Red wine and ruminating
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog about the rollercoaster of life and ‘lingering in a problem’ and several of the comments I received in relation to ‘lingering’ referred to ‘lingering too long’ which leads to ‘ruminating’.
So today, let me tell you a story about ruminating...
Once upon a time, a long time ago... which is how all good stories start ;), I went on an evening course. I don't remember much about the course or the evening (and no - this is not where the red wine reference comes in). I can however, remember a couple of things about it. The first being the presenter who ran it had a REALLY beautiful voice - smooth and silky - like a very delicious red wine..., the second thing was it was held in someone’s house, and the third thing I remember was there were two dogs on the other side of the door to the room we were in, scratching and whining, all evening, obviously wanting to get into the room with us. I found this really distracting, and as my daughter Ballantyne would say - they were like a ‘brain burglar’, that took over my thoughts and removed my interest away from the point of the course. I was totally engaged in the canine behaviour, frustrated, annoyed, totally distracted but also totally focused…just not on what the presenter was talking about. Eventually I couldn't sit quietly any longer and I asked the presenter if he could hear the dogs. He replied with that beautiful, smooth voice, “Yes, I can”. So I asked him, “Why doesn’t their behaviour bother you?”
I remember his response being something along the lines of... he chose not to focus on them, and that if he did, it would not stop the dogs’ behaviour, and only serve to shift his attention.
Which is exactly what I'd been doing - just saying.
He invited me to forget about the dogs and refocus on what he was talking about - which happened to be ruminating! I'd been doing a wonderful job at ruminating all evening - where I was totally absorbed in something that had happened (and in my case was still happening) and was hanging onto it and replaying it over and over in my head. Just like a cow - chew chew chew...
So, next time you find yourself thinking about something, or playing out a scenario in your head over and over - wishing you could rewrite the script if it should happen again and change it… then remember those dogs and shift your attention to invest it in something else entirely.
I find the easiest way to do this is to use a pattern interrupt. Here’s what I do. Think of something you love doing, watching, making, or thinking about. Anything is good here - as long as it’s something that brings you joy. Then, as soon as you find yourself on the ‘road of rumination’, STOP and SWITCH (ie. remove the ‘brain burglar’ by inserting your image of a happy place, thought or joyful moment etc in its place).
Having a couple of these images pre-prepared I find really useful, otherwise I don’t seem to be able to get past the idea of what I will SWITCH to, and then I’m straight back to ruminating again!
Getting into the now, or the ‘flow of the mo’, and out of rumination, or the ‘chew’, takes awareness, awakening and intention. Being in the ‘flow of the mo’ means letting go of the ‘chew’. Letting go of ruminating is a more mindful and much happier way of being than ‘lingering too long’ and letting rumination consume you. (For more ways to be happier check out these 10 hot happiness tips.)
Being human is awesome! It’s also complex and challenging… and the more you know, the more you know how much you don’t know too!
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Have a wonderful week. Gina xx