October 02, 2012

Turning the Boat Around

Every week I try to put my finger on what is happening either within me or around me. Do you remember that sticky yellow tape that people used to hang to catch flies in their homes? Well sometimes, I feel like that piece of  tape. I try to write about what I know, or what I have observed, that has been caught on the tape.

Many years ago, when I was going through infertility, I went to see a therapist named Norm Ephraim, who specializes in negative thought. Thanks to him, I am acutely aware now when I have negative thoughts or those around me do. I don't think negative thoughts are necessarily a bad thing, in fact, I think they can be very helpful in small doses. They can be arrows pointing us in what direction to go in next. They are part of what it is to be human.

It is unfortunate, however, when we get swept away with negative thoughts, and allow them to flatten us. We can get caught in a child-like state, and stuck in "our story", when bad thoughts permeate us. Negative thoughts bring us down, and sometimes paralyze us, and can even make us sick. They are contagious- to ourselves and to those around us. Kind of like when car wheels get stuck in mud and just spin.

Kind of like worrying.

I know personally what it is like to get caught in the web of anxiety. If we can't do anything about a situation, the healthiest thing to do is to just let it be, until we have something new to lead us. It's important to be patient, and have faith, that we will always chose the best thing for ourselves.

There is no sense in letting our thoughts drive us crazy.

Negative thinking can turn some people into complainers and although complainers can be entertaining for a time, after awhile I think most of us just want to say:

Enough already! Change the channel. This is so not uplifting. You sound like a broken record.

Turn off the mental masturbation.

And turn the boat around.

When we can step outside our heads, there are so many things in life to enjoy.

We all have the power to control what we think about.

Carly Simon's song below, although basically about the slow and steady fire, says it perfectly:

Take a look around now
Change the direction
Adjust the tuning
Try a new translation

... And you feel closed in by the same four walls
The same old conversation.


  1. Here is an interesting quote from my book research along this same line:

    Reinvent yourself: Shift your gaze forward. Recognize your strengths and look beyond your limitations. Find new activities and attitudes to replace ones that no longer work.

  2. I like that. Thanks Cheryl for your contribution.

  3. Fabulous post, Lou! I'll always remember you talking about the tapes in our heads. It's so true that we program ourselves to think negatively or positively. Studies show that we literally train our brains to think on a certain track...and we can retrain to see the glass half full at any time.

    Loved seeing Carly...I think this was her Martha's Vineyard concert. A perfect example of her overcoming negative thinking (as she has stage fright), you would never know it. She got out there and had FUN in her sneakers!

    I wrote about getting in the pool today. Positively life enhancing!

  4. I love that we can retrain our brains at any time. How great is that?

    We have, at any given time, the opportunity to see things differently. The key is to remember that we have this capability.

    Welcome back to the pool dolphin girl :-0

  5. Read this at the perfect time. Is it the change of seasons or just life shifting? Don't know, but loved listening to Carly's song again...and at my favorite place-the Vineyard! Thanks!

  6. It's good that you write about it on your blog.