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  • Writer's pictureEsther Brownwood

Do you mind your mind?

mind

plural: minds

1: recollection, memory keep that in mind

2a: the element or complex of elements in an individual that feels, perceives, thinks, wills, and especially reasons Keep your mind active as you grow older.

b: the conscious mental events and capabilities in an organism

3: intention, desire I changed my mind.

4: the normal or healthy condition of the mental faculties

Who in their right mind would try such a stunt?

5: opinion, view was urged to speak his mind

6: disposition, mood He's in a bad state of mind.

7a: a person or group embodying mental qualities

the public mind

b: intellectual ability the works of men of mind—

8: attention  pay him no mind

minded; minding; minds

1: to be attentive or wary

2: to become concerned : care

3: to pay obedient heed or attention


Dear Friend, 


First of all, I’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 


To me, these late fall/early winter days carry a simultaneously heavy and light energy. It is one of reclusion, quiet, peace, isolation and grief. I don’t want to be seen, and I don’t in turn want to see many others. That means, I end up spending a lot of these days caught in a place I’ve grown to be quite familiar with: My mind. 


The fact that a human being has a mind that can think is a beautiful and powerful thing. Obviously, I have no idea what life would be like without it, and though “ignorance is bliss”, I wouldn’t change it for the world. 


But like many powerful tools, the mind can be a blessing and a curse. We, as people of the 21st century, often live in our minds instead of our bodies or our hearts. As our lives progress, the mind translates our experiences for us. It allows us to perceive the happenings and to formulate opinions based on them. The only issue is, the mind doesn’t always translate reality as it actually is. (Does reality as it actually is even exist? A topic for another time…)  Oftentimes, because we are wired to see threats coming a mile away, our mind tells us we are unsafe, even when we aren’t in danger.


I’ve come to the realization that though I have built a better relationship with it through the years, it can be difficult to get unstuck from the perceptions my mind creates. 

I sometimes mind my mind.  


When I’m struggling with this, I often come back to the anecdote of a narrow bridge over rushing water. With my fear of heights and imperfect balance, if I think too much about crossing the bridge, my mind traps me into thoughts of all the horrible things that could go wrong. This leaves me paralyzed. However, if I remove the focus from my mind and let myself be back in my body, I am able to cross without an issue. 


As someone who is a chronic-worrier, I know the mind can be very convincing. I know it shows me bad scenarios in order to protect me, but oftentimes in those moments, protection is unnecessary. This leaves me feeling frustrated and angry, wishing it would shut up. 


I don’t think the solution is to ignore what our mind tells us. We must accept our interpretation of reality in order to maintain balance with ourselves. But, it’s important to take a step back and realize that how we see certain situations might not always be rooted in truth. That means our interpretation might not be the most beneficial for us, no matter how real it feels. 


The beauty is in the fact that we can change our minds!

By becoming aware that our mind might not be telling us the complete truth, we free ourselves from the limitation of believing everything it says. 


It’s not always easy. When these situations arise, I like to practice acknowledging the pain/fear/worry I’m feeling. Instead of letting my mind run wild with the negativity, I accept that there are aspects of me who feel this as the truth. This leaves room for other, potentially more positive truths to also come forward. 


It’s important to remember that you are not your mind. Therefore, you don’t have to believe everything it tells you. Being able to zoom out and be aware of how different aspects of your mind works is one of the best ways you can find peace within yourself. 


I often hear the phrase “Those who mind, don’t matter, and those who matter, don’t mind.”  and I somewhat agree with the sentiment, but I’ll show you how it ties in to what we’re talking about here. 


You see, just because someone matters to you, doesn’t mean their opinion should have influence over your life. I’ve realized that if I wouldn’t have other people’s opinions and expectations on me, I would be able to live a much freer life. But because I grew up in a big family, I was expected to do my part in the system of the whole. It’s very difficult to unlearn taking everyone else’s considerations into hand when making a decision. But this extends to my own opinions as well. Sometimes I mind things about myself that matter, and though I wish I didn’t, it’s not easy to shake. It’s just as important to remember that I don’t have to believe myself either. 


So this month, I hope you explore your relationship with your mind. I hope you find ways to befriend it despite all the ways it hurts you by trying to protect you. You are not your mind, and that is one aspect of life I do not mind! 


Happy Holidays, may your mind be kind! I’ll see you again next year! I love you!

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