QuicksandAs I go through this journey of life, there are certainly peaks and valleys.  I’m no different than anyone else in that regard. But what I’ve noticed lately is that there’s also quicksand, seriously.  Here’s how it goes.  I’ll be going along just fine, feeling like I’m getting mentally strong, focusing on all the right things.  Being positive, happy and then BAM, I’m sliding headfirst into a downward spiral of guilt, shame, blame, doubt and sadness.  What the???  Seriously, how did that happen?  My conclusion, quicksand.

At first it starts with one little, innocent, thought.   Maybe thinking about how I could have done something differently – ya know, for the sake of learning more about myself, making better future decisions.  That’s certainly ok, healthy even. And that little bit of sand on my toes, eh, just brush it off. Next I’m thinking, well if I could have done that, maybe the situation would have taken a different path, hmmm…maybe I messed that part up.  Sandier… Oh geez, maybe I wasn’t giving my best there, maybe I contributed more to the problem than I thought…I failed. Now I’m getting stuck. I can still get out of the quicksand, but it’s slippery.  Next thing I know…my mind has hit the banana peel, and I’m sliding into the quicksand, not only did I fail, I’m too much work, or I’m not enough, or I’m questioning my worth, looking for how I can fix the unfixable situation. Stuck, that’s what I am, crap, and very, very sandy.

Sometimes the slide into the quicksand is slow, sneaks up on me until I’m submerged.  Other times, it’s like a snow snake.  What’s a snow snake? I learned to ski when I was about 4 years old and remember my Dad talking about snow snakes.  It’s the snow snake that will all of a sudden jump out and grab your ski so you fall unexpectedly. You’re going along, minding your own business and WHAM, snow snake, you’re down…you’re face first on the snow, you’re at the bottom of the quicksand and not even sure how you got there.

The thing is, I’m learning that I have a choice. It’s like I test my luck with the quicksand, think I’m strong than it.  It’s ok to let my mind wander to the danger zone in thought land I think, but the problem is it doesn’t stop there. In my case, it’s a specific situation that keeps coming to mind that pulls me down.  I know it’s not the situation’s fault, I allow my mind to go there. To replay, to recreate, to fix, to mend.  But I also know that replaying and recreating doesn’t change anything and I can’t fix or mend it.  I want to, but I can’t, man I really want to, I even want to write that I can’t – right now – but even that’s not true.  All I can fix is me, no one else. So what I have to do is change my thoughts about it, look at it like drifting sand.  It may brush up against me but let it go by.  Letting myself become engulfed by the sand storm, the quicksand, is really a choice.  I can choose to let it pass and not fall into it because it doesn’t do any good, all it does is get me stuck.  What I can do is make choices about going forward.  Focus on where I’m heading, focus on being the best version of me that I can be.  Easier said than done, but getting stuck rips me off of the life God has for me.  That’s the ultimate goal.  So today, even though I’m faced with lingering thoughts that could pull me into the sand, I’ll let them pass. It’s my choice, and I may have to make it over and over but eventually, I won’t have to anymore.

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