Winter Wonderland

This post is by our guest blogger and A Little Peace of Mind graduate, Amie Joof.

Here Amie shares her story of change…..

I experienced my first trip to Winter Wonderland this weekend. I had so many thoughts and feelings about it, but overall I felt really excited. It was over an hours drive, during the evening time and I had just gone for dinner with my family for my nephews 13th birthday a few hours earlier, I felt quite tired, but I was alright with that. My sister felt absolutely awful because she went to her works Christmas party the night before, but she wasn’t scared or worried about the fact that she was tired, neither of us were. In fact we kept laughing and saying how much we couldn’t wait to sleep when we got in. Without over thinking the tiredness, we listened to a few songs on the way and then wisdom did what it does best and we both drifted off to sleep for the rest of the journey.

When we woke up we had arrived, I felt butterflies in my stomach, it was the exact same feeling as when I used to feel anxious before going places, yet it was also the exact same feeling as being 10 and being so excited to go on stage for my Christmas plays at school. The feeling was familiar but yet it held so many different “meanings” (the ones I had attached to it). I thought about this for a minute or so and I thought, wait, do I feel anxious or excited? I can’t tell why my tummy feels like this! Then another thought came, it doesn’t actually really matter, in fact I’m sure whatever I think it is, it’ll be that. So in reality, it’s neither. If that makes sense.

After a few minutes, like it always does, the thought changed and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Winter Wonderland looked so beautiful, I had so many thoughts and feelings just passing me by one at a time, some all at once, happy, intrigued, excited, grateful. I looked to my sister who seemed to be having a very similar experience to me, and then I looked to our cousin who looked neutral about it. She shrugged her shoulders and said, “It’s alright, I thought it’d be better.” I couldn’t believe what she was saying, I asked her if she was joking. How could we both be looking at this beautiful place but yet having SUCH different experiences? That’s how real thought looks in the moment.

After a while, it started to get really packed, like uncomfortably packed. My sister couldn’t stop laughing, she thought it was so funny and my cousin felt anxious about it being too crowded. I felt really annoyed because I couldn’t see anything and I felt like I was missing rides and game stools! I looked around me and I couldn’t believe that me, Amie, the girl who could not possibly leave her house before, was in a HUGE crowd and was not anxious. Not. One. Bit. I also couldn’t believe how unbelievably true it is that we are never, ever affected by our circumstances, it’s only ever the thoughts about them that we are taking way too seriously. If at any point me and my cousin could have magically switched thoughts, we’d be having completely different experiences.

We literally live in a world where we see and feel whatever we believe in the moment. If I believe a thought that I should be anxious, I’ll be anxious. It’s that simple. Luckily, thanks to Nicola teaching me this understanding, I don’t take my thoughts as seriously as I used to, and as a result, my whole entire world has changed.