Last night I heard Dr. Caroline Leaf talk about how our thoughts affect every aspect of our lives. According to Dr. Caroline our mind and our brain are not the same thing. The brain is the hardware that does what the mind tells it. She had all kinds of slides and scientific proof for all this, much of which was beyond me. What was easily within my grasp, however, was the fact that our thoughts affect our actions. Every action begins as a thought.
Yes, I knew that... in my head, in that piece of hardware inside my cranium. But knowing that and implementing the knowledge are two different things.
I came away determined to implement that knowledge more effectively, and to do that I had to take a serious look at the thoughts I let rampage around in my brain. Often they are fear and worry based. What if the cancer comes back? What about that burned section of my esophagus, what if cancer grows there? I have an endoscopy looming and part of me doesn't want to do it for fear of what the doctor might find. And then there's the matter of my kids. And my grandkids. I tend to worry about them. This leads to middle of the night stewing sessions where I turn over their problems in my mind, trying to think of ways I can get them on track. (As if this is solely my responsibility!) Worry is a waste of time and lack of sleep is not good for our health. Everything I heard last night confirmed what I've been suspecting for a long time: I need to quit trying to be god of my little universe and fix everyone and everything. I can't. I also can't travel into the future and see what's going to happen next. And I don't need to go there. God's already there and He's got everything covered.
So, what do I need to do? I need to focus on letting go of my fears and concentrating on the blessings of today. I need to quit playing the "What If" Game since I rarely play it in a positive way. (Like, how come I never ask myself, "What if someone sends me chocolate today?" ) No more worrying about what if the cancer comes back, what if a new problem erupts in my children's lives, or what if the economy collapses? Instead I want to start each day asking, "What can I learn today?"... "How can I be a better person?"... "What fun thing can I plan?"... "What can I accomplish?" I want to greet the sunrise with joy, to look around and appreciate the rain that makes my plants grow and the air I breathe. I want to realize what a privilege it is to get to live here on a planet perfectly designed for human life. I want to wake up every morning and quote Psalm 118:24. THIS IS THE DAY THE LORD HAS MADE, LET'S REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT.
I'm starting today with gratitude. Gratitude that I'm still here, that I've got great kids who love me, that I've got a wonderful husband. That I have food to eat and a place to live. That my family cares about me and my friends are fabulous. I don't know what today holds and instead of wondering when the other shoe will drop or what new trouble will hit me I want to be looking for what new thing I can find to be grateful for. There's always something, even in the midst of hard times.
So, today, I'm rejoicing in a new day. Thankful that I'm still here. How about you?