Yesterday I went out in the evening to a Wassail ( an ancient fertility tradition from Southern England which involves singing and drinking mulled cider to awake the cider apple trees and scare away evil spirits, therefore ensuring a good harvest in autumn) we dressed up warm and stood out in a little orchard, which may have been someone's back garden, and by the fire and the light of the moon we sang to the trees. I had a lovely time. It interests me that I didn't know I was going wassailing when I wrote my rampage of appreciation to the trees, it seems like a response from the universe for me to be invited to celebrate the trees shortly after.
But, what really interested me about last night, is how I felt and how in the moment I was. We made a last minute decision to go, we had been invited to a Narnia party last night too, which sounded lovely and I'm sure it was, but it was quite far away and we are still staying close to home to meet our baby's needs. When we arrived there was lots of people I have never met before, and in fact the whole thing was completely unfamiliar to me. However I had a really lovely time, and why shouldn't I?
In the past (clearly history has some relevant uses!) I have found it very hard to socialise at times, there have been danger areas for me, particularly large groups of people, and even more so when I don't know anyone. The only way I can describe what I used to experience is that I would bully myself. Faced with large groups of people familiar or not, my mind would start up telling me a number of things about how I wouldn't fit in, and why I shouldn't even try!
For example: I'm not interesting, I'm wearing the wrong clothes, I'm too old/young, I'm not pretty, I'm the wrong shape, I have a weird voice, my hairstyle is odd, I'm a fool.
Just writing about it feels horrible, it amazes me that I even managed to go out with all that going on in my head! I don't know what purpose the bully in my head served, probably some sort of ego thing trying to keep me safe, but until recently I allowed me to say really horrible things to myself. Things I would certainly not say to anyone else, or put up with them saying to me! I managed to destroy my own self confidence on many occasions, and frequently found myself going home early just to alleviate the tension I was experiencing.
It feels so wonderful that I went out last night and realised this morning that I did not have one single bad feeling thought the whole evening, admittedly I wasn't out for long, just a couple of hours, but for the whole time I was out I remained in the moment. I was in the orchard, I was singing the song and saying the wassail chant, I looked into the fire, and I enjoyed watching and listening to the other people having a good time.
I didn't need to go inwards, to approve of myself, or to question whether the other people approved of me, because I already approve of myself. I LOVE MYSELF. I really am happy with who I am, and I believe it has a great deal to do with the massive increase in the amount of time I spend choosing better and better feeling thoughts.
CHOOSING GOOD FEELING THOUGHTS can be hard at times, I have many old thought habits to contend with, like the bullying, but the progress I am making is showing me the way, like a beam of sunlight, I know that I am winning.
I have known for many years that all I really want out of life is to feel good, to be content with my life exactly the way it is right now. I wish for more people to know about the power of CHOOSING THOUGHTS. It's a bit like being a shepherd to a flock of really unruly sheep, at first they are all over the mountainside and with only one dog (I wrote god then by accident!) who doesn't really know all the whistles yet, it takes time to get them all into one place, but after a while the dog learns to respond to my whistles and the sheep are all gathered together safely, and if they were thoughts not sheep they would be working for the common good.
So I'm going to do my best, I'm going to keep CHOOSING GREAT FEELING THOUGHTS, every day, every hour, every minute. I am starting to really enjoy my life, I am starting to really LOVE MYSELF, and I am starting to realise which parts of me really need attention and what really matters. I'm not getting upset anymore about whether other people like me or whether I live in the right place, I am finding deeper and deeper levels of joy every day through actively looking for things to feel thankful for and by actively choosing better feeling thoughts.
Today I am thankful for small pleasures
I am thankful for being able to gather ripe hazelnuts near my house
I am thankful for hearing my daughter sing in the shower
I am thankful for my pillow
I am thankful for bamboo socks
I am thankful for olives
I am thankful for ladybirds
I am thankful for eyelashes
I am thankful for ants walking in a line across kitchen counters
I am thankful for pencils