“An exciting and inspiring future awaits you beyond the noise in your mind, beyond the guilt, doubt, fear, shame, and insecurity” - Debbie Ford
I thoroughly enjoyed listening back to my conversation with Linda Pransky on this week’s rerun of Insightful Conversations. Linda, along with her husband George, has been teaching the Principles for over forty years. She is an excellent teacher and has such a wonderful quality to her. With her wicked sense of humor and down-to-earth way of articulating the Principles, she is able to share this understanding in a way that is easy to grasp.
Before meeting Syd back in 1976, Linda was, for the most part, a happy, fun-loving, enthusiastic young woman. The only problem was that she would sometimes get tripped up by her low moods and insecure thoughts. Like many people, Linda had the expectation that she should be happy all the time, and if she wasn’t, then that meant that there was something wrong with her. Linda was innocently judging herself for being human. For having human frailties, as she puts it. When Linda heard Syd say, “If the only thing that people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world,” it changed her world. She no longer resisted her low moods and insecure thoughts and instead accepted them as part of what it means to be human.
As a mentee of both Linda and George, I am grateful for their impact on my understanding and grounding in the Principles. One of the very first things I learned from Linda was not to take my thinking so seriously. I remember the exact moment when I told her all about my insecure thoughts and how they were getting in the way of me fully showing up to life. We were sitting in her guest house overlooking the stunning view of the Puget Sound. She turned to me with this incredulous look on her face like I was speaking a foreign language. Then she asked. “Why on earth are you paying attention to your insecure thoughts?” Her question unnerved me. I thought to myself, “Why wouldn’t I listen to the thoughts in my head. They are telling me about myself and what I am capable of.”
What I didn’t realize at the time was that the insecure thoughts in my head were not me. They were not telling me who I was. They were not personal to me. They were the type of insecure thoughts that anyone might have. They had set up camp in my head so long ago I didn’t even question their validity. They were so familiar to me I accepted them without question. On top of that, I had innocently spent close to thirty years in traditional therapy trying to change my thoughts about myself. I was under the misguided belief that once I overcame my insecure thoughts, I would have a better quality of life.
The Principles helped me see that I didn’t need to change the content of my thinking to have a better life experience. My life began to improve once I changed my relationship to my thinking, not the thoughts themselves. Once I stopped fighting my experiences and instead allowed whatever thoughts to show up and move through me without judgment or resistance, I found that I would naturally bounce back to my innate wellbeing. In addition, I also saw that I wasn’t a victim to my thinking. I saw that I had the free will to choose how long I wanted these unwanted thoughts to linger. I could decide whether or not I wanted to engage with them and how far down the rabbit hole I wanted to go.
These days I think of my thoughts like the trains in Victoria Station. Each train is heading off in different directions to destinations all across the UK. Some of the destinations are beautiful and inviting, while others are not so appealing. While sitting at the train station deciding where I want to go, I don’t spend time getting angry that there are trains going to places I don’t wish to visit. I simply get on the train heading in the direction that feels good to me, and then I allow myself to enjoy the journey. It is the same for our thinking. We have the free will to choose which thoughts to follow when we let our feelings be our guide. To paraphrase Syd, “Follow the feeling” to a place of peace, love, and joy.
With love and appreciation, Del💕