Hello folks. Today let’s dispel another mental issue. We’ve done a pretty good job with anxiety so far… Hey, not bad for your average Friday in January! Here we go… People say all the time, “I have OCD” (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Some of them simply mean that they’re really uptight or particular about how things are, while others are more serious about it and even have an official diagnosis. Well, I have good news… Regardless of which camp you’re in, I’m pretty sure that you don’t have OCD. In fact, I’m pretty sure that nobody has OCD, and that there is no OCD. And this is great news! Is there a pattern? Yes. Is there a disease I’m born with and cannot change? No. Most of us have this pattern to some degree; it’s just how much. Now, I’m not saying that you don’t have some conditioned behaviors, even very persistent, intense, life changing ones. But I don’t think that anybody is born with a “disorder,” like it’s a disease of the body or something. I’m pretty sure that does not exist. And we can be very thankful for that. It’s all created by our thinking, and we can practice changing that. YAY!!!
Let me tell you a little story. You see, some of my good friends in high jokingly started calling me “slide rule” because I can be very, um, meticulous. It wasn’t my main nickname or anything (that was “Ace” – just kidding), but just a funny little thing. And I’ve since chilled out a lot on this. Which is saying a lot, because it can still be there quite a bit. And so I continue to work on that. Wait, not work… I continue to play with that. There, that feels much better. So I was talking to my mom one day and she informed me that if my stuffed animals weren’t in the perfect order – when I was still in the crib – then I’d throw a fit. Yowzers! So I came in with this pattern. My brothers were not like that. They might have their patterns or not, but this was one of mine. But it’s just a pattern. And that’s totally different than our notion of a disorder. So I’ve simply been practicing being more relaxed ever since I became aware of this pattern. No big deal.
Some people are pretty extreme, and they count things all the time. Or they have to do such and such an even number of times. This could be when they’re brushing their teeth or washing dishes or anything random like that. Some people can’t step on a crack on the sidewalk. There are infinite variations, but here’s the deal. It’s all a creation, and it’s your creation. None of it is real. I sure know that it seems real, though! I had a young teenage client once that was like this, and after a while it surfaced in my memory that I used to do some of the same things that he was doing. Like stepping on a crack on the sidewalk. Or maybe it was the division between consecutive segments of cement that were made when they laid it. There’s one of these lines every four feet or so, and I can’t step on one. Wait – yes I can!! Nobody cares except me. At some point I outgrew this and forgot all about it. Until that client came in. And even then, it was after he had left after the second session or so that I remembered he was just like me. But it was a big deal when I was younger and was doing this. But… it’s still a fact that it was still something I had created out of thin air. It was anything but real. Real to me at the time? Absolutely. But not absolutely real. As in, real to everyone, all the time. Period. It was never that, and that’s very, very good news.
I got to thinking about this recently and thought it would be a helpful topic to write about. And then last weekend I made my annual January pilgrimage to the Foley, AL outlet mall to get some new threads. And a woman at one of the stores was folding some shirts that I had purchased. She made the comment that she just can’t stand for them to not look nice and folded when they’re placed in the bag for the customer to leave with. I told her that’s awesome, but I don’t mind because my car is right there and I’m just going to wash them anyway. But she insisted and said something about being OCD. And I said that’s fine – if that’s your joy then that’s absolutely beautiful. Thank you. But I made a comment like, “As long as you’re at peace” or something like that. And don’t worry, it was natural and smooth and loving. I wasn’t trying to be Counselor Guy that has to heal everyone he meets, ha. But it was an important message. You see, if you’re counting things all the time or avoiding cracks in the sidewalk or constantly doing this or that, then as long as you’re relaxed, loving yourself, at peace, and fully understanding that you’re playing with your own creation, playing your own game, and choosing to do so, then what’s the problem? It’s just that the vast majority of people acting this way are totally contracted and totally unconscious. They’re victims of this thing that they have to do. Nope. These compulsions are ruling them rather than the other way around. And the other way around is that they’re in charge, playing with their creations, totally at peace and in their joy. Can you feel the different quality? One is peace and the other is contraction. And many folks are very, very contracted around this!
So when you think of this flavor in you, whether it’s big or small, just invite relaxation and love to the whole thing. In fact, feel free to pause, close your eyes, and take a breath of this right now, wherever you are. Ahh, that feels nice. The body is relaxing and opening up. I’m feeling my innocence. Now consider that there might actually be some choice in the matter. It can feel weird and even VERY difficult to start to break these habits and behaviors, but stay in the breath and out of judgment and just relax into them. Thinking is not really involved – just watch the whole thing. Keep a relaxed body and love yourself for playing with this pattern instead of being an unconscious robot. And you are totally free to be an unconscious robot, too! Most of us have been there and done that, though, and we’re waking up now. So happy practicing, happy relaxing, happy choosing, and as always, let me know if I can help! And share this with your friends and family that could benefit. They really can relax with practice! True story. Share it in a nice way, though. I can help you with that, too 🙂 Peace out!