Posts Tagged 'mind'

the sunglasses are on the table (and other stories I tell myself)

A couple of weekends ago my husband and I returned from the movies, and I took his sunglasses out of my purse and put them on the dining table.

I put them on the dining table.

Later that afternoon he asked where his glasses were.

They’re on the table, right where I put them.

Except… they weren’t.


It may or may not be important to note that we were in an argument when I put the glasses on the table, and when he asked me where they were, and when I told him where they were, and when he couldn’t find them.

It may be important because when we argue, his favorite thing to do is straighten up the house; specifically, clean off the dining table.

Which led me to believe that he, in a mad straightening frenzy, moved the glasses that I had put on the table.


A week went by (thank goodness the argument lasted only the afternoon) and he still could not find his glasses.

We questioned one another:

Are you sure you put the glasses on the table?

To which I answered emphatically, Yes!

And I remembered it so clearly in part because of the argument (I’m going to put these mother-lovin glasses on the table so you don’t have to ask me for them).

Are you sure you didn’t move them off the table when you were straightening?

He said No and I didn’t believe him because I was right.


Here’s the point of the story:

The glasses were in the car.


Not on the table.


Now, I am not up in arms about being wrong. Truly, I’m often wrong and, contrary to how it might seem here, totally fine with it.

What I can’t get past is how clearly in my mind I remember taking the glasses out of my purse and putting them on the table. I would have bet money I don’t have. It wasn’t a maybe or I think I did — no, I can see it as distinctly as these words on the page.

And it strikes me… how have convinced myself? What stories do I believe? What other things do I think happened one way or at all that… didn’t?

Just because you have a thought doesn’t make it true.




Doing the Actual Thing

Ah, the mind. It is a powerful and untrustworthy chap.

Part of the unscrupulous story my mind tells is that I’m so busy. Emails, Teacher Training, writing, planning, networking, video project.

I’m so busy.

Last year I encouraged the Teacher Trainees to notice how much time they spent thinking about doing homework versus actually doing it. Many reported a shift in state of mind.

Chances are we fret, plan, prepare, undermine, imagine and exaggerate in the mind before ever really doing anything.

Of course, these activities may be necessary and useful in pre-processing. Designating thoughtful and purposeful time for the pre-activity is different from letting it massacre dinner conversation, steal sleep, and divide your attention from other worthy tasks. You can wring your hands and make yourself sick over everything you have on your to-do list without getting anything done. Or it might be as simple as that one thing that you remember only in the shower that feels like it’s taking up a lot of your time.

By the time we get to the Actual Thing, we may already be exhausted by it—dried out and dull.

When we spend so much time thinking about doing a project (or complaining that we’re not getting it done), it can feel like the project has taken much longer than the actual work of doing it takes.

This is my experiment this week. To designate time for planning, big idea making, and fretting (rather than denying the worry, I’ll give it a defined space), and acknowledge this time as separate from the actual doing of the thing.

Will report back findings.


What about you? Do you find that some of your busyness is really in your mind? Do you set time aside to plan, prep or worry? Do you every wear yourself out by thinking about a project too much?

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