Friday, June 06, 2008

Our thoughts matter!

As you know, I try to start my mornings outside with my binoculars, my bird book, my devotional books, and my Bible. Often the thoughts from the books work together to remind me of some important truths that relate to what is going on in my life right now.

My readings today:
Mary Engelbreit, Just Be Happy!

If you observe a really happy man, you will find . . that he is happy in the course of living life twenty four crowded hours of each day.

“We are what we think.
All that we are arises
With our thoughts.
With our thoughts,
We make our world.”
-- The Buddha

From Grace Notes by Alexandra Stoddard:

Inaction snaps the vigor of the mind . . .:
Leonardo da Vinci

Nothing makes one more tired than just sitting around purposelessly. That's quite different from sittig in solitude when we can daydream in peace and then spring into action. Our minds need to be occupied not to feel sluggish.

Often unrelated actions or thoughts trigger concentration. Something kicks in, like an electrical charger. The mind is an amazing electrical appliance. Plug it in and it goes.

From a few days ago in Nancy Rotenberg's Photography and the Creative Life:
"Television, artificial ingredients, polyester, and email to mention a few, can all narcotize creativity and immobilize any artist. Consider limiting these benumbing environments."

I have always believed that what we say to ourselves matters. If we tell ourselves that we can do something, we probably will be able to do it. If we tell ourselves that something is impossible, that we can't do it, that often becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Many years ago when I was a girl in Girl Scouts, my troop leader had a saying: "Can't can't do anything but fall in a bucket of paint." Needless to say, we were not allowed to say "I can't do it - it's too hard, " in Girl Scouts.

Now obviously, it won't work if I tell myself I can jump off a cliff and fly, but I think we often contribute to our failures by negative thinking. I also think that we have some measure of control over our attitudes.

Lately, I've found myself being pessimistic. I know I'm not getting everything done that "needs" to be done. I've also found myself doing the kinds of mind numbing things that Nancy talks about - checking my email too frequently, browsing websites repeatedly during the day, playing cute but repetitive internet games. Plus, there have been legitimate things to grieve over, things that are unlikely to get better. But I don't want to live my life as a pessimist. I want to cultivate positive attitudes. I want to be a "can do" person. Today's readings were certainly helpful to me.

Further research on the internet (for this blog) brought these gems:

“We become what we think about.”
-- Earl Nightingale

“Our lives are defined by our convictions of who we are.”
-- Anthony Robbins

“Man is what he believes.”
-- Anton Chekhov

"Dwell in thought upon the grandest,
And the grandest you shall see;
Fix your mind upon the highest,
And the highest you shall be.''

Christian minister, Norman Vincent Peale, wrote The Power of Positive Thinking, an entire book and built his ministry around the benefits of being positive and upbeat.

Going to the scriptures validated this line of thought:

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he , , ,
Proverbs 23:7 (King James Version)

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ . . .
2 Corinthians 10:5

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things . . .
Philippians 4:8,9


I want to be remembered as someone who is cheerful, fun to be around, and capable. I don't want to be remembered as a pessimist, a grouch, or a negative person. I believe I have a choice and I choose joy!

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