Picture this.  A lovely summer evening.  I’ve been to a museum with a friend.  And now I am making my way back to my car, which I neatly parked a few blocks from the museum.  I am happily walking, relaxed, some snippets of the conversation with my friend freely floating through my mind.  And then it happens.  

I feel my heart throbbing in my throat, my hands get sweaty, my breathing shallow.  I start looking around anxiously and speed up, nervously scanning the parked cars to locate mine.  There it is!  I jump in, lock the doors, my heart racing.

Picture this.  The one moment happy and carefree.  The next afraid and anxious. 

And what happened in between those moments? 

Well, nothing.  Nothing.

Except that I thought I heard footsteps behind me, which made me think about all the horrible scenes from all the thriller movies I am too scared to go see, and which were now catapulting me in a code red panic state.  Right there and right then.  In that street.  My summery, fluffy, happy thoughts chased away meticulously by scary scenes from scary movies I hadn’t even been to in the first place.

This all happened a few years ago, but I’ve thought about my “scary movie”-incident quite often.  Cause that’s not the only time it happened.  It wasn’t the first time.  It wasn’t the last time either.

I’ve had it before doing a presentation at work.  I’ve had it while learning to drive.  I’ve had it when I said “no” to that job.  I’ve had it when I said “yes” to another.  I’ve had it after delivering that report at work.  I’ve had it before that conversation with a friend who had hurt my feelings.  I’ve had it when taking pictures for my photography class assignment.  I’ve had it when showing my pictures in class.  I’ve had it before hitting the “publish” button on this blog post.

Thoughts.  I will not be able to answer their questions.  I will never pass my driving exam.  I will never find another job.  Did I make the right choice?  Did I add in that paragraph?  Will they like it?  If they don’t, my career will be ruined.  Our friendship will be over, my friend will think I am selfish.  They won’t like my pictures.  This post is not interesting enough. 

Thoughts.  Conjured out of thin air and yet so powerful, chasing away confidence, clarity, joy, curiosity, creativity and installing doubt, anxiety, confusion, anger, fear.  It’s my “scary movie”-incident all over.

And if I don’t pay attention, these thoughts will rule my world and these thoughts will drive my actions. 

These thoughts make my mind go blank.  These thoughts make me skip driving lessons and postpone my driving test.  These thoughts make me accept that job I hate.  These thoughts make me work on that report endlessly.  These thoughts make me a control freak.  These thoughts make me dismiss my frustration till the bottle breaks.  These thoughts make me stay in my comfort zone and hide.  These thoughts make me worry.

Paying attention to how I feel, helps me to catch a new “scary movie” in the making.  Paying attention to how I feel, helps me to get aware of my thoughts. 

Paying attention to how I feel, helps me to notice when I let my thoughts run away with my confidence and joy.

What are your feelings telling you?  What thoughts are you letting run away with your joy and confidence?

 

Photos from here.

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