Who on earth, I ask myself, do I think I am? Who do you think YOU are?
I ask this most gently, it is a loving question that has taken much of this past year to articulate.
This past year, my year off, was a necessary reaction to a great tidal wave of nothingness. It was a profound response to the loss of my mother, followed by my youngest brother, and ending last October with the death of my husband. And now, my year off is drawing to a close.
Soon, I will step out of my mourning. I will set aside my black armbands, I will open my front door, and taking a deep breath I will step out into the world. I think January is a good time to do this. It is mid October now, that gives me time to prepare. Who I think I am is vital to this stepping out. Who I think I am will determine where I go, what I do, and how I respond. It is a very good time now, to plan my next steps by considering carefully who, on earth, this earth, I think I am.
If, as I am told, energy follows thought, it is vital to think well. This may or may not be true, but let us imagine that it is. We deal with whatever comes our way in life. Sometimes it is hard to cope with what is thrown at us. Often we are surprised at our good fortunes and then doubt them, waiting for them to end, to turn bad so that we can feel better about having had nice things happen at all. We long for love, and don't get it. We want to be someone, and fear we are not. Other people have things, do things, are things and just typically, we are passed by time and time again. We never get this break, that job, we never find the right person, we always get a bum deal. Life is sometimes good, often bad, and actually, we are more comfortable when it is bad. Less effort. It is what we always get anyway, and somehow, despite our complaints, it's what we secretly think we deserve.
If, as for this blog, we believe that energy follows thought, and we realise that we must think thoughts carefully and well, then we must become aware of what it is we actually do think.
This is not a new idea, it is old and well documented. Think now, what is the deepest, most fundamental thought that you have about yourself? What is, as Neal Donald Walsh asks, your sponsoring thought? What is the thought that you have about yourself that controls what things come to you, what people are in your life, what life you are living? What is the energy following the thought you have about yourself that is creating your life? If your sponsoring thought is, deep down inside you, that you are worthless, then your life will conspire to make that true. If that is what you really think about yourself, you will attract enough stuff to make it right. Wonderful! Says your sponsoring thought, I'm always right. If, you believe deeply, at a very basic level, that you are hopeless with money then yes! says life, lets do this! You will be hopeless with money! I am always right, says the sponsoring thought again.
Our sponsoring thoughts are much deeper and more difficult to find than the superficial and compelling chattering thoughts in our heads. Perhaps the thoughts that are so deep and buried inside our subconscious are better described as beliefs. We have so many thoughts swirling around in our heads, it is hard to keep track of them at the best of times. These thoughts are important, yes, but the thought, the belief, that I am trying to harness is this fundamental one that you hold about who you are. Who, really, do you think that you are? That, the thought that you have and that you must look for, shapes your life and who you are right now.
It is likely that we have more than one sponsoring thought. They are the bedrock of our experience, they are the messages we give out, they are the beliefs that we have about ourselves that shape our experience. I may work very hard on my project, I may tell you that it is going well and that I am delighted with progress, but never appear to get anywhere. I tell you all that I'm fine with this, but secretly I am not. I don't understand why I cannot find success. Perhaps my sponsoring thought is that I do not deserve success. Deep inside, my sponsoring thoughts are acting out my beliefs, that I am quite simply undeserving of that thing I say I want. Perhaps my sponsoring thought may also be that I am not worth listening to. Or that I am not very clever. It is as if I dress in the morning in a business suit in order to be a business person, but go off each time and surprise myself by digging up a road and feeling wildly out of place. What I say I am to the world, is not what I am acting out. Until I notice that one of my outfits is wrong for what I say or think I want to do, until I realise that there is a conflict between what I say and what I do, I will continue to dress in a business suit, and end up digging roads. What there, is my sponsoring thought? It could be that I am sabotaging either my business life, or my road digging ambitions.
I have three difficult sponsoring thoughts. I can see how these sponsoring thoughts shaped my life as a young mother and artist. I can see how these sponsoring thoughts created so magnificently the life that I actually had, though at the time I felt as if I had no control over anything at all. One of my sponsoring thoughts is ,"I cannot have anything." Another is, " I make people angry" and the third is, "I am not the right person, who I am is wrong, I should be someone else".
Part of our human condition at the moment, and I say at the moment because I have no real idea of how it was when I was not here, is fear. We are full of fear. I have feared my lack of money. I have feared my wrongness as a person, I have seen and feared anger that didn't exist in people until I made it exist. I remember this most vividly when I was a young mother, and starting out as an artist. Living in Wimbledon in London, I was young, divorced and raising three children alone. Life was very hard, and I had very little belief in myself, nor any love for myself. Of course life was hard, it was part of my belief that it should be so. It was what I deserved, as part of my wrongness.
I particularly feared things that went well for me. I was horrified by success because my sponsoring thought about good things was both You cannot have anything, and You are not the right person, who you are is wrong, you should be someone else. Success, any kind of success, made me feel helpless and vulnerable.
Since October last year, I have been looking at who I think I am. How strange, how strange. I am trying to achieve this thing, I would say, I am doing these actions to prove I can, but deep inside I contradict myself with I cannot have anything. And I am not the right person, who I am is wrong, I should be someone else". It has been a struggle to make things work over the years, I inhabited a world that supported my fears about myself. Money was one of them. "You are so bad with money," people would say. "I know," I reply, "I am the worst and I have always been this way. I am hopeless." The sensible and kind advice I would receive from friends would never work. "No," I would say, "it's useless. I am bad with money and will never change" And so, I never did. ("I cannot have anything").
We have much more power over our lives and ourselves than we imagine. Yes, it is a responsibility, but that isn't really a problem, It is nice to be responsible for ourselves. If your idea of responsibility is full of stern control, then change your idea. What do you love? Animals? People? Children? Computers? Hot Dogs? It is possible that your version of responsibility is kinder with the things you love, so make yourself one of the things you love, and take responsibility for yourself and your ideas as something you like.
And so. What are my sponsoring thoughts now? What happened to the old ones? Who do I say I am? Who do I think I am now?
Here is how negative sponsoring thoughts may look. I see that someone has done really well at something and I feel envious and left behind. I never find that success. I am afraid of this feeling, but I am used to it because this is how things go for me. I cannot have anything. If I try and do something similar, and make a success of my project, I could call this person up, I could call other people up that may be interested in me - but I don't. I fear their response. I make people angry. Later, someone does call me up and ask me about what I do, and I feel I cannot reply properly and I make a hash of the phone call. The person who did well doesn't have this problem. Oh well, I do this often, but I wish to goodness I didn't. I am not the right person, who I am is wrong, I should be someone else.
Here is how it may change. My acquaintance has done well. I see what they have done, and I know about the I cannot have anything feeling. I do not allow that feeling to happen, I do not allow that thought to take shape. I am good I say to myself, I have enough. I am happy for their success. I want my project to be successful too, but my success is not based on theirs, it is mine and I am in control. If it is my project, my success, and I am in control, then what I say matters and people will either listen, or they will not. Nothing I say will cause anger. I speak my truth and people want to hear me, I say to myself, I am interesting and I am good enough. Later, when I take a phone call asking me what I do, I tell the truth based on what I know and have experienced. I do not even consider my acquaintance, this call is about me and what I do, not what they do. I am good at what I do, I say to myself, I am unique, I am just right, and I am glad I am me. I am most definitely good enough. And then, because I am full of self love and awareness, I order a ton of chocolate fudge and prepare to dive in.
Who on earth do YOU think you are? What is/are your sponsoring thoughts? Are you surprised by them? Take time to think this through and ask yourself whether what you are experiencing now is a result of what you think. Bear in mind, and we have not covered this here, sponsoring thoughts are often positive and loving. And if your sponsoring thoughts are helpful and kind (one of mine is I am very nice which I know to be true, and brings me much pleasure), how happy does that make you feel?
If you have time, let me know who on earth you think you are, both helpful and unhelpful sponsoring thoughts. Bless you, and thank you. xx