Beyond The Bubble
Imagine a bubble.
Now imagine all of your thoughts contained in different little bubbles, all floating around inside your mind.
Work thoughts are in one bubble, thoughts about your love relationship(s) are in another bubble, and your ongoing to-do list is in yet another bubble. And so on.
You spend most of your days bouncing between those bubbles. What if there was something more - something beyond the bubble?
Here’s what your Monday bubbles might look like:
(“I’ll have a banana and coffee for breakfast to be sort of healthy and still get the caffeine kick” *boing*
“Whoa - that news story totally has me depressed now - gotta remember to skip CNN in the mornings” *boing*
“Dang it - I need to get those emails sent before 9” *boing*
“There is NO WAY you are cutting me off, buddy. Damn, I really hate this drive to work” *boing*
“Why can I NOT get this song out of my head” . *boing*
“Gah, I’m starving but I don’t need those calories right now…but just a few chips won’t hurt, right? I’ll have a salad later” *boing*
“ ( * don’t stop to talk to me, don’t stop to talk to me, don’t stop to… *) - Oh hey, so good to see you!!”, ….)
On the good side, these thought bubbles keep you sane in a world of never-ending information. They help define your attention so that you don’t just sit in a state of overwhelm. (Can you imagine trying to process all of your thoughts about everything going on in your life right now all at the same time?)
The problem is that we become so accustomed to these bubbles that we’ve forgotten that they are just bubbles and that there is an entire world / reality outside of those little thought circles.
In addition, the bubbles in which we live often are created and defined beyond our conscious choice - making us prisoners, in a sense, in our own minds.
Most of us have some sort of “body image” thought bubble. Among other things, it contains those destructive thoughts that the shape / color / size / form of your body somehow isn’t good enough and needs fixing in some manner. Most of us visit this bubble multiple times a day.
The thing is - this bubble wasn’t consciously created by you. You didn’t inherently know from a young age that a certain waist size was against nature or that a certain pigment of skin determined worthiness. These things were defined by those around you, over time, and shaped the thought bubble(s) in your mind.
The more time you spend with this thought bubble, the more you start to forget it was a bubble in the first place.
You forget to even consider that bodies - your body - are various shapes and sizes and that being in a certain form doesn’t associate one way or another with value, sexiness, worthiness, or beauty.
Have you ever heard the story of how large elephants were (and are, sadly) trained for circus performance? (i.e. How they get them to stay in one place when they could easily stomp over everything and take off?)
From a young age, the elephant’s leg is chained to a spike in the ground, and they are only given room to walk in a small circle. Over time, they learn that the chain cuff on their leg means they can only move within that circle. Eventually, the spike in the ground isn’t even needed: The elephant feels the chain cuff on their leg, and doesn’t even attempt to run. They are actually free, but they don’t / can’t / won’t direct their attention to that freedom.
That’s what happens when you forget about the thought bubbles.
The problem isn’t the bubbles themselves. You need to be able to hone in your monkey mind, to encapsulate your attention in a certain set of thoughts that best serves whatever you are trying to create in that moment.
The problem is the lack of awareness you have of the bubbles.
Every so often (and more frequently than you’d think), you need to be able to take your awareness outside of the thoughts that you are having.
You need to be the overseer, chilling out on the bench, watching your thoughts play together in their own little happy, chaotic bubbles. You need to be able to just see, without judgment or immediate action … to respond with, “huh - interesting”.
Take a sip of tea, take a breath, and just observe.
And every so often (and more frequently than you’d think), you need to practice looking away from those thought bubbles to what is happening in the world around them.
Even in your own home, the world is so much bigger than those capsules would have you believe. There is so much beauty in the tiny details of your house that you’d otherwise miss because your thought bubble keeps you focused on the dust bunnies and paper piles.
There is so much more to your partner, so much more to whom you could connect, than your thought bubble of “I can already anticipate what they are going to say and do” would let you recognize.
And outside of your home? It makes those thought bubbles appear as the teeny tiny ants that they are in a universe of never-ending space.
If you forget everything else, remember this:
Your thoughts limit or expand the possibilities of how you feel about, and how you are able to experience, your daily life.
In a time where so many of us are stressed out on a regular basis, recognizing the existence of these little thought bubbles and practicing expanding your awareness beyond them can do a WORLD of good.
Today, start with one tiny little bubble. Try becoming that overseer - thinking about your thinking. See the bubble for what it is. Then, …. try seeing beyond the bubble.