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Monday, March 28, 2016

Breaking Habits

Color Me Light

You can glom on to every tool in your arsenal to overcome negative thinking. Use affirmations and visualizations. Connect with nature. Do some deep breathing. Every time you have a negative thought, use it as a reminder to get back to positive thinking. Develop self-discipline. Keep your energy up. Chant. Meditate. Use your journal, or your pillows. Or ask for help from the Universe...It may take a major effort, but it will be vital for progress on your inner path to become aware of the self-defeating mental groves you function in...”
Elaine St. James (Inner Simplicity)

Call me a harper—I harp, I know. Same old saw, same old message—get a grip on your attitude and change your world. You probably read the first line of this post and thought, “Oh, not again! Stop with the positive thinking, already!” I don't blame you. It's just that, this is it, y'all. This is the route to making things better.

I was talking with my friend, Harry, over the weekend. He's just back from a week at a Taoist retreat on the west coast—one of those where you spend eight or so hours a day in meditation, and listen to a teacher's wisdom. Harry and I have served on way too many church committees and boards, and in the process have become somewhat jaded about the good intentions of our fellow Christians—I'm sure they feel exactly the same about us. But now, we're trying to actually walk our talk. We're trying to do our own work regardless of what is happening around us. When you think about it, that's all you can do—work on your own stuff—because there will always be people and situations that will get on your last nerve. Harry uses an affirmation to convert irritation to inner peace. When he feels himself start to heat up, he says, “I see it one way, and they see it differently.” No need to lambaste and berate—it's simply a matter of seeing things differently.

I've begun to say to myself, “Let it go.” I'm so obsessive when it comes to negative thinking. My brain rips things apart and huffs and puffs. So as soon as I feel that energy cranking up, I take a deep breath and say, “Just let it go.” and exhale. It may take several attempts and a number of deep breaths, but sometimes I can let it go. I'm getting better.

These simple things work, but they take time and discipline. Some say breaking any habitual behavior requires a minimum of six weeks of consistently resisting the urge to engage. Negative thinking is a habit. It is one that is every bit as debilitating as smoking. It colors our lives dark. If we want to let in the light, we have to start within.

                                                   In the Spirit,


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