Campfire Chat About Intrusive thoughts, Science, and Emotion
[Intro Singing: Doh-doh-doh-doh-doh-doh-Doh!]
Just me – The Fern Hill Familiars are all busy making some Journal Stew.
I wanted to have a little campfire chat with ya.
I’m going to take a moment – and I hope you’ll take a moment too – to just breathe.
Just breathe regular, you know however you’re breathing. Let yourself do nothing but that.
Let your adrenals recharge just a little bit – or a lot if you can. Oohh, yea, just some nice “breath time”.
Or if you’re doing something, just really notice what you’re doing.
I wanna talk about intrusive thoughts.
And I’m coming at this today with success. As you heard in the three stories from the last podcast, I’ve had some real struggles with intrusive thoughts in the past. Which is not to say that I don’t still have occasional intrusive thoughts. I still have foreboding joy, you know? Maybe, “taking on the psychic energy of someone else”.
As my Dad says, letting someone else live rent free in your head. That has a nice ring to it. I just want myself up in my head. Maybe some vibes with the Universal Consciousness or what have you. You know, it’s easy to start worrying about stuff – maybe comparing yourself to someone who does something better than you, or even comparing yourself to someone who's “not as good as you” and feeling all superior.
And then there’s stuff like I read on the internet today, about how Venus Flytraps have been measured recently to have measurably half the [segue] Tesla Units of the Human Brain – Venus Flytraps, you know the plants? Have magnetic fields. You know we think we’re so special, right? Obviously the human brain is pretty cool. And Venus Flytraps? Have half the magnetic potential that we have.
That’s crazy! And totally vibes… I’ve been trying to hug a tree everyday now for about a month. And there’s something when you do it that feels so good. It feels so good to hug a tree! I always make sure that I’m not putting my ear or face on termite eaten parts or get bugs in my ear – anyway, that would be an intrusive thought!
Drawing with Intrusive Thoughts
When I’m hugging a tree it’s easy to think, “What do I look like?” and worry about what other people think. But you know what I look like? I look like a tree hugger. And that’s okay with me. But what does this have to do with drawing? Well, nothing makes room for intrusive thoughts quite like showing up to a blank page. And that’s so much of why I have this initiative to bring people to journaling.
There’s so much motion and busyness all the time. And a blank page can be terrifying – especially if you’re not listening to something distracting, or watching the tv, or filling out somebody else’s drawing prompts or writing prompts. Even with all those distractions, you can still have room for intrusive thoughts. So what I did – over time this has really paid off and I’ll find ways to talk about this better because it’s been so pivotal to me.
So what I did and still do, is when you have an intrusive thought like, say, a worry spiral. You’ve thought this thought so many times, you feel like if you just go through the logic tree one more time then you’ll get a different result, but, maybe you’re going through it again because there’s uncertainty. And the uncertainty that causes the worry -- you just need to let it go.
Identifying Triggers for Intrusive Thoughts
For me, I certainly had a number of very well trodden worry paths with just circular logic – a spiral even, I wouldn’t call it a circle because it wouldn’t meet up on itself, it would just keep going.
So I recognized the beginning of the path and I said, hey, this worry spiral? It’s not going to happen. I’m going to take some breaths and see, do I need to use the bathroom? Drink some water? Hey, do I need some snacks? Is this a low blood sugar situation? Do I need to hug a tree, a person, a cat, a dog? What’s going on?
And you don’t need to get analytical, just go through your basic needs and make sure that your basic needs are being met. And you know, that distraction can be enough that you can get back to task – and it if it’s not? Just keep at it! Not only checking on your basic needs – and not dismissing your worrying thought. But saying, hey, Worrisome Thought – I see you and I don’t have new information at this time to have a new outcome from usual.
[Content Warning: violence toward self]
Especially when the worrisome thoughts leads to [Content Warning: violence toward self] thoughts of suicide, and you know you’re not going to kill yourself but you’re just like “I need a way out!” Like, “this is too hard, make it stop”. Where’s the stop button? Even just a pause, not even Eject. So – Where’s the pause button? Well you know what, take a pause, get a gulp of breath. [Breathes deeply]
Changing Triggers into Cues for Self-care
What’s worked for me so well is recognizing what the beginning of these worry spirals look like, and using those as “cues”. Taking the triggering thought or symbol, whatever it is, and turning it into a useful cue for self-care and self-love. And, I just – it’s worked so well. Certainly that’s not the only thing I’ve been doing over the last number of years. But, I’ve really struggled with being too hard on myself and having a lot of intrusive thoughts and to the point that I couldn’t even really use my imagination, because I was too worried all the time about something.
What I’ve realized since is actually I was using my imagination all the time, I was always imagining and not being where I was. And I was really happy when I was in the moment, immersed in a task or environment with a lot to look at. Even if it was really boring – I like a lot of substantially boring things that I find there are always details you can notice, in the details, in the details.
And that comes from a depth of seeing of observation, an obsession with Sherlock Holmes helps because you know everything is information. You can get all poetic and Quantum Physics about it too because Everything is Information! Energy is information…
One thing I like to “cue out” is that I like to refresh on what makes life worth living. And crazy science stuff like that Venus Flytrap and how we as humans don’t necessarily see the entirety of the electromagnetic spectrum with our eyeballs but we can make machines to measure it. [That] the “visible light” portion of the Electromagnetic spectrum is called that because humans named it and that’s what’s visible to humans. [That] there are fish that see ultra violet and all sorts of stuff we just don’t know. And given that it’s the electro-magnetic spectrum, I believe these tiny units of electromagnetic energy are on there, the human brain, the earth, neutron stars.
Grounding in Curiosity and Inquiry
I really find Science to be grounding, as long as it’s not limiting. Because there is stuff that we just don’t know yet in Science because it’s a rigorous method of inquiry. Asking questions and answering them, and then asking questions about the answers and the way that you asked them. That process is inquiry. And it’s so rigorous it can exclude things that are more common sense, or you know… Apparently there are lots of studies about “psychic stuff” and I’ve always experienced psychic stuff and lately I’ve been researching into that, mostly in the form of podcasts.
Since I have such strong empathy, I have historically felt more than just my own emotions. And, it goes along the same likes as these intrusive thoughts, it’s intrusive feelings. And it comes back to worrying about what other people think about you. Just don’t! You know there’s the practical level of dealing in the world – and I can’t advise on dealing in the world with other people, but I can say – there is so much wonder and if you replace your fear and worry with curiosity and love, then you can go really far.
And, even if you don’t go really far, you can really enjoy or learn from what you’re doing. And to me, there’s nothing more enjoyable than to learn. I love to learn.
Closing with Nature Thoughts
It’s been a rainy day where I am, and I can hear the frogs where I am. And the frogs are just really peepin’. And, I’ll send you that nature thought and let’s go with some more breathing. Don’t forget to breathe! Breathing is a powerful tool. And when you breathe-in it accelerates your heart beats per minute. And when you exhale, really linger on those exhales because when you exhale it really slows your system. If you’re in an elevated state then those exhales are really doing you magick.
So thanks for listening to this mini campfire talk. And I hope there’s something in there you found helpful. I so wish to help other people lose this shame and worry that our society and its people are over run with. So many tree hugs to you!
[Outro Singing: Doh-doh-doh-doh-doh-doh-Doh!]