Week 94 – Little Bits of Vigilance

Happy Monday (and Memorial Day), Celebrationists!

  1. I am grateful for this relaxing and productive day off
  2. I am grateful for the chance to work with/coach some talented and passionate kiddos, today
  3. I am grateful for the opportunity to delve into one of my dream roles – Clara in The Light in the Piazza : )

So I’ve been growing this basil plant on my windowsill.

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Sometimes I forget about poor Basil (pronounced like the “aaa” sound in “cat”) – sul, and he goes through various stages of almost-death. Then I remember his quiet presence, water him again, and he (mercifully) perks back up after a not-so-sensible bout of dehydration.  My tending to basil (or not, as it may be) has had me thinking some, about growth and vigilance. Especially the vigilance part.

As a person committed to (or, who tries to be committed to) growth, one of the things I do on most days is draw a card from this nifty deck of affirmations. I try to do this especially when I don’t feel like it. This is the one I drew today:

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I know that “positive thinking” is sort of a hackneyed topic in a lot of ways. I get tired of it, and I’m into it. But. What I love about this card is so specific. To me, the operative phrase on this card  is: “if I want”.

It’s useful to remind ourselves from time to time that we don’t have to be victims to the thoughts we’ve created in the garden of our minds.  That we can choose or change what we water and give life to, at any time.  Lately, I’m learning that I need to be hyper aware of what ideas make their way into the garden in the first place. And to keep a close eye on them, because if I don’t, weeds have a sneaky way of creeping in when we aren’t paying attention. We can find ourselves nurturing seeds of resentment or ugliness and not even realize that those things are part of the landscape of our experience until we are practically overrun by thorns. But the GREAT thing is that if we are hardcore gardeners, and pay attention to what is blooming, we have the ability to grow the most exquisite garden of badassery. We get to choose how the whole thing  looks – if we stay on our toes.

I’ve broken down the garden of my mind into a few areas:

  • The thoughts I think about myself
  • The thoughts I think about others
  • The thoughts I think about the world

Feel like joining me in taking a personal and really honest self-inventory?

  • What have I been planting/nurturing, in terms of the way I think/talk about myself? Which thoughts are total thorns and need removing? Which are weeds that need tending to? And once I clear all of that away, what is left? If there isn’t much, maybe I have some serious planting to do. What do I want to plant?
  • What have I been growing, in terms of the way I think/talk about/relate to other people? What do I want to prune, and what needs some excavation? In my life, I’ve found that people often live up to exactly whatever expectation I’ve set for them. When I’m expecting a person to be compassionate and awesome, and treat them as though they already are…that’s usually what I discover about them. Conversely, if I make a quick judgement, or decide in my mind that “this person is always __________” it seems like I help create this reality, too. If we expect and believe in the best in everyone and plant those kinds of seeds…while it might not blossom every time, I think we’ll be pleasantly surprised with the kinds of beauty to be found there
  • Am I satisfied with the beliefs I’ve established about the world? I want this area to have a constant supply of fresh soil. Leave the most open space, so that regardless of what I plant in here, there is always always room for new seeds to be sprinkled.  I never want it to get too crowded with what I think I know

Once we take stock of what we already have going on and decide what we want to plant, the thing I’m trying to remind myself of is that a beautiful garden (…or basil plant) needs maintenance. Requires vigilance and attention. We can’t let it go too long, or things will run wild. So join me this week, in paying attention? In choosing our thoughts with care? In remembering that cultivating a positive mindset is possible with vigilance, open-mindedness, discernment, and a whole lotta patience? : )

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Have a great week, Celebrationists! Happy gardening!

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