I remember when I was young. I was bedridden with a stomach problem that caused me to be hospitalized. Keep in mind, entertainment was different back then. This was before cable television made its way into my household. Back then, all we had was basic television and basic television shows.
There was a show on with two kids that decided to camp out in their backyard. The two young boys were sitting a tent during a rainstorm. I can’t say I remember much else. It was an old show in black and white.
The two kids were in the tent and one mentioned if you touch the roof of the tent when it rains, the tent will start to leak.
Of course, natural curiosity got the better of them. The other one of the two kids decided to touch the roof.
And what happened? The roof leaked.
In their efforts to stop the leak, they touched the roof again, which created another leak. And then there was another one. And then there was another leak after that.
Eventually, the roof leaked so badly that it was raining worse inside than it was outside.
This caused the boys to run in the house. Fortunately for the two boys, they were only playing to pretend.
Had this been a real life situation or had this been a real emergency, like say, a nighttime rainstorm somewhere in the middle of the woods; a mile away from civilization might as well be equal to a thousand miles away. If this were the case, the situation would be a lot more intense and a lot less comfortable.
I suppose this was the lesson the boys were supposed to learn. Then again, this was a sitcom and all matters must be happily resolved within a 30 minute time period.
It’s funny though. I was only 8 years-old at the time. But somehow, I remember this episode. I might have seen this more than once. But I either way, I still remember.
I think of this episode and I see this as a perfect analogy. I compare this to the thought machine and the internal narrative we entertain in our minds.
I see the tent as a perfect metaphor. The tent symbolizes the boundary between us and the outside world. The boys are a metaphor too. The boys symbolize our internal monologue. This is the thought machine in progress. The boys are the representation of our emotional thinking.
This is us interacting with the wrong thoughts at the wrong time. This is when the ideas trigger insecurity and emotion. Next, comes the action.
And you know you shouldn’t interact with this. But you do.
You know this is all in your head but thoughts have a way of eventually becoming reality.
Metaphorically speaking, you know you shouldn’t touch the roof of the tent in a rainstorm. But for some reason, you do it anyway.
Now the tent leaks. And in an effort it try and fix the leak, you cause another leak. And then another. And another.
Sometimes we give in to the inner narrative in our minds. Sometimes we interact with thoughts that eventually gain momentum.
But unlike the boys who were safe in their own backyard; figuratively speaking, we are like the nighttime rainy scenario of being in the middle of the woods where a mile away from civilization is equal to a thousand.
I see this as a valid lesson which raises important questions.
How often do we allow the thought machine to take over and create obstacles instead of opportunities?
How many times have we unnecessarily created our own panic?
How many times have we given in and created inaccurate arguments or re-lived old stories in our mind to the point where anxiety steps in? As a result, what happens after this?
This is how we create our own chaos. This is where we create our own obstacles. By interacting with this thought process, we are caught in the storm with no place to go. In times like this, there is nothing else to do, except endure our own self-created storm.
I have been introduced to a few opportunities to share my motivational talks at a corporate level. Now, in this case, I am sure I will have to change my topics a little.
The corporate world is different now. It’s a sensitive thing, which means I will be mindful of my words and story selections.
However, like those kids in the rainstorm, what I can’t do is touch the roof of the tent. What I can’t do is allow the thought machine to take control.
In my presentations, I openly discuss my own struggles and bouts with social fears and anxieties. I discuss the triggers of my thinking process and how this develops into a chain of events. This acts as a roadmap on how “Not” to interact with the thought machine.
As a matter of fact; I think I’ll use this analogy in one of my presentations. However, I will keep the tent gender neutral
(Just kidding . . . that’s just a little inside H.R. joke right there.)
The takeaway should be this; no matter what my fears are, I have to defy the inner monologue. I have to defy the thought machine; not by touching the tent and interacting with the thoughts. No, I have to learn how to not interact with them by not interacting with them at all.
Else, I sabotage myself. Else, I miss out on an opportunity just like those two boys that missed out on a good time to camp out in their own backyard
This is the way to create a better sense of wellness and mindfulness. This is what is called my own personal homeostasis—otherwise known as internal stability.
And to me . . .
This is what wellness is all about