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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Habitual Thought Patterns

Seeing Differently

We can always choose to perceive things differently. You can focus on what's wrong in your life, or you can focus on what's right.”
Marianne Williamson (A Return to Love)

One wonders why we think more about what is wrong in our lives than we do about what is right. Unfortunately, while many people in the world are focused on simple survival, most of us in the West are obsessed with superficial things—our looks, for instance. No matter how attractive we are, no matter what sort of accolades and compliments we receive, we focus on whatever part of our anatomy is not perfect. We remember that one time we goofed-up really badly; that one time we wore that terrible flowered pants suit and looked like a parade float. We're too fat, or too skinny, our eyes aren't shaped the same, our lips aren't plump enough. We say our world is going to hell-in-a-hand-basket, and that it is inescapable that we will destroy one another, as well as our planet in the very near future. We seem to be blind to the good in very much of anything.

I heard a interview with Tom Hanks one day this week, in which he told Terry Gross he just knew one day people would wake up and realize what a fraud he is. He spoke of having no courage at all compared to the heroic characters he plays. He remembered gaffs he made in high school, even though he's now in his 50's. He has two academy awards, two golden globe awards and ump-teen acclaimed movies, and he still feels inadequate. He wasn't just being self-effacing, he was being honest.

Tom Hanks is no different from the rest of us. We lament what is wrong, or what might go wrong, rather than taking note of all that is right. We can change that behavior if we want to, even though it's habitual and happens automatically. Habits are hard to break, but it can be done. First, we must become aware of our negative thinking, about ourselves and others, about our world and where it's headed. Once aware, we can redirect our thoughts to something more positive. I have found this affirmation from A Course in Miracles very helpful: “I am determined to see this differently.” And then, we must practice with as much enthusiasm as we bring to our destructive thinking. We must reprogram our brains to think positively, rather than negatively. When we do, most of us will realize how much we have that's right, and just how little we truly have to complain about.

                                               In the Spirit,

                                                   Jane

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