Monday, June 21, 2010

What if…#1

Friends often tell me that I should write down some of the zany things that emanate from my mind. So when I got a note under my office door from Betsy, inviting me to write for this new hometown newspaper, my first reaction was YES!!

Then of course that old voice of self-doubt in my head, we can call her Mabel, had to start up as she does when I think about doing something fun and risky. That old girl started whispering in my inner ear…”what if you are not really that good a writer, and besides that, who do you think cares what you think”. I won’t bore you with the details because as far as I can tell, you already are quite familiar with this phenomenon.

So I called Betsy, to see what this new thing was all about and she said it is an online newspaper. My column would not have to fit into a framework of inches. Good, no math! Then I noticed that doubting Mabel was quieter? Maybe she remembers all those years of writing in school and getting papers back graded and marked with red ink. No paper, no red ink, no grade….confounded that Mabel. She’s not so good with computer stuff. And one more plus, no paper. I have enough newspapers lying around my house to start my wood stove for at least 2 years!

So I began to think about how I would do it if I were to say yes, which I sort of already had.

I thought about calling it “Reframing your Life.” But I had more of a lighthearted picture than a serious psychological bent. So I rejected that. Too preachy anyway.

I needed an overarching theme, an umbrella that would allow me to bring in all sorts of things seemingly unrelated… could I do that? I began to mull it over as I went on with my day.

Later, I was driving to a great little gift shop to find a birthday gift for a friend, and on the way I thought I could call it “What if…..”. In each column I could propose a new way we could look at something. Sort of a “try this idea on for size” theme.

As I was mulling over this and starting to like the possibilities, I walked into the little store and began looking around. I found a great pair of earrings, not too expensive in her favorite color, for my friend, and as I was paying, I noticed a box of those slogan buttons that some people who are passionate about causes wear all over their hats. I am sure they are related to the folks who have bumper stickers all over their cars. I dug into the box and randomly picked one up. It said “What if the hokey pokey IS what it’s all about?”

Whoa. Did that just happen? I picked up a button with a “what if”? So, what if the universe gives us signs, little nudges to guide us? And what if that button was a sign that I was on the right track with my “what if….” idea? Maybe this is magical thinking but whimsy is nice sometimes. So here I am taking the leap into cyber-news columning and trusting my mind (gulp).

Here is my first “what if”:

What if you can trust your mind? What if your mind (and mine too) is just as ordinarily brilliant as any mind that ever was, comparable to what we call the great thinkers. What if your unique thoughts about life and the world are interesting and important? What if the difference between most of us and those great thinkers is that we don’t think anyone wants to hear our deepest thoughts so we keep most of them to ourselves? And those others, well they think their ideas are important and they tell lots of folks. Zany, I know.

So, try this on for size: Ask someone to exchange time with you, so you can tell them something you have been thinking about. Just maybe five or ten minutes each. Talk about something you have been thinking about. Something ordinary or extraordinary, something spiritual or mundane, something funny or serious, an old story you can’t help but remember for some reason. Try on the possibility that what you think matters. And then, ask them to tell you something they have been thinking about. Anything. And just listen, no debate, just watching each others’ wonderful minds go, pouring a little of the great well of unexpressed thoughts out into the space between you.

I am taking my own advice first (seems like basic wisdom) by trusting my mind with the zany idea that someone, somewhere (you in particular) just might find these spewings somehow, somewhat interesting! And I look forward to hearing your spewings back. We’ll talk about the hokey pokey later.

Emmy Rainwalker is a child, adult and family counselor with offices in Ashburnham and Watertown, Massachusetts. You can contact her through her website at

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