I need to stop…

That little thought drifted up in my mind this morning. “I need to stop…” And I contracted a little bit.

As I thought the thought, I stopped in my thoughtful tracks and wondered how many times a day a sneaky little voice like that informs my psyche of things I shouldn’t/should be doing. My immediate sense is that this voice is actually many voices, insidiously rooted in me from external sources—who now judge and criticize my every move, whether I hear them or not.

I stopped the thought before it went any further, although I’m pretty sure it was related to a couple of cookies I had last night. And I recognized the familiarity of the thought. I need to exercise. I need to drink less wine. I need to be good. I need to be useful. I need to serve others. I need to clean my office, home, yard, basement. I need to be quiet, I need to speak up.

Curiosity overcame me and I took the thought and laid it out before me, like a thick length of rope on a table. I looked it warily at first. Then I caressed it, and tested it’s weight in my hands, trying to feel the nature of the thought. It had the weight of the lead apron at the dentist’s but the texture of a well-worn sea-faring rope. As I lovingly massaged the thought on my imaginary table and explored every inch of it, a funny thing happened. It had no emotional impact. Offering it love had the mysterious effect of dissolving the thought and I felt it drift away. My body relaxed a little and slowly softened into the present.

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