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. 🖤