calm in the mental storm
By Nina Rubin

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m shaking my head at myself today, and this week, wondering “Why do I make things so complicated?”

I can’t be the only person who questions why things are the way they are, hopes to drastically change them, hems and haws over my choices, weighs the pros and cons, and then second guesses myself.

Why do I do this?!

Why do my friends and clients do this? What is it about human nature that complicates simple ideas? And then, once complication occurs, I become sad or frustrated, and can’t seem to remember how to simplify again.

Why am I obsessing over what happened earlier in the week? It can be a conversation, a failure, even a success, and I ruminate and get into spiral thinking. Lately I have been waking up in the middle of the night with anxiety or dread and think all of these same, fast, tumultuous, and unproductive thoughts again. When I wake up in the morning, I feel fatigued and cloudy.

Throughout the day, I work with clients, write this blog, try new recipes, study, exercise and things suddenly get all better. Is it because I’m busy? Am I distracted? No, the opposite. I think it’s because I’m focused. Why is that? I think back to my meditation class, my Gestalt teachers, my inner voice, and remember that I don’t have to do this to myself.

I’m dragging myself down contemplating all this crap.

And yes, it is crap! Nothing needs to be this complex, this complicated.

I’m not sending someone into the stratosphere, rather, I’m simply trying to live my life on a Friday. This is not particle physics, it’s my easy, happy-go-lucky nut butter and coaching life in sunny Southern California. It would make sense if I were producing a solution to the Middle East intifada or the Baltimore riots, but I’m not.  (This may be a call to action to me, however, to start giving myself more time to think about these important issues rather than angst-y, rumination-oriented, cyclical thinking.)

Instead, I’ve been thinking about love and my future and not wanting to “end up alone” and all the drama that women and men habitually get twisted up over.

When I actually talk it out, there’s not a problem.

The complexity occurs when I’m stuck in my head. The same thing happens to my clients — when they allow themselves to revisit old patterns, their brains play the same games. So, how do I teach them, and myself, to STOP creating havoc and relax?

How can I demonstrate simplicity?

Well, I start with my breath and focus on what really is. I look at the facts, not fiction, not how I want it to be, not how it should have been, but really what is in front of me and take that head on. Then, I breathe in and out again. I may notice five sounds, five red objects and ground myself to the present moment.

Life gets complicated when I’m sad about the past and nervous about the future. When I’m here, now (aka the PRESENT) things are really a-okay.  I remind myself to listen to my own soft voice that is wise and honest. It’s never that hard! I make it so much more difficult than it has to be! Suddenly, as I write this, I’m once again shaking my head at myself and thinking, “Oh yeah, I needed this.”

I needed to read and write this as much for myself as for my clients and friends!


nina rubinNina Rubin, M.A., is a native New Mexican living in Southern California. Coming from a long line of entrepreneurs, she runs her own Gestalt Life Coaching practice and is starting a food company called The Gourmet Therapist. Originally trained as a Gestalt Psychotherapist, Nina practices as a Gestalt Life Coach working relationally with clients in the present moment. Helping clients gain insight and awareness, identify their needs and create action plans to achieve their goals is her primary focus. An avid cook and baker, she is constantly trying new recipes and looks forward to hosting a breakfast pop-up restaurant. Having flirted with the idea of writing for many years, Nina writes for her blog, Afterdefeat. She is always trying something new or connecting with dear friends and can be found at Sunday meditation sanghas, yoga classes, playing scrabble, and hosting dinner parties. To learn more about working with her, visit Coaching by Nina Rubin



Editor: Ty H Phillips

Photo: (source)