Not that my thoughts ever left. I mean, whose can? Nonetheless, I’ve come to realize that I must work with them instead of against them. My battles are long and hard and bloody and end in roses and tears. Every thought I have makes a stand against rationality. My egoic mind rushes in to save the day, the hour and the minute, constantly releasing stress into my aging body. The body I practice, sometimes, taking care of. I can’t pretend that I’m perfect however I can say with confidence that my eating habits are decent at worst. That makes up a lot of the battle in this modern society. But mind health, where do I fall on the spectrum? Can I claim mental health? Bah! No way. I’m a basket case a lot of the time even though externally some have said they thought I had it all together. People really have said that to me after I open up about anxiety and depression. I’m like, dang, guess I was doing a good job faking it. And in that moment I’ve felt like a fraud, a liar, an imposter. But let’s step back a bit, perhaps that is a win. Being able to hold it together enough to sustain a level of normalcy to others. My accomplishments cannot be denied despite my self loathing tendencies. I have a successful career, take care of my financial responsibilities, am kind to others, practice healthy living, continue to practice recovery… I mean, come on Universe! Things are good. Too bad the Universe is not in charge of my thoughts. Sure, she supports me in my efforts for growth but when it comes down to which file I choose to open, which detail I extract from my past and which outlandish idea I imagine for the future she just stands back and witnesses the struggle. The fact that no matter what I do she will be there is soothing, there seems to be no judgement. But going back to the thoughts, can we harness their power? Can we invent new ways of coping on the fly and in crisis? I don’t believe I can and there lies the problem. I know it is true. As soon as I believe I will most likely not need to anymore. Life is that ironic. And today I feel forlorn and optimistic, excited and anxious, betrayed and invited. I once thought that ONE defining emotion was the driving factor for my life at any given time. Most recently I discovered what I call the emotion wheel, and this wheel encompasses all emotions all the time. So while my thoughts seem to dictate my emotions I still have the choice in any given moment, which emotion I focus on. Let’s say someone’s comment induced a negative thought in me which resulted in sadness, I could also choose to feel empathy for the pain the other must be in to treat another in that way. Or I could choose to have compassion for myself and recognize that I have some work to do with self-love. The options are there, choices all around us. The emotion wheel is extensive and ever changing. The wheel incites play to me and I picture it very colorful. I beginning to be curious about this wheel and possibilities it holds. Like pendulum swinging back and forth, my emotions switch the light. However unstable I feel I know the ground is solid. If my confidence is wavering I have my breath to focus on. Rational mind sees the path, emotional mind really seems to enjoy the messy roads. Like driving down a dirt road with some bumps and ruts and washboard texture, it’s more exciting than driving straight on the perfectly paved asphalt. Less risky sure, but wheres the blood pumping excitement. I’m drawn to the drama. And believe me I used to claim others were, not me. But I see it now, my body lives on the adrenaline. I get it. Now it’s a game of finding new, healthier, less destructive ways to get that adrenaline. Like hugs, hiking, off-roading, bicycling, reading a racy story, practicing cartwheels and handstands, or playing with the dogs. Can life be that simple and still be fulfilling? I haven’t figured that out.