“Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself”.

When I was a young mother of twenty-three, I visited my grand-mother with my new son, her great grandson, in Pinehurst, North Carolina. I had such distinct memories of being a girl in her home that were shrouded in a subtle sense of living ghosts and the smell of pines. My grand-mother was gorgeous at ninety-eight with sparkling aqua eyes, clear and freckled skin, all her teeth, a forthright posture, a crystal mind and lovely natural waves in her hair. One evening while we were resting in old, comfy chairs after dinner, she pulled out Norman Peale’s book, The Power Of Positive Thinking, from a drawer. She held this book close to her heart, then told me it was her bible. She began to share memories of global atrocities she had experienced during her life, and energetically expounded how she refused to let these negative experiences dampen her spirit. She preached with vigorous authority upon the power of positive thinking. Later in the year, she sent me a copy of this book for my birthday. I perused through it on occasion, but it was years later before I actually read it. I suppose I was too young to be scrutinizing my thoughts. I was busy living a life that felt full of hope and adventure, a life that had yet to challenge me with suffering and threaten the ease of thinking good thoughts.

As we age and move through life, most of us endure and witness the unthinkable: a marriage ends which we thought would last forever, a best friend gets sick and dies, terrorists and even young people commit acts of darkness that shock and haunt us. It can become a real challenge to remain positive. I had a wonderful yellow Labrador dog who was hit by a car, and the driver kept going. An elderly woman behind him stopped, wrapped my dog in a blanket and called me. My dog died the next morning. A few days later this woman came to my door wanting to know if my dog had survived. I told her no, then she looked at me sternly and said, ” All the challenges life gives us comes with an opportunity. Sad, hard and terrible things happen in this life, and all we have is the choice of how we respond. Please think only good thoughts about your dog, bless her and let her go else you will drown in your sorrow. You still have a life to live”. I will never forget her words.

Our thoughts follow what we perceive through our senses. If what we sense feels good, positive, reassuring, our thoughts will reflect those sensations. If what we are sensing feels sad, uncomfortable, fearful, our thoughts will follow these vibrations. And these vibrations, whether good or bad, will filter down from our thoughts into the cells of our body. As children, many of these vibrations find their way down deep into the subconscious where they make a permanent home. They become ghosts in the closet we have to clean out later in life. Though we are all sponges for the world around us, children are not yet able to filter out what they do not want. It is our responsibility as adults to protect and ensure children are exposed to good vibrations. Every moment, every day, no matter our age, we are energetically responding to our environment with our senses. As we age, we have the capacity to filter and sort all these incoming messages. In this modern world, there is a lot of sifting to be done. Each of us will handle this sorting differently. Some of us stay consistently distracted because our feelings are overwhelming, and we cannot slow down long enough to feel them. Some of us do the opposite with a total immersion into our feelings, some get lost there, some manage to navigate. The secret to feeling our feelings is to stop, stop everything. We go sit somewhere quiet and become quiet. We allow these sensations to enter in, and we move with them like riding a wave. We wait for the messages they bring, like the dragonfly on the stalk waiting for its wings to appear.

However we eventually process our feelings, our sensations of life, is what will energize our thoughts. We can go about our daily lives, month after month, without ever realizing our sensations are creating our perceptions about life that are resulting in our thoughts, and thus creating our reality. When we wake up one day, and we are not where we want to be in life, it is time to stop…and go inside. Sometimes we do not have a choice with what life brings to us. Sometimes we end up on our knees. No matter how we finally get there, the journey inside has gifts for us. The answers we seek are waiting there. We find what we believe, we find out how we feel, we witness our thoughts. We discover we can change our thoughts, and thus our reality. We discover our sensitivity, we realize our uniqueness, we embrace our gifts. The journey inside is sacred. We find the grace and wisdom to become the gardener of our own feelings and thoughts.

It all comes down to choice…the good thoughts or the bad thoughts, the joy or the suffering, the red pill or the blue pill. The good thoughts and the joy will come from understanding how we are perceiving the world with our senses. If our sensations about life are positive, we will choose to energize positive thoughts. Thinking good thoughts comes from feeling good feelings. The mind does not hold all the power nor does it operate solo. We cannot just tell ourselves to think good thoughts, and expect them to last if we feel bad. We have to genuinely feel good about life to have good thoughts. Sometimes we have to turn the mind off to really know what we are feeling. I had a mantra once that I chanted both aloud and silently for a very long time, “There is nowhere to go, nothing to do”. It took months before my mind would respond to these words with resting instead of resisting. In time, my mind grew restful so my heart could feel. As I allowed myself to feel love, thinking good thoughts was inevitable.