Thought Watching

On my run yesterday I thought about the blog I had just written about struggle. The reason the topic came to mind was that I ran up for about 40 minutes on snowy roads and trails and it certainly could have been difficult. What made it a joy was pacing myself and enjoying the silence and beauty of nature on a snowy day and also the 40 minutes cruising back down.  With the help of my thoughts I made my run a pleasure.

Thoughts shape your experience.
If you can watchfully observe your thoughts, you can choose to change them when they take you in directions that won’t work for you. As I write often, thoughts of blaming and complaining make you feel lousy; thoughts of kindness and caring make your feel good. That all seems clear enough doesn’t it?

Here are a few of ways I have learned about watching my thoughts.
• An important rule for me in thought watching is to not judge my thoughts as good or bad. Instead I find it important to observe without condemnation or approval. I am observing my thoughts and considering whether they work for me or not. Watching in fairness to myself makes it easier to pay attention.
• Listening means taking time to hear what my thoughts are saying. This is easiest when I slow down and clear away distractions. If I have the TV or radio, or Shuffle on I am too distracted. Driving, walking, running, biking, waiting in line in silence are great times to listen in. The more I listen in the more I tend to want to do more of it.
• Self-discovery comes from my desire to be more aware and conscious. I know the more I know what I think the more I can shape my life so I am very dedicated to impartially listening in. It feels so positive to grow in self-awareness. Insight is a powerful reward for being tuned-in to self.
• Mindful practices like meditation, walking meditation, conscious breathing and other practices are very helpful. The more I am present through these kind of disciplines the more I can notice what is going on inside. Being fully present to my thoughts and the world around me makes for a positive life experience.

Take some time in the next few weeks to listen in and get to know the quality of your thoughts. The ideal is to have your self-talk be positive, supportive and encouraging otherwise you are getting in your own way.