Weeding The Garden
A few mornings ago it was cool enough to warrant a sweatshirt and I’ve worn it every morning since. It would seem the shift from summer to fall has begun in earnest. You can feel it in the air and, for some of us, the stress levels.
Does this time of year get you excited or leave you feeling a little sad, mourning the last of the hot, long summer days?
For me it used to be sadness, dreading the thought of shorter days and colder temperatures. But then I’d think of sweaters and leaves changing, fall colors, a slower pace, more time with friends and family, cozy fires, the holidays. And just like that- my sadness turns to delight.
All it took was a change in focus.
Focus is powerful. What we choose to fixate on or give the bulk of our attention to in a matter has enormous ability to affect how we approach it and our attitudes around it.
In other words, we can choose whether we’re excited or sad about something by making an active choice about what parts of it we focus on. That’s a big deal!
Look, I’m not saying it's always easy. I’m not even saying that sadness (or grief or frustration or anger) is always something to be avoided. We all get upset, angry, or sad sometimes. That’s okay.
I’m simply saying that what we focus on is what we see, so it bears a little thought and consideration.
The ever-inspiring Gandhi once said:
This is big stuff.
Think of your mental landscape as a garden. In that garden, your thoughts are seeds. How you nourish and nurture each one determines whether it will grow and flourish or wither and die, and this will determine what your mental garden is made of.
Some thoughts are the seeds of beautiful ideas and a happy life ready to bloom. Some thoughts are the seeds of invasive weed-thoughts, ready to take up the space and energy those beautiful ideas need to flourish. Which ones do you want to water and tend?
The thing is, weeds are sort of automatic. We don’t have to work at growing them- they just show up uninvited and, left unattended, take over the entire garden. Let enough weed-thoughts grow and it becomes a major b%#ch to pull them all out so that a happy life can grow.
Weeds are also a bit inevitable. Even the best tended gardens have one sprout up now and again. But a conscientious gardener knows this and keeps an eye out so that they can pluck it out right away, making sure it has minimal time to take root, to steal energy from the intentionally planted beauties.
Know what thoughts you want to cultivate in your mental garden and keep an eye out for the weed-thoughts that are constantly trying to invade so that you can pluck them out as soon as they sprout.
Here’s an example: this morning I caught myself thinking that my legs were tired and maybe I should skip my planned workout. When I realized where my thoughts were leading, I paused and thought about whether that was true or whether I was looking for an excuse to sleep in. I reminded myself of my goals, of the many mornings of dedication I’ve put in toward those goals. I thought about how it feels when I know I’ve kept a promise to myself and when I begin my day with intention and purpose. And I plucked out that thought that wanted to slow me down and sap energy from my goals and instead laced up my shoes and got down to business.
It all comes down to making a choice about what we want to focus on.
Try it out.
Then leave me a comment and tell me about it!
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