There was a woman who was extremely frustrated and feeling overwhelmed with her life. Not knowing what else to do, she went to her spiritual teacher for advice. After listening to her story, he replied, “The answer is obvious: get rid of everything that is bad and keep only what is good.”
So she went home and evaluated what was and wasn’t working in her life, and she released everything that wasn’t working or what wasn’t bringing her joy. Her life changed for the better and she found a little peace.
A year later, she again felt overwhelmed, so she went to her spiritual teacher for more advice. He replied, “My answer to you is to let go of the good and keep only what is great!”
She returned home and again re-evaluated her life, and she released what wasn’t good and only kept what was great. She made the decision to live simply from joy and participate only in those activities that she found empowering.
Approximately another year went by and she was feeling stuck in the muck, and since her spiritual teacher had given her such good counsel in the past, she again went to him for advice on how to make her life better. He replied, “From here on out, really practice what you have been learning, only now, let go of the great and keep only what is magnificent.”
When she began practicing looking for and keeping only what was magnificent in her life, she found her life improved beyond measure. She found she could live in joy, was happy, and she found peace of mind.
How many of us are struggling to find peace in our lives, to find a little joy and happiness, and to know that our lives have meaning? I think that covers most of us (including me at times). Life can sometimes get away from us and we find that life controls us instead of our controlling life. We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can, with practice, control our thoughts about what happens to us. We really do have a choice about the thoughts we think. We can choose to be positive and optimistic, or we can choose to be negative and pessimistic. Some will say, “But Karen, if you think positive and optimistically all the time, you’re not living in reality!” I say, “I choose my reality by the thoughts I think.”
There’s another great story about a little girl who was constantly bugging her parents for a pony, but they couldn’t afford it. One day, the parents had a truckload of manure delivered to their house and it was dumped in one pile in the yard. Soon after, the father went out and found the little girl enthusiastically digging at the pile of manure. The father asked, “Honey! What on earth are you doing?!?” To which the little girl replied, “I KNOW there’s a pony in her somewhere!”
I say, “You don’t have to be happy with your circumstances, but you can be happy in your circumstances.” Wayne Dyer has a book called, “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life” and I would highly recommend reading it. For one day, I would also recommend that you be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Are they positive or negative? What words come out of your mouth? Are you always complaining about what you think is wrong with your life, or are you counting your blessings and finding what’s good? Are you focusing on the problems, or are you focusing on the solutions?
Even in the worst of circumstances, we can find ways to think good thoughts. I am certainly not saying that it’s easy. It takes practice and constant focus. Our thoughts and the words we speak have a lot of power, and we will attract that which we are thinking. We also become that which we are speaking.
Philippians 4:8 states: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Buddha says, "The thought manifests as the word. The word manifests as the deed. The deed develops into habit. And the habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care. And let it spring from love, born out of concern for all beings."
And Mahatma Gandhi stated, "Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well."
To be empowered, we need to think and speak empowering words. You can change your life. “Life is beautiful, life is good, life is what you believe it to be.” And so it is.
(Published in The Herald Citizen, a Cookeville, TN newspaper.)