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Shooting Ducks on the Midway September 12, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Mindfulness, Spirit & Ego.


Ego (the false self, the illusionist, the imposter, the story-teller) will do anything to keep us off balance.

Ego knows that, as long as we’re struggling against the roiling waves and brush fires it creates, we will be too busy to toss him overboard (or fight fire with fire).

Ego wants to live long enough to create conflict another day.

Once we “wake up” and see that we are not the thoughts we think, the stormy seas left in Ego’s wake dissipate.

Donald-Duck-LazyI am not the thoughts I think.
My thoughts are not “me.”

I am the silent observer of thoughts that arise.
The detached witness.

I can identify with the thoughts Ego tosses at me.
Or allow them to drift away.

When we practice mindfulness, we no longer believe all the thoughts we think.

Instead, our authentic self  (the still silent observer) watches the ticker-tape parade of thoughts that pop up in rapid-fire succession (like those revolving ducks at the shooting gallery on the midway).

Donald-DirectorAs we watch, our awareness of our internal landscape improves, as does our aim.  We get better at shooting toxic thoughts down as soon as they pop up.

Instead of being thrown off balance by non-productive thoughts, we watch Ego’s ineffectual attempts to “stir the pot” with detached amusement.

We see that Ego is just a big fat QUACK!

Aah . . . that’s better!


1. suzicate - September 12, 2014

I think mindfulness is necessary for peace, and we all know ego doesn’t want anything to do with peace.

nrhatch - September 12, 2014

Exactly. Ego feels most “alive” (like a “real” boy) when it causes us to over-react to the world around us, instead of mindfully accepting the “what is” as it is.

Anger management issues = Ego management issues. 😎

2. Jill Weatherholt - September 12, 2014

I’ve worked with my fair share of FAT Egos…it’s the worst!

nrhatch - September 12, 2014

You betcha. I had a schizophrenic boss once. If she received compliments and praise (even unwarranted), she purred.

If people were “straight with her,” she hissed and scratched.

3. Val Boyko - September 12, 2014

Mantra for today:
I am not my thoughts or my quacks!
Thanks for this Nancy.
Val x

nrhatch - September 12, 2014

Good luck today, Val. Hope you don’t run into any QUACKS.

Val Boyko - September 12, 2014

Thanks Nancy!
May I borrow your metaphor? So good for introducing the idea that we are not what we perceive!

The image of a roaring fire will not warm shivering bones.
The image of a glass of water will not quench our thirst.
The image of ourselves as “unworthy” (or “sad”) is no more real.

nrhatch - September 12, 2014

Absolutely. The more people you can “wake up,” the better.

4. In the Stillness of Willow Hill - September 12, 2014

The ego ducks in my gallery this week once again whispered “unworthy” and “separate”. Silly quackers! I know this trick.

nrhatch - September 12, 2014

The Ego is a Trickster. Once we see past his tricks, we are no longer able to be fooled into buying his nonsense.

The image of a roaring fire will not warm shivering bones.
The image of a glass of water will not quench our thirst.
The image of ourselves as “unworthy” (or “sad”) is no more real.

5. Rainee - September 12, 2014

Great post Nancy. I shared it on my Facebook page 🙂

nrhatch - September 12, 2014

Thanks, Rainee. Glad it resonated with you.

6. Silver in the Barn - September 12, 2014

Speaking of great titles…..love that allusion.

nrhatch - September 12, 2014

Thanks, Barbara. This image came to mind while responding to one of NT’s stellar posts this week in her series on increased awareness and perspective.

Once we begin to see through Ego’s tricks, its QUACKS begin to fall on deaf ears.

7. NancyTex - September 12, 2014

When you shared these thoughts with me earlier in the week, it helped me let go of a lot of guilt. Thank you for that, and this!

nrhatch - September 12, 2014

I’m glad, NT. Your post helped solidify “my” thoughts on the matter. 😉

Many of us have felt guilt for thoughts we’ve thunk, even stale thoughts which exist only in the dim dark recesses of times past. Realizing that those thoughts are not “us” paves the way for letting go of them AND any accompanying guilt, shame, fear, etc.


NancyTex - September 12, 2014

Amen to that, my sister of the same name.

nrhatch - September 12, 2014

Rock on! :mrgreen:

8. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - September 12, 2014

I’m working on mindful thinking – it is amazing!

nrhatch - September 12, 2014

It is amazing, Kate.

The first time I tuned in to mindfully observe thoughts arising, I was astounded at how “busy” my mind was when left on “auto-pilot.” I watched the endless stream of “monkey chatter” in horrified fascination ~ amazed at how “wrong” many of the thoughts were, especially those couched in “always/never” lingo.

I also watched in dismay as a single negative thought would take on a life of its own ~> “I can’t believe that driver cut me off. What a jerk. People like that shouldn’t be allowed to drive. Where’s a cop when you need one? I can’t wait to tell Sharon about this. Just last week, she . . .”

The more mindful we become, the better our thoughts behave. They start to slow down and get more “real.” They stop talking just to hear themselves talk.

Best of all, increased awareness allows us to see that we are NOT the thoughts we think. We are back in the driver’s seat.

Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - September 12, 2014

I very much have a monkey brain and one where a single thought leads to a horrible train of thoughts! It is nice to sometimes be in the drivers seat of my own brain!

nrhatch - September 12, 2014

The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master!

9. Pix Under the Oaks - September 12, 2014

I like your #8 comment to Kate!
Good Morning Nancy!

nrhatch - September 12, 2014

ZEN . . . and the Art of Living! _/!\_

10. Judson - September 12, 2014

As a late-blooming performing musician and songwriter, I frequently find myself faced with self-esteem issues. I must have some level of ego just to assume that anyone would be willing to pay me to play, or even want to sit and listen to me.

Naturally, when I put myself out there for critical review, I’m always very hopeful that I’ll receive praise and sensitive to potential for negative input.

Praise can be gratifying and negative input though frequently constructive, can be sort of soul crushing. Obviously, I’m concerned with what others think, but I can’t say for sure whether it’s ego-driven or not.

nrhatch - September 12, 2014

There are two types of performers ~ those who play to GIVE and those who play to GET.

When you’re focused on GIVING pleasure and joy to others, the Ego takes a back seat because we are less concerned with what “they” think of us and more focused on whether we did our best.

As a result, everyone enjoys the performance more! Ole!

In contrast, when we’re performing solely to GET applause, accolades, acknowledgement, etc., it is easy for Ego to rattle our cage because we are using an EXTERNAL barometer to measure our success/progress. We oscillate back and forth from feeling GREAT to feeling TERRIBLE based on the reviews we receive. It’s tiring to be at the mercy/whim of the opinions of others when we have no control over what “they” think about us ~> especially if we’re stuck playing to the wrong crowd.

If you’re not where you want to be on the continuum, try switching your focus from GETTING (external reference point) to GIVING (internal reference point).

nrhatch - September 12, 2014

A quote to consider:

“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.” ~ Pride & Prejudice, ch. 5

11. colonialist - September 12, 2014

Upsets the ‘cogito’ thing a bit! ‘I think wrongly; therefore it am not I!’

nrhatch - September 12, 2014

“I am mindful, therefore I am.”

Or, perhaps . . . “I am mindful, therefor I am not sucker punched by the Ego every 15 seconds when he’s bouncing back and forth between, “they love me!” . . . “they hate me!” 😛

colonialist - September 12, 2014

Or even: I am in control of my thoughts. therefore I am the true me.’

nrhatch - September 12, 2014

Here’s to unseating Ego and taking back the reins!

12. jannatwrites - September 12, 2014

I was never good at the duck-shooting midway game… hope my aim is better with ego and toxic thoughts.

nrhatch - September 12, 2014

Haha! Since writing this post, I’ve wanted to find myself on a midway with a gun in my hand and metal ducks in the scope.

“Let me at ’em before I QUACK up!” :mrgreen:

13. ericjbaker - September 12, 2014

Like you’ve said in the past, Ego is always looking for a bigger high, so what satisfies today will disappoint tomorrow.

nrhatch - September 12, 2014

Yes! Greedy and Needy. And never fully satisfied. :mrgreen:

14. Grannymar - September 13, 2014

Great post to come back to, Nancy, after my holiday with family and away from the laptop. I am feeling refreshed and energised to make some changes at home. I need to work out a timetable to include my blogging friends!

nrhatch - September 13, 2014

Glad you had a wonderful time with your family, GM. Sometimes a change does us good.

15. diannegray - September 13, 2014

I find it’s easier to deal with those who throw their big fat egos at you if you keep yours under wrap! Sometimes life is like a zoo and we need a sign saying ‘please don’t feed the egos’ 😀

nrhatch - September 13, 2014

Yes! Two Egos together are like Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee battling it out. I did a post along those lines once ~ “Please Don’t Feed The Egos.”

16. Three Well Beings - September 18, 2014

I like the comment that with mindfulness we no longer believe all thoughts we think. Isn’t that a relief! Ego is definitely the illusionist! I can use the reminder. 🙂

nrhatch - September 18, 2014

I love collecting quotes that remind me at a glance:

“The what is . . . IS.”
“You are not the thoughts you think. Your thoughts are not you.”

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