Origins of Thought Haibun

Cherubs by Michelangelo, Courtesy of Samui Art

Cherubs by Michelangelo, Courtesy of Samui Art

Yesterday I walked gingerly over a six-inch thick sheet of ice to close my garage door. Slowly I turned back across it to my car, eager to pick up my daughter from preschool. I thought with hostility of ice, winter, and arctic temperatures, while I fumbled with my gloves, even though I did not fall.

Then I thought about thinking itself, where had those negative thoughts come from? I remembered how a fresh dusting of snow glints in the sunlight, how much fun my boys had digging snow tunnels and forts and I remembered sledding and hot chocolate. I smiled and felt immeasurably happier. I remembered my joy when the first flakes fell. I decided to view the last days of winter cheerfully. Spring is coming soon, and then winter will be a delight to look forward to again. Now where had those thoughts come from?

When I was in my teen years, my thoughts were often dark. I read horror, murder mysteries and psycho suspense with gusto, imagining death, blood and gore without flinching. I rarely gave any space to positive thoughts, except for some vague idea that my life would be better when I was on my own.

monsters within
words spilling blood
monsters without

My own life seemed cheap, all things absurd, all cultural mores without depth or meaning, all of us caught in a spider web of habits developed by people long dead. Pointless.

How did I get from there to here, where negative thoughts are automatically balanced by positive ones and my mind achieves serenity? I no longer dwell in the dark places or give voice to angst, betrayal and pain, despite treading water in it for years.

I had an epiphany. I’m not sure I should share it. Things that are too simple are often confused with the simple-minded. And yet, simple is the curve of a throat that make you catch your breath. Simple is a blue sky after a storm, the sun reflecting in all the wet places. Simple is ice in the summer or a warm hand when yours is icy.

If you are still reading, you may wonder what my epiphany was. In that case, I will tell you: I control my own thoughts. That’s it. No matter how dark, or scary or hurtful others are, they cannot control my thoughts unless I let them. I can look for beauty and good memories, and focus on those, letting the rest go. So I did, every time the negative thoughts came, I used mental muscle to shove them aside and substitute positive ones. Over time, the initial herculean effort became an easy, automatic one.

I came home from picking up my daughter, stepped onto the ice, and BAM, slammed into the trash bin, so thoughtfully provided by my city sanitation department. My first thought: that wasn’t so bad. Next thought: OWWW!!! That thought lasted longer than I like to remember, but eventually my well-trained brain found happy thoughts again: I’m so glad I didn’t break anything. At least my daughter won’t have to risk walking over it. My driving is done for the day. I can go lie down for half an hour. Spring is coming.

clouds part
rays of sunshine push through
contemplate joy

Inspired by Michelangelo, Haibun Thinking Prompt #7 and Samui Art.

59 thoughts on “Origins of Thought Haibun

      • Oh my dear…My life has changed in the last few months…New house, new life….Plus my work requires a lot of attention, as usually….and my mind and my soul are taking quite a different route since December…

        But you are, as always, simply GORGEOUS!

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        • Luana, I sensed changes, less wild and more restrained, but loving and joyful, same as before. I hope you have gotten what you wanted. I have the sense that you have, that you have sorted things out in your head. The wind is coming from another direction perhaps. Blessings to you, my gorgeous friend! Warmly, Brenda

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          • …as I was saying this morning to the one I love, I might fight against so many things in life, but atleast now I do not fight against myself anymore…

            Really, really thank you for the wishes and hope one day we will meet in person and have a long peasant talk, my dear Brenda ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. Very interesting Brenda! ๐Ÿ™‚ Controlling your thoughts can be one of the hardest things to accomplish – for a lot of people anyway! But it is a great comfort if you teach yourself how to, which you clearly have, top marks for that!! I had a battle with thoughts a lot when I was a teenager right into my early 20’s. But I managed to get hold of them, recognise the patterns of how my normal thoughts would suddenly turn a sharp corner to negative. Sometimes it was as simple as something I heard on the news – it niggled, and became something entirely different in my thoughts a few hours later, leaving me puzzled as to where the down thinking had come from. I learnt to backtrack my thinking several hours – useful habit! ๐Ÿ˜‰ It makes a huge difference to your life to understand your thinking, to know the good from the bad. Some people have had so long thinking negative they are not even aware that their thoughts are negative – that’s a scary place to be!!

    The slipping on ice – just thought I’d mention, have you ever heard of shoe grips called WinterTrax? I use these in icy weather now, and they’re AMAZING!! No slip at all, in any conditions! I did a mini review at Pinterest, here’s a link in case you are interested. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/517984394612253358/ There are other makes as well that all do the same thing, as long as they have that coiled bit under the feet, they should work the same. Some other types of foot grips aren’t so good. I used to hate walking in icy conditions for fear of falling over, especially after a cousin of mine when he was in his early 30’s fell over in the ice and snow and broke his ankle, he was in hospital with pins in his ankle for weeks, and then he had to live downstairs in his own home for months because he couldn’t manage the stairs. Anyone would have thought he’d been in a serious accident – but no, just a light trip on ice! But I’m very glad to hear you survived that flying fall without a break – sounds terrifying though! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

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    • I have things for the ice, but I was in my car, and I only bring them on long walks. As for thoughts, you are right, some people can’t figure it out, but I was lucky enough to come to it early on my own.

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  2. i love your epiphany and am happy you didn’t break any parts and happy you see the world through a happy lens. it shows in your writing and your personality.

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  3. Pingback: Positive Thinking | high five and raspberries
  4. How can I thank you? Sometimes I need to be reminded not to look back. I try not to dwell on my childhood and appreciate the life I have made for myself but sometimes..sometimes.. I shall hang on to your words of wisdom and enjoy my day. Instead of grumping at last night’s snow fall, methinks a snowman is in my near future. Pat

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    • Pat,

      A snowman in the spring, a bittersweet monument to enjoying the moment. A fitting thing to make, indeed. My kids make them even in small snowfalls, sometimes only a few inches high. Or they make snow puppies.

      In my case, looking back is hazardous, too. Looking forward is usually much more fun, because then I can use my imagination. ๐Ÿ™‚ I wish you a fabulous week!

      Warmly, Brenda

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  5. Lovely Brenda, though I had the inkling that there was a disaster in the air from the beginning. I think that positive thoughts is the best way to go. There is so much negativity all round us we have to be masters of our own destiny. If we control our own thoughts we control our own little piece of the universe. Beautifully written as always Brenda, excellent.

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  6. I love reading your stream of consciousness, Brenda! I am, like you, so “done with winter!” I was sorry that you did end up crashing on the ice, into the garbage cans. But your overall message is hopeful, reminding us we can control how we handle things and especially, our thoughts! Fine writing, my dear! Smiles, hugs and hopes for a great rest of the weekend! Robin

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    • Yes, my message was one of hope to those whose thoughts are often dark and depressing. Many blogs I read, people are so sad or depressed. My heart goes out to them, I remember struggling with that, too. Some people are born knowing how to find up, and others of us, have to apply ourselves to finding it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Blessings, Robin

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  7. Wonderful Brenda!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, we control our thoughts, at least something we can control……, I learned something like this to, something like….You can’t control what is going to happen to you, but you can control how you are going to react to it……but yes, it is hard sometimes! I hope you didn’t hurt yourself to badly on the ice!

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    • No, just some bruises and soreness, it will go away. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for asking. You are so positive, I thought you would probably do this as well. Some people are born sensible, and others have to take their time figuring things out. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • ู„ุฏูŠ ุฃู„ู… ููŠ ุงู„ุธู‡ุฑ ู…ู† ุณู‚ูˆุท ุจู„ุฏูŠ ุนู„ู‰ ุงู„ุฌู„ูŠุฏ. ุฎู„ุงู ุฐู„ูƒุŒ ูƒู„ ุดูŠุก ุนู„ู‰ ู…ุง ูŠุฑุงู…. ูƒูŠู ุญุงู„ูƒุŸ

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      • ุดูุงูƒ ุงู„ู„ู‡ ูˆุนูุงูƒ ู„ุง ุชูƒูˆู†ูŠ ู…ุชู‡ูˆุฑุฉ ู„ูŠุณ ูƒู„ ู…ุฑุฉ ุชุณู„ู… ุงู„ุฌุฑุฉ

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  8. โ€ฆand, it’s really hard to be crabby when you believe in unicorns and fairies. They always make me happy, no matter how bad things are and you have them all around your house and, now, inside:)

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    • That’s right, when you know you are surrounded by magic even in your dreams, you cannot let a little thing like a lake of ice on your driveway upset you!! And thanks for both comments. My fairy garden pix did not turn out that well, except when my daughter’s shining face was in them, and I don’t put up her pictures. The hyacinths are more open now, so I will try again… ๐Ÿ™‚ Hugs, Brenda

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  9. “Spring is coming” a lot better that the Stark motto of Winter is Coming from Game of Thrones ๐Ÿ™‚

    I hope you are okay and that the ice is gone soon.

    I understand the teenage years, although I was lucky enough to not go through – for reasons I won’t say, but my siblings did, so I know what you mean.

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    • I had my reasons, too many reasons. But I didn’t want to carry all that around my whole life, so I learned to let it go. I prefer Spring is Coming, too. Game of Thrones is amazing, but very dark. I am okay, thanks for asking. Just sore. Cooking up some sausage and collard greens soup and baking bread. The smell is intoxicating. ๐Ÿ™‚ Take care, Brenda

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      • I haven’t baked bread for a while. Well, a couple of weeks. I need to do some more, I love the taste and the smell of it ๐Ÿ™‚

        GoT is back in just over 4 weeks so I am watching season 3 again. Glad you’re okay though. Probably a few bruises .. .comes with the territory of kids (and ice) lol

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  10. Beautiful piece. I am one who needs constant reminding that things are as we make them. That rut you were in before you made the herculian effort to get better? I sooo know the feeling.

    “I had an epiphany. Iโ€™m not sure I should share it. Things that are too simple are often confused with the simple-minded. And yet, simple is the curve of a throat that make you catch your breath. Simple is a blue sky after a storm, the sun reflecting in all the wet places. Simple is ice in the summer or a warm hand when yours is icy.” – Simple is the most beautiful, and the way we (or I) twist and mutilate things, we lose sight of simple.

    Ok, I’m starting to babble. Thank you for this! Take care –

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    • We just need to put in the effort and train the brain. It’s a punishment to live with a negative voice in our heads. Why punish yourself? You are doing your best. And we should accept help when we need it, too.

      I think the best part of my day is when my daughter comes out of her school, and her whole face lights up when she sees me. I wish I could bottle the feeling I get. I’m adding that to my good memory list. Simple, but so precious. Hugs, Brenda

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