S1E2 – 10 December 2020
In this virtuous mini-season, we're exploring how we can grow together in an environment that drives us apart. This week: The virtue of letting go of obsessive thoughts.
Last week we embarked on a mini-season to wrap up the year. The Virtues of a Pandemic explores four ways in which we can calm our anxieties, and remind us that we might be isolating but we're never alone. If you missed last episode, now's the perfect time to go back and catch up on Virtue #1 - Shared Truth.
And now, on with the show.
Obsession. Once a clinical diagnosis, Now a buzzword.
We disrupted our ability to find perspective. We normalized insanity. We live in our dream worlds. In parallel nightmares.
Together we let go of obsession. Firm beliefs, loosely held. An openness to feeling rather than thinking.
We allow ourselves to feel joy in the unexpected. We loosen the grip of our mind. We choose to live in the present.
Welcome to a quick pause. A moment of reflection, a chance to care for ourselves and to show up for each other.
Each week I'll offer you an inspiration and a practice to try.
It's very easy to get stuck in our own head. Social media does its part to re-enforce our beliefs and as a society we forgot how to have a debate. Either you're with me or against me is the general tone.
We are in one of the most lonely times ever. Not only are we spending a lot of time inside our homes now, even before the pandemic we already gave up a lot of communities in favor of constant self-improvement, the hustle of a side-gig and this idea that we're only worth as much as we earn in cash or power.
If we want to re-connect with ourselves and each other, it starts by noticing when we fall into obsessive thought patterns. Ideas that never leave our minds, things we keep repeating to ourselves or anyone who will listen.
Have you written long rants to friends that didn't ask to hear them? Have you been caught up in flame wars on social media? Are you jumping on the latest wave of woke protests against the government or some corporation?
All of these responses to the world around us are natural and needed in some extent. But if we get too attached to a single thought, a single issue, we block ourselves from noticing anything else. We allow a single thought to take away our agency, our ability to feel our bodies and connect to those around us.
Healing and transformation can only happen if we allow space for it. Obsessive thoughts are like a messy flat mate who keeps throwing trash around the house. It's hard to find joy when you're always cleaning up after someone else. So we can either work with the flatmate and help them understand why we care for a calm and clean house, or we can kick the flatmate out.
This weeks practice is to become aware of those thoughts that dominate your mind and take away time and energy.
Every evening, before you go to bed, ask yourself:
What will I do tomorrow to fight for the things I care about rather than fighting against the things I'm afraid of.
Give yourself one simple task for tomorrow. Write it down so you don't forget.
That's it. If you want to dive deeper, take 5 minutes or so in the evening to write down all the thoughts that have been stuck in your head that day. Notice those little nagging voices that keep retelling the same story again and again. Write it down. And then ask yourself the question above:
How will I fight for the things I care about, rather than fighting against the things I'm afraid of.
Today's episode was written and produced by me. With sound design by the incredible Laurent John.
Tune in next week when we explore the third virtue of a pandemic.
I'm Jonas Haefele and this was a Quick Pause.