I remember very clearly the first time I was told that my thoughts weren't actually real - that my thoughts didn't have to dictate the way I lived, what I believed or filter the reality I was living in. Now, learning that this was true and putting it into practice were two very different situations.
Even now, after practicing yoga for ten years and in my 8th year of having a regular meditation practice, the mastering of my thoughts is an everyday - every moment - practice.
Last week we experienced all kinds of cosmic coolness with a new moon, a super moon, the Spring equinox and an eclipse. Whether you believe in cosmic shifting or not is irrelevant because all the talk about spring and newness and change has a sweet and profound affect on the collective consciousness. This shift is simple: spring is here and it's time to hit the refresh button.
And so before you dig in to clean out your shed, your closet, your kitchen, and your winter coat pockets, why not start where it all begins - in our own minds?
How are you going to spring clean the root of all that you create in your life?
As I explain in the Awesome Life Detox:
We think our thoughts are actually real and true and happening. We create these wildly dire scenarios and dwell on our greatest fears. We let our thoughts poke us in our soft and vulnerable spots, mocking us where we’re the most fragile. The first step towards blowing life open is recognizing that our thoughts are not real – yet. What we’re thinking passes through layers and layers of our own filters and the result is often a mishmash of reality - our greatest hopes and our deepest fears - all rolled into one. Thoughts are not facts.When we detach from our thoughts, we see that much of what we think about has been completely fabricated by our imaginations and isn’t serving us in any positive way."
3 Steps Towards Spring Cleaning Your Thoughts
- Schedule Thought Cleansing Into Your Day
Block out 5-10 minutes in the morning to observe your thoughts. This might also be called meditation. Focus on inhaling and exhaling. When a thought comes into your mind, recognize it as a thought, let it go and return to focusing on your breath.
- Tune In To The Physical Response To Your Thoughts
It's not uncommon to have a physical response to things we think about that aren't even happening, haven't happened and aren't going to happen. We create scenarios in our minds, tap into our greatest fears, spin a web with our wild imagination and the next thing we know our hearts are pounding, our stomach is tied in knots, our palms are sweating and absolutely nothing in our lives has changed in any way at all.
When we can start to notice the physical response we have to the thoughts that do not serve us, we can slowly begin to unwind those habits and release the fear, guilt, sadness or frustration to situations we've created in our own minds.
- Replace The Old With The New
Our intentions create our thoughts, and our thoughts create our actions and our actions create our lives. So let's begin by putting out the best of intentions with an open heart, honouring the child within us who knows that today is the day that anything is possible. This isn't about expecting the best, but appreciating what is.Notice how you feel when you smile at strangers, when you're kind, when you laugh and smile. When you catch yourself thinking the same old, dusty, unhelpful, self-defeating thoughts, take that deep breath, let it go and work your hardest to replace that thought with a new and beneficial one.
If we are so easily inclined to believe our negative thoughts that don't serve us, can't we shift it up, upgrade the habit to begin to believe the thoughts that actually do serve us, our greater goodness, and our ability to live fully and happily in a life of our own creating?
Yes. Yes we can. Happy Spring.
(Photo by Catherine Farquharson)