Sometimes, my mind is my jailer. My thoughts imprison me. Sometimes I transfer my thoughts, which, these days, usually revolve around my ever-growing (too-much) to-do list, on paper and often end up feeling rather victimized. Oh, I know that is a rather strong word but it sounded very soothing. *wink*. I also find myself organizing and re-organizing the to-do list; after all, I am quite an expert at managing the list, even though, of late, I am not so great at converting all of it into action. I feel a bit sorry for myself during these times and then, just like the movies, I can hear a heavenly voice (I am sure it is my Mom) telling me “self-pity is a choice”. So right. But you know how truths are. Bitter, especially if you are not in the right state of mind to accept them.
“Problems exist only in the human mind.” – Anthony de Mello
I don’t know about de Mello, but I’ve heard my Mom saying this all the time. She had a policy which she often thrust at me – and it went something like “If you can identify the problem, you have the ability to find the solution”. Not surprisingly, as someone who was a Teacher/School Principal for over forty years, she was greatly adored by all whose lives she touched.
Hey wait, is this a eulogy to Mom? No. It is just that I can’t help thinking of her whenever my mind is in slight chaos. We were very complementary to each other. It was probably because she was only eighteen years old when I was born, and then the bond was rendered stronger due to the absence of a father. I get a warm feeling thinking about the clothes we shared and argued about who should wear the new sari first. My mind goes all mushy thinking of how we would surprise each other by finishing off a particular job either of us didn’t quite feel like doing, and then feeling thrilled when the other appreciated it. My Mom had a special way of doing these things. If I did the washing up on a day when she was tired, she’d wake up in the morning and say, “Looks like an angel visited our home. I am making a strong cup of coffee for this angel.”
Sometimes I wonder how she was so good-natured all the time. Anyone in her situation would have been very, very different, introverted, complaining and quite pathetic. But not my Mom. Each time someone hurt her, she just seemed to become stronger and more cheerful. Oh yes, we do live and learn. And I am grateful she passed on much of that strength to me. People keep assuming that as time passes, the void she left when she passed on last year will heal and fill. I find that I really don’t want that. I cherish all our moments together and appreciate how fortunate I am to have memories that will remain fresh, forever.
But most of all, when my head feels about to burst with all that is going on inside, I remember her. My mind fills with good thoughts from happy moments. And slowly, I try to let go of the mental restlessness and calm my mind, consciously.
I know that right now, I must be right here. As I take a brand new sheet of paper and fold it into an accordion so that I will have several panels when I open it out, I decide what I really need to do.
No more sob stories.
I will prioritize, segregate and get started. When I finish one item on the list, I’ll strike it off and move on to the next one.
I will not agonize over my current list. I will not get tired even before I begin taking action.
I set my mind free.
After all, why should I water my weeds?
It is good to read this poster once in a while, just to remind ourselves that we have a mind.