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Burden Friday August 22, 2014

I wrote a few weeks back now about my positive experience with a therapist, and I wanted to share something we discussed within our sessions: visualising. I've always found this difficult as my butterfly brain tends to flit from one thing to the next without being able to remain settled on anything (sound familiar to anyone?!) and whilst I have a vivid imagination, my focus and concentration on any one image is minimal. I'm working on this (see future blogs!) but there was one thing that really stuck with me.

He described a person walking along the road; a tired, dejected person who seems to have the weight of the world on their shoulders; almost like a heavy backpack or as I like to think of it, a long stick with a bundle of "stuff" on the end, very reminiscent of Dick Whittington when he walked to London actually...I digress...

Our person is someone struggling to put one foot in front of the other; someone dragging themselves along; moving slowly and obviously in pain from the burden they're carrying. Not just their own troubles, but picking up everyone else's along the way, until they become so accustomed to feeling like this, that for them it seems normal, and an alternative doesn't cross their mind. I'm sure we can all recognise this person...

My therapist explained to me that this person eventually comes to a crossroads. Here, they have a decision to make. Turn left or carry on, taking the troubles with them. Eventually, the weight becomes so heavy that they have to stop altogether; they can't carry on. Eventually, after some time, that path will bring them back to where they are now, and they'll have to make their choice again.

Or, they can turn right. They can put the burden down, and walk away from it. Imagine that...

Now I know things aren't that simple. If we could all put down our problems and simply walk away, just like that, life would be full of happier people, and higher Moodscope scores. But it did make me think. I can put the burden down. I can walk away from it. I can take a step in the other direction. I can make a choice (there is always a choice). The path to the right may be a long one, with hills and pot holes but I can still make it easier on myself and choose to travel it without any unnecessary baggage.

An analogy yes, but I feel it's a powerful one. Every day now I check in with myself and visualise myself in the scene I described. Where am I? Have I put that burden down? Am I walking away from it? Some days I can see myself slipping back closer to that burden, and I realise I have to take action before I end up back at the crossroads picking it up again and setting off in the wrong direction.

So where are you today? Which path are you on? Can you put that burden down?

A Moodscope member.

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Sarah Fri, Aug 22nd 2014 @ 8:17am

Thank you Fiona. This is a vivid picture and reminds us to use our powerful minds in the right direction. Sarah

Anonymous Fri, Aug 22nd 2014 @ 10:52am

Oh yes, the butterfly mind ... I try and practise mindfulness but I really struggle to keep focused. This image is hugely helpful for me - thank-you!
It reminds me of a children's book called "The (big?) bag of worries" - which has wonderful pictures of the sack of worries getting ever bigger as the young girl drags it behind her ...and how she was too scared to open it - but when she did, several of the worries proved to be ridiculous when brought out into the open; other worries belonged to other people so once opened the sack was immediately reduced. Thank-you again Fiona

Mary Blackhurst Hill Fri, Aug 22nd 2014 @ 2:39pm

Hello Fiona. How well I recognise the butterfly brain. And yes, my husband frequently tells me "relax: it's not your problem." It's a hard discipline, not taking on other people's problems.

Anonymous Fri, Aug 22nd 2014 @ 3:01pm

Carry that weight.
And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love you make.
Love, The Beatles and Rich

Anonymous Fri, Aug 22nd 2014 @ 5:19pm

I feel that I am the person carrying the burden of other people's worries lately.

Di Murphey Fri, Aug 22nd 2014 @ 5:29pm

Greetings, Fiona ~
Sharing this imagery really sparked my brain! It is a simple yet important method for treating worry. Sometimes I think worry will eat me alive. Your post is a huge help.
Warmest regards,
Di Murphey

Julia Fri, Aug 22nd 2014 @ 6:06pm

I am going out this evening and am wondering if I dare leave my mobile phone at home. I am not saying my (grown up and living far away)children are a burden but they are the only reason I carry it with me AT ALL TIMES. I am thinking maybe I should warn them that I won't have my mobile with me for say 6 hours. I will probably chicken out and take it with me (but not check it all evening!) Always a mother/parent. But what a good blog Fiona. It's my mobile which is the burden this evening or the weight of worrying about crises that may never happen.

Anonymous Fri, Aug 22nd 2014 @ 6:18pm

Hello Julia; it sounds as if you are beating yourself up about this when there is no need - so what if you always take your mobile with you? You still have the choice to leave it switched off - and, yes, to check it midway through the evening if you think about it for any missed calls ... have a lovely evening! Frankie

Anonymous Fri, Aug 22nd 2014 @ 6:19pm

Sorry - forgot to sign off - Frankie

Anonymous Fri, Aug 22nd 2014 @ 9:31pm

Di, you come across as such a relaxed soul that it's hard to think of you worrying so much it might eat you up. I hope it doesn't as I'd miss you. Love from the room above the garage.

Anonymous Fri, Aug 22nd 2014 @ 9:35pm

I agree with Frankie, it makes you more comfortable to have do and care not! My children are still at home but, when they are not, I will likely always have it with me. It's part love, part the world we have now. Hope you're having a good evening out, love from the room above the garage.

Anonymous Fri, Aug 22nd 2014 @ 9:41pm

Nice one Fiona! I'm bring pressured to commit to something tomorrow...and I've decided to put the burden down. Told them, very nicely, I would be unable to say until the morning...

I think it may be the nature of our beast to find it hard to commit (I never know how I will feel til the moment is there). Anyway, it's last minute and, having read your blog, I decided to go easy on me. And I thank you. Love from the room above the garage.

Julia Sat, Aug 23rd 2014 @ 4:29pm

Yes you are both right. Thank you for caring and thinking of me! There were practical reasons for not taking it with me last night; It was a big party with many people there and I knew there was nowhere I could put my mobile down safely. I wasn't planning on taking a bag and had no pockets. I didn't want to ask my husband to take it for me as things are always slipping out of his pockets, even his wallet. It was a bit more complicated than I am explaining right now or did yesterday but I think what I was trying (badly) to get across in my comment was the burden we carry when we worry about our children often unnecessarily. Plus I sometimes think mobile phones which provide us with the opportunity to be always in contact and to know what is happening 24/7 don't allow us totally immerse ourselves in enjoying the moment. We had a great time BTW,I did take my mobile after all but didn't check it nor did I lose it!! Thanks again for your kindness ratg and Frankie. xx

Anonymous Sat, Aug 23rd 2014 @ 6:43pm

I've thought for decades that because I did well in school, I should be able to take on more responsibility in life: be able to help others and make a big dent in solving world problems. It's been hard to accept that some days I can barely take care of myself, but I've had to. And even after years of Zen sitting practice, it's only becoming a little bit clear now what it means to just take care of right now. It's amazing how strong the pull is to keep mulling over problems! But it's rarely brought any solution. I still remember a therapist nearly 30 years ago affirming for me to trust more. I could look at some of my past and say why should I trust when THAT happened. But the truth is that today is doable, and that is a gift. Most of the burdens are on the ground for today.

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