choosing your thoughts

Last Friday I was chatting with a friend who is going to be moving soon. As you can imagine, she has a lot on her plate and the move is just one more big thing on the to-do pile. I happened to mention that she might want to take some time choosing her thoughts over the next few weeks while this craziness ensues.

She asked me what I was talking about and while I explained it to her, I thought it might be helpful for others as well.

One of the biggest themes I find in the spiritual teachings of Mrs. Meyers, Buddhism, and The Course in Miracles, is the idea that we have the power to choose our thoughts.

As Joyce likes to say, we don’t have to just think whatever stinkin’ thinkin’ falls into our heads. 

We have the power to choose excellent thoughts, positive thoughts. We have the power to turn our attention wherever we like.

And this year I have been working diligently to make this a part of my own thought life.

But to be honest, I know that I have to make a very consistent effort to really get the benefits of this power. Pretty much everyday, multiple times a day, in fact.

More than anything, I have found that if I take time in the morning to “select my thoughts,” my day can go from average to awesome, or from stressful to not-so-bad.

It’s kind of like picking out my spiritual “outfit” for the day. To do this, I sit on the floor with a candle in front of me. I clear my heart of anything that I might have done wrong the day before, and give thanks for the awesome people and things in my life. Then, I move on to pick out the thoughts I’d like to think during my day. Some of my chosen thoughts recently are:

  • I have favor in business.
  • I have everything that I need.
  • I am enough.
  • I am blessed and I want to be a blessing to others.
  • I will have the grace for anything that comes my way.
  • I am positive, happy, and thankful.

To me, it’s like a mix of praying, meditating, and what I’d write in a journal.

After I run out of things to say and I feel ready to ease into the morning, I get up and start making the bed and getting ready.

Though I hope to one day make this an everyday ritual, right now I’m batting about 40%. I don’t find myself doing it on weekends or every weekday. But when I do take the time to do it, I have a much better attitude and approach to opportunities and challenges. I am quite simply more joyful.

And surprisingly, I do find myself re-thinking the thoughts from the morning throughout my afternoon. Over time, it really does stick as long as I’m consistently doing my morning practice.

As usual, it goes without saying that this what I have found to be personally helpful, but perhaps it is worth considering for others as well. It doesn’t need to be sitting in front of a candle, it could be writing in a journal, thinking on the way to work, or a million other things. What I think the core of this practice does is help us consciously think about what we want to spend our days dwelling upon.

We can think what comes to mind without any censorship or choose otherwise.

It’s up to us.

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. This is so true – I have had to change my attitude about my current job, it’s definitely not what I want to be doing forever and sometimes I feel a little like a trained monkey with no creative freedom, but days are remarkably better web I take the time to be thankful for the good things about my job – like a steady income and flexible hours and the opportunity to learn a good foundation of skills for the future. It can be a battle – but I do absolutely believe we have a choice and that it makes a big difference! Thanks for the excellent Monday morning reminder 🙂

  2. I completely agree with this. I believe a bad/good mood is all a matter of what you make of it. If you allow yourself to get down on yourself and in a bad mood..then that is what will be…if you think positive thoughts and look on the bright side, then happiness is sure to follow.

  3. Kristin

    This really works! I approach it just a bit differently though and tell myself that while I can’t necessarily control my *thoughts*, I can control whether or not I believe them, and I can control my core beliefs and beliefs about myself and my life, as well. Just like you, I still feel like I have a way to go before I will have mastered this concept but it’s such a comfort to know that it’s a resource at our disposal. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  4. Kylie

    Great point! I just posted today on the importance of choices relating to finances and time… but thoughts are equally as important (if not more so).

  5. That’s so true and such a great idea! I like the fact that we are accountable and responsible for our own happiness.

  6. Caitlin

    Love this post! It’s such a great reminder.

  7. Annie

    Jess-
    I very recently discovered your blog, and I am so incredibly happy that I did. I so sincerely love everything you post (thus the reason I included a bunch of links to your site in my last weekly roundup). I read what you write and feel that our thinking and stance on life is so similar, and that you constantly articulate things that have been swimming around in my own head, but which i haven’t managed to actually express. Thank you for your posts, I truly enjoy them.

  8. I think this goes hand in hand with “The Secret.” Though they have totally hyped this practice up with the movie and the book it makes complete sense. If you are constantly negative, then negative things will probably happen to you, but if you can remain positive and think positive thoughts, changes are positive things will happen to you. The law of attraction at work. I try to remember this, though I often don’t. Maybe this little morning routine you are doing would be a way to help me keep my day on track! Thanks for posting!

  9. Jess

    Thank you so much, ladies! I loved hearing your thoughts on “thoughts” : ).

  10. Wyn Nathan Davis

    A Course In Miracles really opened my mind to the idea of what is ‘real’ and not ‘real’ around us. So much of what upsets and hurts us is only there for us – nobody else sees it and so perhaps it is not ‘real’. Choosing our thoughts is powerful and makes us powerful. This is really a Hindu idea (from my understanding) although Jesus speaks of this as well.

    I liked your blog post very much and helped me think of my own journey toward mindfulness.

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