"Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds." - Anonymous
I know what some of you might be thinking right now, "I want to grow flowers but this mind of mine isn't cooperating." Right?
I also know my stance in areas of this subject matter isn't popular - but because I believe that even one person might give it a try and find it the "fertilizer" I did, here goes.
Let me say in advance I am not looking to force my belief on others nor am I looking for a big conversation to ensue. I understand the other side of this suggestion, I WAS the other side of this suggestion, for years. Now I'm not. End of story.
When I was going through a rough time in the summer of 2008 and found myself so blue and sad I could barely function, in a particularly lucid moment, I got real with myself and started to ask what did I still have some control over, since circumstances outside of mine were what was sending me into a tailspin.
Feeling like a 100% victim and exhausted, I asked myself the question "What DO I have control over?" I then began a short list and the quest to get some of my power back. That short list produced that summer evening ultimately brought me freedom in many areas of my life, freedoms I still enjoy today.
The question I asked after the first was "What could I do to mitigate some of the negativity in my life?" In other words, I began to realize that what I "took in" had a big role to play in what I thought and subsequently, what I "put out."
The decision I made that day with the most impact was the decision to not listen to or watch the news. I was a news junkie. News talk radio every morning when my alarm went off at 6, streaming it on the computer in my office 'til Noon and political television with the pundits arguing was of interest as well. But in the summer of 2008, I stopped it all. The simple thought of getting rid of negativity in my life when I was already so sad and what I could replace it with instead, turned my life around.
The first week was hard. I was addicted to my habits after all. I replaced the radio news with music or CD's of motivational speakers or books and since I've never been a big television watcher, just watching something other than political shows or the local news was easy.
Over time, as the clouds lifted, my spirits did as well. I'm not saying this one decision alone got me out of my depressed state but it was a big one and still is to this day.
How we can think that taking in bad news and garbage day in and day out is good for us, is ludicrous. Don't even get me started on all the negative gossip and complaining we allow ourselves to absorb each day!
I mean, would you allow someone to sit in your car and talk about murders, abductions, drug overdoses, robberies, etc. for a 1/2 hour or more every day as you drove to work? How about whisper the same stuff in your ear right before bed? Why am I thinking you wouldn't ever allow someone to do that, but if you listen or watch any of this, my friends. You are. You're not just allowing it, you are inviting it in as a welcome guest! "Oh please come in and make me believe evil people are everywhere and life is just wretched!"
If you want to make a difference in the world on a subject that means something to you, you will make a much better advocate if your head isn't filled with "weeds" and crap. You don't need to take in negativity to know that there are needs in the world.
To each his own, but if you are a soul suffering due to a mind that's already sad, give my suggestion a try, because you have nothing to lose.
Sit down, pen and paper in hand and ask yourself the question "What can I do to get rid of more negativity in my life?" Revisit the question for several days, even weeks, add to the list then pick one thing, anything to begin to plant seeds designed to grow new things in your mind because what grows inside, shows outside. I still ask myself the question from time to time and have continued to let go of those things and people that don't support me being at my mental best.
Knocking the news was just one idea. There are many others, from letting lousy relationships go to starting an exercise program, from kicking the complaining to sharing your joys instead of your woes next time you meet a friend for coffee.
My wish for you is this...as we round the corner and step into the new year, I hope you make the choice to tend to your garden in a most intentional way so the bounty you receive by way of beautiful new growth is one we all may delight in.
Happy New Year!