Mental Weeding

I’ve gotten pretty good at nipping nasty thoughts in the bud lately. I found out the name of one of my ex’s new girlfriends and instantly had the impulse to dwell on her. What did she have that I don’t? Is she hot? Is she skinny? What do they say to each other in bed at night? And on.

My ability to make connections is a strength. I can read a news article today and make a connection to a line of code I wrote nine years ago. My mental filing system is impeccable. When I can’t call something up immediately, I get a little nervous. For this reason, I never stopped myself from dwelling on any kind of thought at any time. With this girl, it scares me a little to have her name pop up, then stop myself from next recalling every other tiny detail I know about her. I’m stopping it at her last name even. And it’s getting easier every time it comes up. I couldn’t tell you what her last name is now – there’s a Z in there maybe somewhere?

There is a part of me scared to lose one of my biggest strengths. Either I will actually lose that ability or I will be able to compartmentalize what I file and recall. Or not. In the first case, say I do lose the ability completely. I have to trust that I have other strengths. Something other skill might even develop to take its place – that’s kind of a nice possibility, actually. Or maybe I’ll be able to control what thoughts I connect and what I choose to let go.

If I have to sacrifice an intellectual skill to be happy and at peace, I’m okay with that too.

When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people.

~Abraham Joshua Heschel


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