Friday, April 11, 2014

How my thoughts lie to me…or a day pulled from the ditch

Once again, the photos have nothing to do with the blog post. These are again from our latest cruise, arriving into  Cartagena, Colombia and our first sightseeing stop at the La Popa Monastery. 
Yesterday, I spent the morning (almost) finishing our taxes. I have spent many an hour doing them this year, the reason being that last year I somehow missed out on being organized. I say “somehow,” but I know exactly how.
Early last year, a few major things happened to people I love and it threw my world off kilter. Life felt out of my control and I had a hard time just trying to hold on to my calm and happiness. Anxiety ruled most days and nights and organizing paperwork was not high on my priority list. Actually, it wasn’t on it at all. I made sure I collected everything in a pile, but that was it.
And this year I am having to deal with the aftermath of it. Endless hours of organizing, entering data into the computer, etc.  I’ve almost got the beast tamed, but yesterday as I was working on our taxes, I realized how my thoughts were running away with my emotions.
By lunch time, my head was filled with thoughts like:

“You used to be the queen of organized and look at you now. You aren’t even good at that anymore. What are you really good at? Not being a housewife, not building a creative business, not painting. Not anything, really. Why can’t you shine at anything? What’s wrong with you? You are almost 50 and what do you have to show for it? You must be such a disappointment to those you love. Heck, you’re a disappointment to me!”

And so on. You get the idea.
Now that part of me that is separate from my thoughts and was able to stand back and observe them knew that these were lies, but even so I couldn’t stop them. Momentum can be a wonderful and terrible thing. It was like I was being run over by the negative thought train. My ego saw an opening and dove in with relish.
By the time Daniel got home from teaching, I was eating ice cream out of the container, which I have done no more than five times. Ever! I was a mess. I felt a total failure, and I knew I’d have to do something to stop this onslaught of negativity.
And here’s the really ridiculous part of it: nothing bad (nothing!) happened in real life. This whole thing happened only in my head. It amazes me - and I often think about - how powerful our thoughts are, but that’ll be for another blog post.
Often when this happens, I take a nap and that breaks the spell. Or I play with Winslow - pets are such masters at having fun, aren’t they? Yesterday, I turned on Pandora with 50’s Rock ’n’ Roll music. The first song that played? “It’s my party and I cry if I want to.” Really?!
Daniel suggested we go out, run a couple of errands, then see a movie (we go to the movies about once a year, so it was a big deal) and afterwards have some vietnamese food at our favorite little place.
It was perfect. We went to see The Grand Budapest Hotel and it was just what the pity party doctor ordered. It was a poignant story based on the writings of Stefan Zweig, whose novellas I had to read in school and just loved! It was beautifully filmed and it was funny. I laughed out loud throughout the whole movie and felt like seeing it again immediately. Click here to see the trailer.

That followed by vietnamese food and my day that could have completely landed in the ditch, ended on a high note.
I’m sure (I hope!!) I’m not the only one whose thoughts run away in undesirable directions from time to time. What are some of your secrets for turning around your energy?

P.S. Your comments on my last post really touched my heart. I am in the process of responding to each of you by e-mail. If you haven’t yet heard from me yet, you will!

With love and appreciation (and feeling positively positive today), I wish you a wonderful day!



  1. Liebe Silke,


    Sonnige Grüße

  2. Silke, I'm sorry your thoughts ran away with you yesterday. It sounds like you are quickly getting back on track. It's great that you have something really fun to look forward to -- beginning tomorrow, right? I wouldn't spend too much time thinking about yesterday. It's a new day, and now we should all just make the most of it! Onward & upward!!

  3. Oh my Dear, is it "the moon"? Or the tides? Or the time of year? Or perhaps, the whole Universe is "having a bad hair day"... Anyway, many of us out here in Pretty Blog Land, are bumping up against huge walls. Walls built, in our minds! -sigh-

    But! Scratch that 'sigh'! We are sharing the "tough spots." Posting about them... Taking them apart and putting them back together again, just as they happened.

    And best of all, we are sharing what we did, to emerge from behind these walls. Walls we made ourselves. Probably influenced by long held beliefs. Or by recently-read silly ideas. Still built ourselves, brick by brick... But we are learning how to dismantle them, ourselves, brick by brick.

    Betcha' there are many more, like us! Getting stuck in old patterns, or stopped by long-held-silly beliefs. Struggling... Unhappy... Confused...

    And since it's all-in-our-minds, no one may ever know. Unless we let it out. Like you did. Unless we have a wonderful, understanding husband, to let it out to. Or a wonderful, understanding friend...

    Thank you for sharing! You helped me, a day or 2 ago, to get a hold of how to take down my "brick wall." And you continue helping, here.

    Gentle hugs,
    "Here there be musing" blog
    "Here there be more words" blog

  4. I think many people (especially women) have the voice of a negative Inner Critic in their heads. Your strategy to "break the spell" by doing something completely different is a good one!

  5. Glad to hear your day turned around, Silke. I've had hard days, but even on my hard days I never get as 'deep in' as you did!! My negative talk usually ends in something positive...immediately! I don't know why, but it's just something that happens...And I'm truly thankful for it!! :-] Onward and upward today, right?!

  6. Glad that your day turned into a good one after all.

  7. It's been a long time since I last felt "worthless" (what a horrible thing to say anyway), but what helped me getting my mind off an unwanted track was playing with my cat (sounds familiar?), go out for a run, or listen to some favourite music of mine. But of course sometimes I was stuck too deep to even make that effort.
    As long as you know such thoughts are lies, and you talk about them with someone as close to you as your husband, I don't think you should worry too much.

  8. I feel your pain, Silke. For me, the thought vortex is always about how I couldn't manage to hold my marriage together. When I'm stuck in the middle of it, I forget all of the good things. You decided you wanted to make art, and you do. Your organizational skills are still there, but they haven't been at the top of your list of priorities. You have a wonderful husband and pets, and friends... Talk soon? I'll say more about how great you are...

  9. You have lovely photos Silke!
    My husband and I have date night every Friday night and watch a movie every Sat. night. He asked me why I have to watch a movie every Sat. night. Like you - my response was that the movie is entertaining and I am able to escape from weekday work. I forget about what is happening around me and jump into the story for 2-3 hours of someone else!!
    Take care of yourself!!

  10. Liebe Silke,
    schön, dass du das kleine Tief überwunden hast (ich hoffe, es war nur ein kleines). Die Ablenkung war sicherlich genau richtig. Ich finde du kannst wunderbar malen, ist das nichts? Deine "Schöne" hängt immer noch bei mir in der Fensterwand. Immer, wenn ich sie betrachte, denke ich an dich.
    LG Sabine

  11. Sending you a great big hug my friend---

    Love the photos of Columbia-- love that we've both been there--

  12. I just happened on your blog through my sister's blog, [Periwinkle], and absolutely love your photos and am fascinated by your 'ponderings' some of which remind me of Parker Palmer who mused, "How long it takes us to become the person we were made to be'" - as opposed to being the person others and their expectations have made us.
    “Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.”
    ― Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation
    I look forward to reading more of your questions.