I never know what I think until I write a blog about it; this has been the place where I talked about my (formerly) secret love of pantyhose, about becoming a mother, losing a child, having a meltdown over cleaning the craft cabinet, about suffering the indignities of going to spin class and the obstetrician.
So I may not have much credibility on this topic, but believe it or not, sometimes issues come up that should not–that cannot– be processed online or crowdsourced by a poll of Facebook friends.
I’ve had a few such things on my mind lately, and I’ve suffered weird mental blockage as I’ve tried to process my thoughts privately. As it turns out, I’ve almost forgotten how to do it.
The difficulty of the exercise has made me a cheerleader for recovering the lost art of having private thoughts. I am hoping that the following practices can become as retro-cool as baking bread or sewing a skirt, even when both bread and skirts more easily acquired by going to Target. (Full disclosure: I don’t bake from scratch or sew; I’m just making a point here.)
I can’t even tell you the last time I’d written words on a page that were just for my own eyes. As it turns out, writing for an intended audience of zero is still useful for thought-processing. I think that everyone on the planet kept journals before the advent of micro-blogging social media; as it turns out, they were on to something!
I’m embarrassed to admit how little I seriously pray about issues that most concern me. It’s been a weird, but good, thing to pray about questions that I haven’t already determined answers for. God is usually slower to answer than my Facebook friends, and there is no helpful red notification to let me know when he’s responded, so it’s helping me pay attention and exercise patience.
3. Focusing on input more than output
Sometimes when big issues weigh heavy, feeding your mind is more important than giving it outlets for expression. When I’m feeling especially burdened, I purposefully seek out books and podcasts. Sometimes I try to “research” on a topic related to my issues, but that’s not really what I’m talking about. Reading and learning about almost any topic has several helpful effects: getting “out” in the world of ideas helps you to take your mind off of your own problems, it reminds you how big and interesting the world is, and it gives you insight into other ways of thinking about things. Just getting out of your own limited head space can help you think more clearly and objectively when you come back to your own problems.
Do you have any suggestions to add to this list? How do you process privately?