‘This is the part where…’

Radio Non-stop Thinking (as coined by Thich Nhat Hanh) is our mind chatter, our monkey brain, our self-sabotage, our gremlins. It’s thoughts that rubble on in our brains in a less than conscious way…

‘I can’t do this very well, I should just stop.’
‘I am completely going to run out of money.’
‘I am rubbish at my job, what am I doing?’
‘That time ten years ago when I said that thing, wow that was so stupid, how could I have done that?’
‘I didn’t say the right thing to my child yesterday, I’m such a rubbish parent.’

You get the picture.

We tend to travel through life either trying to ignore these messages, or getting swallowed up by them.

However, there is a different way to deal with them, and it’s about remembering they are only thoughts. I’ve been trying to tame these messages for myself for years. The approach that has resonated the most with me is the ‘this is the part where…’ strategy. This is a Liz Gilbert approach, and here’s an example of how it works…

I was on my yoga mat earlier this week. I began my (very relaxed) practice and began to feel very hot. Now I have had a cold for the past two weeks, so it’s understandable I would have felt unusually warm. But, I knew in my gut that doing a gentle, restorative yoga practice would be more beneficial than not. So when the Radio Non-stop Thinking came on in my brain this is what it said ‘I’m too ill to do this. I can’t do it. I just need to stop. I’m too hot. Panic panic panic. What am I doing.’ And in that moment, I managed to grab hold of my brain and say this, ‘this is the part where I worry I’m going to feel awful doing yoga.’ I then followed up with my next, more compassionate thought which was, ‘that’s ok, I am ill, I am allowed to go very gently, and I am allowed to stop part way through if it really is too much.’ And with that, I completed the yoga session, and it was lovely.

It has taken me years to learn this, and I am nowhere near a master of it in any way. BUT, it helps immeasurably. Telling yourself ‘this is the part where…’ changes your relationship with the thoughts; rather than being swallowed up by them you become an observer of them. You can notice them come and go, and you can practice self-compassion in the process.

We are complex beings, but we are powerful and can take charge of our persistent brain chatter. We can take charge of our experience of life.

With love as always, Hannah

Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash

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