My latest ‘aha!’ moment
By Arley Hoskin
After years of watching Oprah, it turns out I don’t need the daytime diva to recognize my own “aha!” moments.
Last week I participated in a discussion about the examined life with fellow Plymouth Congregational peeps. (Side note: this group meets at 5:30 p.m. every Thursday at Henry’s in Lawrence, Kan. Rumor has it that we’ll be discussing feminism and sexuality this week. You should check it out.)
Back to my aha! moment. The benefits of a self-examined life are numerous. When you are aware of yourself, your environment, your choices, you are able to transition from a life of chance and circumstance to one of intentionality and meaning. Being conscious of your goals and decisions, what a beautiful concept.
But what if your mind refuses to stop at healthy examination and enters into the realm of absurd obsession? Unfortunately, I seem to know this realm all to well.
When I have a disagreement with a friend, or receive a rejection email from a potential employer, or burn dinner, my mind races with thoughts of why, oh why, these tragedies had to happen.
I obsess and obsess until I come to the conclusion that: my friend hates me and has realized the true extent of neuroticism; I’m completely unemployable and most of the things I’ve written in the past are likely a gibberish only I can read; and my husband’s weight loss is due more to my bad cooking rather than my healthy menu choices. I obsess until I see myself as the most unlikeable person on the planet. Well, maybe not the most unlikeable. Even in my most obsessive state I still like myself more than Chris Brown.
So, how do I find a balance between this healthy Socratic examination and the obsessive thought patterns that so often hold me captive?
I found the answer during yoga Sunday night. I was meditating a twist position, which apparently is detoxifying. As I focused on detoxifying my mind from these negative thought patterns, I heard a distinct phrase in my mind.
“Admit defeat,” my inner voice said.
Admit defeat? Those have got to be the most uninspirational words of inspiration I’ve ever heard. Come on, God, give me something to work with, I thought.
As I thought, or rather “examined,” these words I realized what they meant. I needed to call a cease-fire with my mind, because these obsessions are really the opposite of an examined life and I will never beat them. The solution is to simply walk away from them.
I don’t have to be controlled by my obsessive thoughts, because when I examine my life I realize that those thoughts are not true. Aha! I don’t have to be obsessive any more. But for the sake of creativity it looks like my neuroticism is here to stay.
Follow Arley on Twitter at @ArleysWords