Finding My Mind

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Out of all the things I’ve lost,
I miss my mind the most!
— Mark Twain

Well, I’m a sucker for a challenge, so I decided to try to find it again. For as long as I can remember, I didn’t particularly like my life. All I knew was what I grew up with; which was that good things only happen to other people because they are them and we are us. And the reason we didn’t measure up is because I didn’t behave properly when I was in the third grade or some such thing.

In my early 20’s, someone gave me a book called The Magic of Thinking Big and that was a huge “WOW.” It was the first time I had ever been told that my life didn’t have to stay that way. I could make my life different and somehow it had something to do with my mind. That’s when I knew I had to change. I just didn’t know how, so the search began.

Photo provided by Cheryl Gleghorn
Photo provided by Cheryl Gleghorn

I had heard something about praying for awareness so I figured that would be a good place to start. Now, I didn’t exactly know what “praying for awareness” meant, so I started by saying, “Dear God, I want awareness.” Oh my gosh! I had no idea what I was about to find out about myself. You see, the trouble is your prayer will be answered if you are sincere, at which time you could go into serious depression.

Yes, my friends, really seeing yourself can be a tough one. But I didn’t completely despair; I told myself I am in good company … ah, I think I’m in good company. Well, even if the company is just so-so, it’s better than the company I used to keep.

The next thing I did was to start writing what I was thinking, and that was working out both good and very good. The good part was that I could see better where I was starting at on an emotional level. Are you familiar with the gutter? Gosh, I hope not. But then I guess we have all spent some time in the emotional gutter. The trick is to recognize it when you’re there and then ask the question, “Should I or shouldn’t I climb out?” When you have spent as many years as I have in the mental gutter, it’s a huge decision to make …

It’s like living in a house that has been too small for a very long time. You have placed all the furniture just right so it all fits nicely. The couch is exactly 2 ½ inches from the wall on the left, the bookcase is angled at 27 degrees in the NE corner of the hallway, and the bunk bed in the kid’s room is pushed into the corner so that the dresser will fit in the space between the bed and the wall. All your belongings are in their assigned spot and nothing is allowed out of place, because if anything was out of place it would make the whole house look like a mess. It’s crowded but you’ve learned how to walk slowly so you don’t bump into things and especially so you don’t bump into each other. You’ve adapted to your “too small” house and are quite comfortable.

One day, you are out and about running errands when you accidentally turn down the wrong street. Since you are used to taking the same route all the time, you are a bit disoriented in this situation. It is all a little strange. These houses are so different. They are like nothing you have ever seen before. They are bigger than your house. Up ahead on the right you see one that is for sale and there are “Open House” signs out front. You decide to step inside to see what it looks like.

Your eyes pop and your mouth drops open when you see the enormity of the place. You start to picture your family living there. Everybody has their own bedroom, nobody waits to use the bathroom, the kids aren’t under the table while you are trying to fix supper and you don’t have to climb over the couch to get to the front door.

Photo provided by Cheryl Gleghorn
Photo provided by Cheryl Gleghorn

Soon you find yourself in an exciting dream. While you are dreaming, the sales person walks up to you and starts talking. You begin to listen when he talks about what is available to help you buy this house. He is giving you information you have never heard before and it all makes perfect sense. You know in your heart that the dream is possible. It would be a stretch but you could do it. You could own the new, bigger house. Life would be so much better! The decision is made — you are going to go for it. This is what you want for you and your family.

As you leave to go home, you look back at the house and start thinking about what it will take to make the move. Oh my God! Is it really worth it? Think about all the packing. You would have to go room by room. First you would start with the kid’s room. All those years of accumulated junk to sort out. This you toss, that you pack, this you can’t pack right now because you have to use it, that somebody else could use, and this you’re not sure what to do with yet. It is only the beginning. You still have the living room, your bedroom, the bathroom, and the kitchen. You want to faint when you get to the kitchen because you just ran out of boxes.

At last you seem to be done. Then you remember the basement and garage aren’t done. You just want to sit down and cry. It’s all too overwhelming. Not only that, but once you have moved, you have to unpack the boxes and find new places for all the stuff you decided to keep. It feels like climbing a mountain! It isn’t worth it. And besides, who do you think you are to even deserve a house like that? The fast talking salesman was just trying to make a buck. He almost had you convinced you could actually qualify for a place like that. What a joke! And you almost fell for it. You turn your back on the bigger house and start heading home saying, “Nice thought, but not for me.”

When you get home, the kids are screaming and chasing each other. You bump into the table on your way to the living room. You clear the clutter from the couch so you can lie down and relax. But you can’t relax, because it isn’t as comfortable as it used to be. Something is different; it’s not the same. What is it that’s different? You — you’re different. It’s a feeling. You’ve seen what could be. You have been shown that staying in the “too small” house is a choice — your choice. You become unsettled, tense, angry, sad, and then you accept the fact that you have changed. You will never be comfortable here again. So, with that, you get up, walk into the kid’s room, and you start sorting and tossing and packing.

I remain on the trail of finding my mind. That original mind that I was born with … Yes, the one I had before everyone else told me how my mind should be. It’s just like that ‘too small’ house.  You know how to behave around certain people; you know what to say so no one gets upset. You know how you’re supposed to feel about yourself so that you don’t rock any boats. You follow your script perfectly.

I didn’t think much about it; about what my mind was doing to my life. I didn’t know it could be any different until that person handed me that crazy book.

Photo provided by Cheryl Gleghorn
Photo provided by Cheryl Gleghorn

I was suddenly introduced to the possibility of a very different way of living. It looked so happy and free and wonderful. Just like the realtor selling the house, the book was telling me I could do it. I could change. I thought about it a lot. I would have to read a lot of books. I would have to change the caliber of people I hung around with. I would have to listen to mentors who wanted to encourage me. I would have to be strong and make sure I developed boundaries.

And then … and then … and then I had to protect them … Oh no, God, please don’t make me do that. It was scary, it was hard work, it took discipline and it took the courage to get up when I fell and continue on the journey towards Truth. It took awhile but I finally realized I had been given a path to follow. I realized I could never be happy again staying in the same small mind for the rest of my life. And so I made a decision to get up and get started. I sorted out my thoughts. I tossed the ones that didn’t serve me and I packed up the ones I wanted to keep. I sat at the feet of mentors that I aspired to be. I expanded my mind and moved into that new way of thinking. It has been and continues to be an amazing journey.