficult. Impossible, even. I am sure much of this strong emotion had to do with not having a solid eating and sleeping schedule over the past week from being so busy.

There was a child’s playset in the backyard that came with the home. I think it was placed there by one of the owners before the one that sold it to me. There was no telling how long it had been there, unused. I have no children, and it was a weight on my brain every time I looked out of the window into my backyard. “How am I ever going to get rid of that?”

I had no way of knowing how to take it apart, no vehicle big enough to transport it. The only thing I could think of was, “I’m going to have to hire a junk company to come get it.”

That innocent little swingset and jungle gym seemed to mock me in my darker moments. “You own a home, but you don’t have a family. How sad!” More default thoughts that came to nip at me when I was feeling down and vulnerable.

After I accidentally shut off my a/c while trying to find my furnace filter and freaked out because I was afraid I had broken it, I called a friend. I called her and let out my verbal diarrhea about the playset, the a/c, the trash, everything. I told her I had been crying pretty much non-stop the entire day. She soothed me by telling me that she had done the same thing after buying her house, and she suggested Facebook Marketplace for the playset. She said, “List it for free. Someone will be willing to come take it apart and transport it.”

The idea that this was a nice swingset and outdoor area for children hadn’t occurred to me so much when I was thinking about my problem. I was only thinking about the “get rid of it because it is taunting you” part, not the “someone will want this and I can do something nice for them” part.

I desperately needed to buy groceries. (I’d eaten watermelon and animal crackers for dinner the night before.) I logged into Facebook and posted pictures of the playset on Marketplace, then forgot about it and went to get food.

After I was done shopping about an hour later, I had three messages already, asking me if the set was still available. I replied to the first person who had messaged, and she wanted to come look at it right away. Less than 24 hours later, her son had loaded it into his truck and it was going to her grandchildren. I felt like I had done something good, and it had been so easy for me. Literally all I did was give permission for them to go into my backyard, dismantle the set and load it into their car.

It had taken less than a day to solve that “problem.”

Now I have a whole backyard, free and clear, ready for whatever I want to do with it, and that family has a new way for their children to play and have fun!

But it wouldn’t have been that easy if I wasn’t open to a shift in perspective. If I was absolutely unmoved in how I saw that situation, then the outcome of hiring a junk company to come haul it off would have come true. Thank goodness, I realized it could be easy.

It was a good thing that I broke down enough to call a friend. Sometimes we need to let others be witnesses to our not-so-fine moments. They can give us perspectives that we alone cannot access.

I know this is hard – I have a huge block when it comes to asking for help. But I’ve always found that the Universe will push you to ask for help when you’re truly ready for it. And it might be in the form of a mental breakdown brought on by a diet of watermelon and animal crackers.

Whatever it is, trust it! Default thoughts can be hard to break through. They can be statements and images that play in the background of your brain. My mother once wrote to me about how her refrigerator and DVD player had broken in the same week. It happened during a week that she was particularly sad about something in her life. She said, “These things have a way of happening when you feel least capable of dealing with them.” That statement has always stuck with me, and I know I made it a part of my truth for a time. I always thought of her, had that image of her lonely in her house, sad, unable to tend to things that needed attention. Unable to spend money to fix them.

It’s no one’s “fault,” certainly no wrong-doing on my mother’s part as she was just living her life as she knew how to live it. For me, it was just a trauma that seeped into my heart. It was a way of struggling that I had learned as the only way, until I asked for help.

Now it’s on the way out, and I know I will be all right. I feel lucky to have this house, and this house is lucky to have me.

What are some of your default thoughts? How do they play into your deepest fears? I hope I have helped you to notice them and start shifting them. 🖤

Turn What Ails You Into Your Creation

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We all have that one “thing” that seems to stay on in the background of our minds, waiting to present itself when we feel inclined toward a more “down” mood – those times that we’re tired, had a rough day at work, had a bit too much to drink, and our defenses are down.

That “thing” tends to be something we see as unable to be resolved and can be related to a deep trauma – not receiving enough love as a child, or not being able to be close to the people we love most, for instance.

This “thing” is perfectly valid, and of course it makes you feel this way. Who wouldn’t want to stay in bed with all the blinds and curtains closed, or binge eat, or insert your coping mechanism here, with this “thing” hanging over you? There is no need to feel ashamed of how you’ve handled this before, but I want to help you go about your self-soothing process more intentionally. You can do this while planting seeds so that what you want becomes your reality. It may take some time, but your efforts will be well worth it and lead to a happier, healthier, more balanced you!

What if I told you it’s not really the “thing” you’re after, but the emotional state you believe you’ll achieve once you have it?

That’s why sometimes, getting a long-held desire fulfilled can be a bittersweet experience. It feels good, but at the same time, you might feel a bit like, “I could’ve survived, even if it didn’t happen. I even feel like I want a little more.”

Sometimes, we use the “thing” to withhold our own love and approval from ourselves, which sends us further spiraling into misery and defeat. I can’t tell you how many times I have been my own worst enemy when something I wanted didn’t seem to work out. I always blamed myself. “If I had been a better person, I would have gotten that.” “If I weren’t so shy, this would have happened.” “If I had worked harder, this would be done by now.”

Rather than confining yourself to your bedroom or reaching for your coping mechanism, I want you to get into the habit of imagining how it would feel to get that “thing” resolved, once and for all. You can have fun visualizing how this might happen to help you get into the feeling state you’re craving. One exercise that I enjoy doing is the “What If” exercise that I’ve seen most often used by people practicing law of attraction. For it to work, you must be willing to suspend your disbelief and skepticism for just a few minutes. Dismiss the past; what happened before doesn’t matter, because anything is possible when you’re feeling better and acting from a place of self-love, wanting the highest good of all involved in the situation.

You don’t have to do this for long stretches of time. Start small. It only takes 3-5 minutes for the exercise to create a good feeling state. Can’t do whole minutes? Seconds are fine, too. This is a skill that improves with practice. For best results, do this every day.

In the case of not being in a loved one’s life – what if this person reached out to you and struck up a conversation? If initiating contact is out of character for them, what if something happened in their life that made them realize just how much they care for you? Maybe they would apologize outright if that seems appropriate, or maybe they would just talk to you, ask what you’re up to, how you are. What if this person wanted to connect with you purely because they enjoy your company? What if this person realized your value to them? What if this conversation led to you seeing this person? What if you were able to stop dwelling on the absence of them in your life because they made the effort to be present? How nice would that feel?

When you stop to think about it, the what ifs don’t seem so outrageous. You’re a good person, and you care deeply for those you love. You’re learning to create by love, not fear, so the only way for things to go is up. Forget how you’ve done in the past. You’re creating from a new space now.

You can create your own “What Ifs” if these don’t work for you. There is no way to do the exercise incorrectly. Remember, the objective here is to improve your mood and create the feeling state of having the love, connection, peace, etc. that you desire. Nothing exists outside you. If the person you cared about really did reach out, they didn’t generate your feelings of joy and being loved for you. Those feelings came from inside you, in response to whatever the person did to show you they care.

Since you can generate any feeling for yourself with the aid of your imagination, what I’m suggesting is not to wait for the outside stimuli to trigger that response.

All it takes to create a difference and that strong current of positivity within yourself is a few seconds, preferably every day, or as often as you can.

Please give yourself permission to stop holding that “thing” over yourself, using it to berate yourself for any past mistakes or justify why you cannot love yourself. You can be the person you want to be right now. We’ve all done things we regret – it’s very human and part of why we’re here – but you have a chance to be the person you want to be immediately. All it takes is a shift in your mindset.