I’m aware of where I am in this process right now. I have realized how to balance all the work that I want to do so that nothing falls away. I’m attempting to create that new habit for myself as I write this. I’m in that place at the beginning of the formation of a new habit where I’m most likely to walk away from it. If I give myself a pass today, it will be harder for me to pick this back up on Monday (Yes, it’s Friday.). I’m having to push myself through this hurdle right now and that’s okay. This is what awareness looks like It’s also what Mind Over Matter is all about.
The mind doesn’t like the unknown and it doesn’t know what this new habit will change in the future. It only knows the past. It only knows that in the past I’ve walked away from most new things I’ve tried to create. There is a pattern there. That’s a cycle of pain that I’ve created for myself over a long period of time that I’m attempting to break right now. I’m even avoiding my tarot cards at the moment because they will distract me. My intention is to keep writing until this feeling changes or stops because that’s what will break the pattern.
Being aware of what the mind is doing, even when the mind is just offering you emotions, gives you the opportunity to get control over the matter. When somebody says “What’s the matter?”, what does that mean? What are they asking? They way we tend to take the question is that they are asking what the problem is. But is there a problem? Not really. I’m attempting to gain control over my matter within myself.
Feelings or emotions are matter. They aren’t a problem. They are simply present. How I respond to them, what I do with them or don’t do with them is up to me. Because this is an old pattern, an old cycle, something I’ve healed in the past, I’m not giving into the feeling. I’m choosing to push through it for now. I will come back later once the feeling breaks so that I can figure out where it came from and clear up any unconscious stories I might be telling myself. What I won’t do is allow the feeling to distract me because the distraction is what keeps me from being able to break the pattern.
The mind uses emotion as a distraction sometimes. It’s a strategy the mind has to protect you. If it offers you old pain that distracts you and makes you go off and deal with it, then you’re not doing the thing the mind is afraid of. It kept your attention and that’s what it wants. The mind is not out to get you, even though I know it can sound like that. The mind is trying to protect you from additional pain by stopping you from doing anything that it doesn’t have previous experience with. Your awareness of that is what allows you to push the mind through the thing it doesn’t want to do. That’s mind over matter or more accurately, it’s you gaining some control over your mind.
How many times have you allowed your emotions to distract you? There’s a big push out there to acknowledge emotion. Mental health is one of those hot button topics of the day. I agree that it’s an important topic that deserves to be discussed, however sometimes, unintentionally, our efforts to create mental health awareness actually keep people stuck in their pain.
Every psychologist in the land tells you to deal with your emotions the second they come up. Nobody acknowledges that the mind can use the emotion to keep you stuck in old patterns. What do you think anxiety is? It’s the extreme version of the mind using emotion to keep you from doing things. For those of us that don’t have anxiety as a diagnosable mental health issue, we run around believing we don’t have the issue of the mind trying to stop us using emotion, but that’s not true - we do have this issue all the time. Everybody does this, regardless of whether they have anxiety or not.
Look back into your recent past at the little things in your life; where did you allow your emotions to stop you? Where did you give up and go deal with your emotions instead of doing what you were trying to do? Why didn’t you push through and deal with the emotions later?
Let’s back up for a second because pushing through won’t work all the time. You have to be able to recognize when there is something there you need to work with versus the mind just throwing you random emotions hoping you’ll pay attention to the shiny object. What’s the difference? Probably the easiest way to figure out which is which is just to try it and see what happens. You’ll know pretty quickly when you hit the proverbial wall that there was a block there you needed to deal with. It’ll make it clear that you have work to do before you’ll be able to jump the hurdle.
For myself, I recognize that I’m trying to implement a new way of doing things and because I see that I’m pushing through it so as not to break the new habit. If I weren’t trying to form a new habit right now, I may very well go off and try to deal with the emotion that has shown up. More often than not in the past that’s exactly what I’ve done. I’ve spent many hours pulling cards and gaining mental clarity over the last 8 years at the expense of not writing, sharing, and making content. That was how I did the majority of my healing work.
These days, I’m quick to question whether the mind has something useful to say or whether it’s just trying to distract me. Given that I’m trying to create a new habit I’m opting for the distraction route and just simply not buying in for the moment. Will I double check later? Yes, because that’s doing the work. That allows me to honor that the emotion showed up, understand what it was, and calm the mind down before it throws a bigger fit. I need to constantly be bringing my mind with me which means that when it acts up like this, it’s my job to offer the comfort that it needs somewhere along the way. I’m just choosing to delay that process right now.
We are not our minds and that means that we can step outside of the thoughts and feelings the mind offers and question what’s happening. People tend to believe what the mind offers them because they are attached to their thoughts. The biggest objection I get to my content is that there is a danger of getting trapped in the ego or having the ego take over. “Too much thinking.” is a very common comment on my work. Why do people say that and what am I trying to show people through my content?
I was terrified of my emotions when I started this work and that meant that I turned to the logical brain for help so that I could avoid the emotional fear. Turning to my mind poses an obvious risk of ego overrun if I were to buy into my thoughts all the time. I have a very powerful intuition and using my tarot cards, I can step outside of my mind and see my thoughts as though they are somebody else’s. I can make my thoughts into third person ideas which allows me to analyze them from an unattached viewpoint. I can intuitively question my own thinking and that offers me the ability to step outside my thoughts and change them. I make conscious choices around whether my thoughts are true or not. I don’t buy into my default thinking.
One of the main reasons why I started reading tarot for myself was because it would allow me to work through the idea of getting my ego out of the way. Here is this external object that I can use as a means of separation between my intuition and my ego. I knew that I was at risk of my ego interfering with my intuition and I understood that tarot cards could help me solve that problem if I was willing to pay attention to what was happening. My job was to figure out how to read the cards without putting a bunch of my ego into them. I used them as a means of figuring out what was ego and what was not. They became a powerful tool for me to heal with because I was willing to try to sort out the ego versus my intuition.
If I had to describe how I interact with my mind right now, it would be that I “watch” it from a bubble above my head. I am grounded in my body without being attached to the thoughts in my mind. The mind serves a functional purpose; it will help me navigate this 3D world. Using my intuitive clarity via tarot cards I showed my mind where it was all screwed up. I showed my mind its own warped thinking and then worked to shift those patterns of thought. Now that I’ve taught my mind to see things the way my intuition does, I will actually listen to my thoughts. My mind has learned that it only gets my attention when it offers me things that make sense. I won’t play otherwise. I am not my mind and I have created that permanent separation that gives me the awareness that I now have.
Do you need to be intuitive and use tarot to do this? No. You have to be willing to question your own thinking. You have to be willing to take that thought, pull it outside of your head like it’s an external object, and examine it closely. Where is the screwy thinking? What’s warped about this particular thought? What pain is inside of it? What part of me is still attached to it?
What we’re looking for is separation or space. The idea is to put space between you and your thoughts. The space allows for objectivity. The space allows you to question it, spin it around, and see it differently. The ego wants to tell you it’s fine the way it is. The ego will try to defend it. That’s how you learn what’s ego and what’s not. The ego defends things the intuition doesn’t. Are you defending it? That’s your ego talking to you. Shut that part down. Don’t defend it. Instead analyze it, look at it, notice the pattern in it, see what it’s trying to do or create. Awareness comes by putting space between you, your thinking, and your ego.
I’ve been struggling with my perception of my appearance. As I’m getting older and approaching 50, my body is no longer the much younger version of me I have in my head. It’s causing me to argue with my self-confidence in terms of my appearance. That’s not a fight I can win sitting on the couch. It’s something I have to actively challenge and prove to myself that it isn’t true.
The reason I’m telling you that story is because my lack of self-confidence has caused me to argue with doing videos for my social media platforms. The last couple of videos that I’ve made I’ve used audio clips from my podcast and then just put that with a generic image. Those videos didn’t go anywhere. What I realized is that even though my self-confidence in terms of my appearance is really low, it’s still okay for me to put my face out there. I’m not losing anything by doing that.
It’s easy to tell the story of the 20 something model that gets millions of hits because she’s gorgeous and wearing a bikini. It’s easy to make myself think that everybody wants to see her and nobody wants to see me as an almost 50 year old middle-aged woman that’s had 2 children and can’t afford Botox. It was easy to tell myself the story that the message was more important than my face, and that may still be true, but putting my face there matters nonetheless. That’s an important and valuable lesson to learn.
The strategy in all that was simple: challenge what your mind tells you. It’s not necessarily true. Just because your mind can make it up, it doesn’t mean that your mind knows best. It doesn’t mean that your mind is right. It just means that your mind is telling you a story that it thinks you’ll listen to in order to try to protect you from more pain. So what was the pain in my story?
The pain was that people were judging me because I wasn’t a 20 year old model. Who wants to look at me? Maybe they are scrolling past me because I’m not pretty enough. But when the picture which I think looks better than I do, didn’t do as well it showed me that my argument wasn’t true and that I was telling myself a story. My job at that point is to figure out how to make the goal I have more important than my self-perception. This is where we get into the nitty-gritty of what we’re really trying to do.
I’m not going to heal my self-perception by thinking about it or crying it out. While simply covering it up does fix the problem, it doesn’t actually deal with the wound. The way to deal with the wound directly is to be okay with yourself as you are without fixing it surgically or covering it up.
The way we deal with wounds like powerlessness and unworthiness is to challenge those ideas by doing the practical things we’re scared of. Ideally, we want to do the same with self-perception or self-confidence. We challenge it by doing the practical things; in this case making videos. By challenging the wound, we’re offering it an exit strategy. We have a plan where we make the goal more important than the pain. By staying connected to the goal instead of the pain we move forward anyway.
The idea is that over time the wound becomes so unimportant that you just let it go easily. You don’t have to argue with it at all. You don’t get stuck in it ever. You just move past it, so much so that it’s no longer a part of you. We’re finding ways around the obstacles instead of physically removing the obstacles. It’s a slight shift from what we’re taught and how we’re taught to heal.
In spiritual circles healing is a process of digging deep into the pain and trying to pull it out by its roots. We dive into the mud puddle in the hopes that we find a drain we can unplug at the bottom. We call it a dark night of the soul. The idea is to emerge having drained the mud puddles. We emerge from battle victorious, successfully releasing the wounds that we held onto. Okay, but that took 5 years and you’re so exhausted now you need to heal to recover from the healing. Let’s be honest, some people never make it through this process, getting lost in the endless abyss of pain they’ve hung onto.
I don’t subscribe to this theory. I don’t believe we need to torture ourselves in this way. There are better ways to manage the pain and work through the problems the pain offers us. What that means is that we make the goal more important than the pain. When we do that it gives us the power to keep moving even if the pain crops up. We can push through to some degree, but we have to be careful with this because eventually you’ll trip on it if you don’t come back to it and deal with it.
So once you push through something, you have to go back and look at the outcome. Was the story my mind told me true? What actually happened? Did I handle that okay? Did I survive? By using your external reality to prove your own story false, you give yourself a way to keep going that doesn’t make you trip over the pain later. Now the pain is relegated to an untrue story you’re telling yourself. It contains the pain and limits it to that experience. We don’t have to identify with it. We see that it’s untrue and that allows us to give ourselves permission to keep going, pain and all.
When you’re looking back at the outcome, you have to be careful with your focus. When we talk about outcomes it usually ends up being a case of getting what we want or not, but that’s not a helpful focus when you’re already in an argument with what you’re doing. Not getting what you want will justify the original argument you had with yourself and that will stop you.
We have to accept that we may not get what we want and be okay with that. We’re in a process of figuring out how to get what we want and this is what that journey requires when we’re arguing with it before we ever get started. The idea is that we learn how to adapt. We get okay with the perception of failure and we figure out how to adapt what we’re doing so that we can be successful. We can’t do that if we never get started. You don’t let yourself go through that process when you’re arguing with it from the beginning.
We’re doing two things: First, we’re allowing ourselves to try so that we can get started and go on the journey. That’s how we manage the argument we started with. Second, we get okay with the perception of failure and we teach our brains that we can handle the outcome regardless of what it is. The perception of failure doesn’t matter. It’s all about the journey.
We accept that we don’t get we want and we see the value in going through the process. The value is in the journey, not the destination. You have to believe that otherwise you won’t ever go on the journey because the fear and the problems will stop you.
I learned to find value in the journey instead of worrying about the outcome. I saw by pushing myself through things many times that I got more out of the journey than I did from the outcome. The outcome taught me about the journey and why the journey was useful. The outcome gave me perspective that I couldn’t get by simply analyzing the end result without going on the journey as well. The outcome offers us a perspective of the process that we don’t get when we simply watch from the sidelines or focus on the pain of not getting what we wanted.
Hindsight is 20/20. You know that saying. What does it mean? When you allow yourself to go on a journey, whether you end up where you intended to or not, looking back on the journey will be valuable to you. The problem for most people is they don’t allow themselves to see that because they focus on the pain of what they didn’t get. That keeps them from trying again, adapting, and learning from the experience. Where is your focus? On the pain. Why? Because your mind wants to protect you from more pain, so it focuses you on the pain to get you to avoid trying it again. By not trying it again we avoid the pain.
How about this instead? We take the focus off the pain because there really isn’t any there and we focus on what we learned from the experience. Now there is no pain because you’re focused on the positive result of what you learned instead of the negative result of not getting what you wanted. See the difference? Where you place your attention determines how you feel about the experience. What are you paying attention to?
If we want to defend the problem we decide that not getting what we want shows us there is a problem we need to fix before we can try again. Remember what you’re doing when you approach it like this. Your focus is still on having a successful outcome. You’re still not focusing on the value of the journey. You’re going to find it hard to adapt this way because it’s going to force you into feeling like you have to get it perfect before you can try again. That’s not going to work for you. It’ll stop you before you even start.
Let go of the outcome and question the journey instead. What did I learn from my experience? What pain did my experience trigger so that I can heal myself at the same time? You see it all goes together. The old pain that got triggered by the experience is what’s stopping you from being able to adapt and try again. Figure out what the pain is so you can shift your focus away from it and also challenge it at the same time. The challenge comes from trying the thing you’re afraid of. The pain stops you from making the adaptation you need to make. The thing you’re avoiding is exactly what you need to do to be successful. The pain stops you, but until you’re willing to pay attention to what’s going on and stop making up the stories that defend the pain you won’t allow yourself to figure that out.
The minute you go blaming the economy, other people, Google, the algorithm, or something else you’re not acknowledging your own stuff. You’re trying to protect yourself from having to do the work. The simple fact is that you won’t be able to get there from there. You’re going to have to stop telling stories, acknowledge your own pain, and then give yourself permission to go on the journey. That’s the only way it works.
You see, the journey is what gives you the tools to handle the next thing. If you don’t go on the journey because you’re afraid of the outcome you get stuck. But here’s what’s really happening. Your current self is arguing with an outcome it’s not ready for yet. You haven’t gone on the journey so you don’t have the tools yet. Your future self has the tools because your future self went on the journey.
You complain because you want to know the future, but the thing is that it would scare you and you’d never start. There have been so many times on my journey where if I’d known what was coming I wouldn’t have moved. The version of myself at that point could not have handled the outcome. It was the journey that gave me the tools so by the time I got there I could handle what showed up. If I try to make choices for my future self before I have the tools and I’m ready to make those choices, I just make those choices out of fear and that keeps me stuck every single time.
The journey is where the value is. The journey is where the tools are. The journey is where you learn what you need to be able to handle the outcome. As an intuitive, the only time I get an outcome is when it won’t scare me off and there is no value in not knowing. The value in not knowing is that it frees you to go on the journey. There is something about it that’s helpful to you. It supports you in the process of healing. You won’t see that until after the fact, but that’s generally how it goes.
Mind over matter means that your mind isn’t bothered by the matter. You’re freeing yourself up to do what you need to do. You get your conscious thinking under control and trust that your emotions will alert you to the unconscious thoughts. Remember that once your emotions tip you off, the thoughts aren’t unconscious anymore. Now it’s in your field of awareness and you can work with it.
We’re giving the mind a structure and some boundaries so that it doesn’t just run wild and you’re not at the mercy of it anymore. You don’t have to argue with it so much. It doesn’t have to stop you all the time. You become aware of the stories, you shift your perspective, and it offers you freedom and healing. The mind is only a crazy place to be for as long as you allow it to be like that. That choice is completely up to you. All you need to do is stop arguing with it.