Every morning I sit down with a cup of tea to write, and find myself distracted by online shopping, or other mindless tasks, that take met to LaLaLa land – zoning out.
We probably need an element of zoning out to know that we need to zone in. When we recognise the drift of thoughts, we can also notice to come back to focusing inwards, on the present moment.
If I could ignore my thoughts, or see them as clouds that float in, float out- they come and they go- then the clouds are like my thoughts, light, seemingly effortless imaginings.
My thoughts lap against my consciousness and nibble at my toes, like the cat who had mistaken them for chicken wings. I have long toes, Italian feet that my Osteopath suggested need Italian designed shoes – long, thin, size 11 feet. I thought I had strange feet, because I could never find shoes to fit them.
Ergonomic shoes are so ugly.
My first serious boyfriend told me that I had ugly feet, he preferred Macdonalds to my cooking.
At 23 years, I was living independently in a shared household with girl-friends. I cooked for them and the rest of humanity. The portions were exorbitant, coming from a large Calabrese family whose life centered on food. I cooked in the same vein as “Feed the world, feed your heart” – it resonated with me this sentiment of love.
I cooked to be happy and I cooked to make others happy. I cooked for the parties that were frequented by young men, because we were a household of young women. We never thought we might be in any danger. I recall a sinister situation. In this experience the power of suggestion coaxing the calculated thought.
I had just recovered from a fractured left collar bone, having taken the downward hill with vigor and speed, that I had so many times before, only this time I was met with the open door of the combi-van, unable to swerve for fear of being in the line of the right shouldered traffic. I braced for the impact with left shoulder forward to take the blow, bike wheel bent 90 degrees and the force took the door off the hinges.
The driver, scratching his head, picked up the door and attempted to put it back on, only it fell and hit him between the eyes, leaving a deep gash, bleeding in the worried crease. I was out of action for a month in recovery.
To this day I manage this 30 -year injury, and lament the innocence of caring more about the damage I had caused than applying for some sort of compensation.
I had just finished cleaning the gutters after my month’s recovery to test the shoulder, a little stiff, when the door-bell rang. I ignored it. Though it was unrelenting. Why would someone keep ringing the doorbell when there was no answer?
Finally, I relented to find a man I did not recognise at the door who was the cousin of a house-mate who had just moved out.
It was summer and I was in shorts and a singlet. I never really paid attention to other people’s intentions, though his lingering gaze all over my body, warned me to beware. So I explained that his cousin had moved out.
“Can I come in?” He said, pushing his way in. I hesitated because a thought quickly told me to tell him that I was on my way out.
He was standing inside in front of the door. I repeated that I was about to go out attempted to pick up my bag, though he blocked my path, like he wanted something else. I told him about my fracture and how I needed to get to the gym for some exercise. He put his hand on my shoulder and ran it down my arm.
“Was it there?” he asked
“Yep, that’s it!” I exclaimed officially, turning to pick up my bag, shaking off the hand.
“I better get going. Sorry I can’t let you stay, but your cousin does not live here anymore and I’m on my way out.”
Could he give me a lift to where I was going?
“Sure” I said, to get him moving out of my path and out of the house. Though he lingered and I insisted.
I felt extremely uncomfortable about this man’s intentions.
I had no idea about how I convinced him to move, but he did and we left. I felt safe only when I got out of his car. Walking home I thought about how close I had come to something I did not want to acknowledge. I was grateful for finding a safe place. Though I was focused, alert and ready to pretend that I did not notice, that I had better things to do than give into this man’s suggestive body language.
Here is where the threat tightens your focus, and your thoughts and what you imagine can be persuaded, controlled and reconfigured to what you want and not what the other person manipulates for themselves.
My older, more experienced self looks back with a sense of anger and relief.
My thoughts aren’t real – I can imagine, or dream or pretend, though these thoughts are safely tucked away, as long as I can see them for what they are like passing clouds. My thoughts can give me power to react in ways that serve me.