Are you a Teflon or a Velcro person? Do you let random thoughts roll in one ear and out the other, like your head’s filled with Teflon, or do these thoughts seem just to stick there, like there’s a lot of Velcro filling that space between your ears instead?
I learned these analogies from a yoga instructor, Tias Little in Santa Fe, New Mexico, during a week of intense yoga during the Summer of 2011. That week left me with more than better yoga poses. It also taught me some new concepts, which I’m happy to share with you. The first one being, the quality of the time spent with ourself will reflect the quality of time spent with others. This internal time turns the spotlight inward towards you. This feeds the steady stream of random thoughts we all generate all the time. In fact, researchers have concluded that most of us have around 60,000(!) random thoughts a day, and most are repetitive. Wow, that makes us sound kind of dull stated that way. But this is where the concept of Teflon or Velcro comes back into play. Take, as an example, this statement, “He/She said (place anything negative here) to me.” You can’t yet say that that statement’s Teflon or Velcro, right? Your own mental flexibility is going to determine what it is. Can you let some little negative thought or something negative someone says pass through you (Teflon), or do you chew on it until it gets you angry (Velcro)?
So what are some good Teflon thoughts? Well, what runs through your mind as you sit and quietly watch the sunset or sit by a gently flowing stream? Hopefully, not too much. Can you apply little disturbances or negative thoughts into that same category? With the proper retraining of ourselves, and maybe with additional help from a good coach, it’s, indeed, very possible. By simply realizing that many of these fleeting thoughts just come in and go out, you can begin to control yourself as to whether they’re going to be Teflon or Velcro and how much emphasis you’re going to put on them.
What about the Velcro thoughts now? Think about something that’s a negative in your world. Maybe it’s your morning commute and all the entitled drivers changing lanes with no signal, talking or texting on the phone, and not driving carefully like you try to. What can you do to turn all that Velcro into Teflon? Perhaps a change of route once in awhile. Maybe listening to something new on the radio or an audiobook for a change. Maybe just having all that quiet time to work on something else Velcro that’s been eating at you. What if you came up with a new solution for that? That is a total change from Velcro to Teflon!
We don’t really have much of a choice about those 60,00 thoughts a day that randomly show up.
They just show up. But we do have a choice as to how we react to them. Meditation and journaling can be two ways to get hold of those thoughts and better handle them. I’ll write more about those soon.