rock formation at New Mexico

Being autistic, my mind will sometimes fixate on an idea. In rare cases, my mind can focus on an idea for several hours, but usually it’s only for an hour or two at a time (I realize that’s still intense, but that’s how I work).

So it’s very important to me that the ideas I DO fixate on are positive ones. Because if I allow myself to get upset about something (like Trump, or my neighbors, or the legendarily bad D&D player from my comic shop known as “Doc”), my mind will be stuck on it for three or four hours at a time and completely ruin whatever momentum I have going on outside of me.

So whenever I find I need to calm down and find something else for my mind to cling to, I think of my two mantras.

I only have two. Some people may have one, or several, but two is all I need. I often only need to say one of them, depending on what’s happening. They are…

I have had many difficulties. Most of them have never happened.

And…

One at a time.

I realize these aren’t in Sanskrit, but they’re still effective for me.

Now let me explain the first one.

“I have had many difficulties. Most of them have never happened.” I picked this one up from an episode about manifesting on Marie Forleo’s channel (highly recommended, you can check it out here). Manifesting is a whole other bag they address in the video, but this mantra I picked up has a bit to do with the concept: that when your mind focuses on an idea, eventually the idea becomes a reality. “If I don’t make it to this meeting, the deal won’t come through,” or “If I practice everyday, by the end of the week I can draw horses better.” Stuff like that.

Unfortunately it’s easy for our minds to come up with worst-case scenarios. My mind in particular will find an idea (last time it was having to talk with a Trump supporter) and spin an entire hypothetical story of what could happen, what I would say, what the other person would say, etc.

Times like that, I use this mantra. “I have had many difficulties. Most of them have never happened.” Because it’s important for me (especially) to know when a situation is reality and when it’s just a scenario in my head. And when I realize, “Oh. That scenario was just something mental. It’s not happening outside of me, in the real world, right now,” I can get back to the stuff that matters.

“One at a time” is straightforward, but important for me because I can get overwhelmed. Working two jobs and being freelance will do that sometimes.

It’s extremely important to remember that I can’t do everything all at once (and besides, you shouldn’t – people are actually less productive when they multi-task). As it happens often, too, not everything can be done in one day.

And not just with work – I use this mantra with everything from making art to remembering how change happens on a scale larger than myself.

One at a time.

Do you have any mantras of your own? Let me know in a comment below.

Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.