The Runaway Train

train photo.jpg

There’s a lot going on in my household right now. Lots of drama. Changes brewing.

The two biggies…

~A family drama with my husband’s family regarding a serious, potentially life threatening, issue with one of his sisters. This is presenting a significant challenge. My husband is one of eight so you might imagine it is like trying to get something decided upon at the UN. Only with more phone calls, emails, and emotion.

~Issues with Kyle’s 1:1 aide at the day program he attends. AGAIN! This seems to be the story of his and my life. As per my request, she is on her way out the door. The day program door, that is. Serendipitously, a new gal just happened to be ready to step in. We got very lucky. Usually the timing doesn’t play out this way. I am feeling blessed and optimistic. Thus far, she has been a breath of fresh air. We will see what happens when she begins hands on work with Kyle.

My husband and I have been riding a runaway high speed thought train. For some of the time, there has been little stopping it. Peace and wisdom stand on the station platform bewildered while the train’s wind gust storms past to some unknown destination. Eventually, the train will slow down and my husband and I will tumble off ready to hear what wisdom has to say. To some degree, that has already been happening on and off.

In the midst of this, there are some things I have noticed that lead me to an even deeper understanding of our human experience. I love when this happens.

1~ Humans love to rehash the past. Some more than others. In fact, many, including myself at times, are very insistent about it. The yucky details form stories which are then told with great drama and flourish both in our own heads and to those around us. Over and over and over.

What I have come to see, and so very clearly, is there is nothing good or helpful found there!!! That’s right. There’s nothing for us in the past. It is a waste of time and emotional energy. Ego is often involved and that should be a big clue that there is nothing of value is to be found there.

Fresh new solutions aren’t uncovered by rehashing the past. Shoulda, coulda, woulda is useless and at times, harmful in relationships. Stories of the past often keep us stirred up, angry, unhappy and stuck. If there were lessons to be learned in the past, they have already become part of the fabric of what we know. They may or may not inform future actions.

The past is over and done the minute the next moment comes. We can’t ever go back to it though we may continue to rehash it in our thinking. This thinking is what keeps it alive in us.

Each moment only lives once. The thought train labeled the past is a huge waste of time and energy. Yet we continue to hop on that runaway train. All that speeded up thinking creates our suffering.

The minute we notice this, and begin to have a glimmer of understanding, we are free to step off the train. In fact we find ourselves doing so, without effort or doing anything specific to make it happen. Suddenly, we are standing on the platform of a new station. This is where possibility hangs out.

2- It is NOT a good idea to take action while on the high speed runaway thought train. I know, I know, it is so compelling. So very compelling to act upon those speeded up and even righteous thoughts. And sometimes, it seems urgent, as if we should act immediately.

I’m so happy to know this because one day last week I was truly riding that train for the entire day over an incident that happened between me and Kyle’s 1:1. I was ready to do some really stupid things.

However, I knew, REALLY knew, there was nothing good, certainly not wisdom, found on that train. I literally willed myself not to take action. We don’t control our busy thinking but we sure can control our actions. It requires awareness and the knowledge that just because you have a thought, it doesn’t mean you have to act on it.

The next day I was so grateful. In fact, I awoke with a new insight that had me doing something I would not have dreamed of the day before. Go figure.

If solutions don’t live in speeded up repetitive thinking or stories about the past, where can we find them? How do we access them?

There is another voice within. It is not the same voice we hear on the runaway thought train where ego is often the conductor. It is called wisdom, intuition, or knowing. I wrote a lot about it in my latest book, Space of Love.

Wisdom loves space. Wide open space like a quiet mind. It loves cracks too. Cracks within runaway thinking. Wisdom doesn’t actually need a lot of space. It can slip through the tiniest of spaces like an insect slithers under a door. It can literally slip in between two thoughts.

Wisdom doesn’t sound like noisy thinking although sometimes it comes in with a boom. It is clear and to the point and can be described as a knowing rather than an explanation. Often it is short and sweet. It might be a whisper. It’s almost felt or seen rather than heard. It is fresh and new. It doesn’t smell like musty old repetitive thinking. It may have a flavor of obviousness about it. Sometimes it’s accompanied by the word “duh”.

It is human nature to hop on the thought train. Why? Why do we repetitively keep doing something that causes us so much misery and is so unproductive?

When we want a solution to something, we may become uncomfortable in the space of not knowing. Antsy and urgent. Desperate even. So rather than wait and listen, we want to rush and do. Waiting and listening may seem counter intuitive. Overthinking and rehashing comes naturally. It may even be our default response, hence the runaway train. At least until we see otherwise.

I hope there is something that resonates here with you. There is nothing you need to do about it but open your mind to seeing something new. Soak your feet in it. And notice. Notice the next time you are riding that high speed runaway thought train. How do you feel? Again, just notice, don’t try to jump off the train.

Then notice wisdom and where solutions come from. Pay attention to aha moments and gut feelings. Pay attention to what’s occurring to you that’s brand new. That’s where the solutions live. Those are the answers that will propel you forward. That’s where you have the greatest access to creativity.

The waiting period I call the space of not knowing is where wisdom is free to rush in. It is where something new gets created that wasn’t there before. It is where the magic happens.

No train tickets required.


Are you interested in diving deeper into this topic?

Are you struggling or feeling stuck on your own runaway train?

Are you needing some support in moving forward in any area of life?

I am a coach and my job is to help people get more out of themselves than they might get on their own. My job is to help people find more mental freedom.

Interested in a conversation? Just ask. ;-)

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gayle nobel