This statue is me, on far too many occasions. Lost in my head, and not present enough to my amazing surroundings. This is what happens when I over think.
Recently I attended a special exhibition at the Ca’ Pesaro gallery in Venice to see a fascinating exhibition called Chanel, The Woman Who Reads. The museum has an incredible permanent collection, and the actual structure is a spectacular piece of architecture. On this particular day, I rounded the corner to see this giant Rodin sculpture – The Thinker. I snapped a photo, as a reminder to not over think my life.
A person can, far too easily, get stuck in thinking and planning one’s life…
True confessions here. I’m so guilty of this. When I was a mere child I began to rely, quite heavily, on thinking and analyzing as a way to control the world around me. Thankfully, the last several years have been wresting this conditioning from my life, but I keep reminding myself of the dangers and tendency towards spending too much time in my head.
Why am I choosing the write about his subject? I’ve been receiving a large number of inquiries into the vast number of logistics a person has to navigate in building a life in Italy – from applying for an Italian visa, to getting the permesso di soggiorno, to getting health care, etc. It’s a lot of stuff. Period. So much, in fact, it can almost take over in a way that leaves little room for being present to what is actually happening in the here and now. It’s hard to not worry about what is involved in uprooting your life and moving it to Italy.
Maybe you are one of those rare individuals who easily can surrender, and know that all will work out, having prepared to the best of your ability. If so, I’m envious of you!
Don’t live life just thinking about it, explaining it, or trying to control it.
This is what I tell myself on a daily basis now – at bedtime, and when I get up in the morning. I remind myself to remain informed, to do my best in following the guidelines and requirements as an expat in Italy, but then I let go. Constantly thinking about something isn’t the least bit helpful – though this is one of the tricks our minds tries playing on us to keep us mired in thinking.
How many times have I gotten myself overly jacked up when I over think and over imagine the implications of a particular situation, only to find out that my worries were baseless? Talk about the ensuing realization that I’ve been wasting my time, and giving away valuable energy.
Yet, something remains with in ourselves, as a subtle threat – saying If you relax, and don’t keep thinking about this, you’re gonna be smacked with a big dose of reality.
I don’t want to think about my life. I want to experience it!
My greatest moments of happiness and expansiveness occur when words and thinking fall away. It’s when I cease trying to contain and capture what’s happening, like it’s somehow going to slip away – a form of clinging that brings suffering.
I want to live “non-verbally”
Maybe, the more accurate thing is to say I want to spend most of my life outside of my overly active left brain. Thinking still has enormous practical value, and as long as its role remains there, all will be well. But, I’m afraid thinking has shoved being out-of-the-way for most of us, convincing us that truth is only revealed in words and analysis. I don’t buy that anymore.
It’s taken several years of living here in Italy to finally be developing the muscles of living from my heart and not my head. If you make the move here, you might find yourself on a similar journey. Yes, you’ll be busy dealing with bureaucracy and learning the language and culture, but leave time to just be. Leave time to let life present itself. And, often how it presents itself is much better, and more exciting, than some kind fixed story you might have attached yourself to as to how it’s all “supposed” to be. My life has turned out quite differently, and way better, than I initially envisioned. It just took some getting out of head and letting life lead the way.
Still, don’t fight thinking.
Accept that most of us have a tendency to over think. You can watch your thoughts like passing clouds without hopping on them and trying to rein them in. Don’t try to chase them away. Just become aware of the thoughts as they arise, and they eventually will lose their power.
In closing, I share with you two quotes:
“You can’t get rid of thoughts, and you can’t get rid of thinking. To battle your mind is one of the most deceptive ways that the mind keeps you in its own domain.” – Adyshanti
“For thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.” – Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet