Tuesday Musings: The Power of our Thoughts
"Thoughts are living things, and I can bring into my life that which I think the most about. Negative or positive." -Harriet Rosetto
(I wrote this yesterday as a Monday Musings post, but alas, I'm posting it on Tuesday. So...Tuesday Musings?!) I hope everyone had a glorious weekend, celebrating Easter, or perhaps Passover, with family and friends. This is such a beautiful time of year – coming out of a long winter, watching new life bud on the trees and feeling the hope that spring is near. Easter for me is a time of rebirth and renewal, of redemption and resurrection. A reminder that there are second (and third and fourth) chances. That new beginnings are possible. Thank goodness!
I've been thinking a lot lately about the post I wrote a couple weeks ago – the one about being enough. There was such a huge response from you all, that I knew this topic clearly struck a chord. Why is this concept so hard for us to believe? Despite making the declaration that I'm done comparing myself with others, it's still a constant temptation for me every. single. day. But I recently realized that there's an even bigger obstacle to me feeling like I'm enough: comparing myself to who I think I should be.
True story: Sunday, I spent the morning making a strawberry-rhubarb crumble for Easter lunch. I combined two recipes – this filling and this topping – to make one big bubbling pan of deliciousness. As the crumble was cooling, I quickly* got dressed and ready. (*Quickly is a subjective term.) We were heading over to friends' apartment for a potluck lunch before church, and were already running late. I packed up a bag of ingredients for the salad I had not yet assembled, threw a dish towel over the warm crumble, and we headed out the door. B offered to carry the crumble down our five flights of stairs, but I protested, as I wanted to carry it myself to prevent any spillage. But insisted, and eventually I said fine.
Several flights down, B yells out in surprise as he's suddenly got bright strawberry-covered stains covering his nice dress shirt and dress pants. The juices from the crumble has leaked out all over him. We left our bags and the crumble on Floor 3 and ran back up to our apartment for him to change clothes. So there I am, half an hour late to lunch, scrubbing strawberry-rhubarb stains out of his clothes and putting them in a pot to soak. We headed back downstairs, grabbed the food and caught a cab, and I sat in the car fuming. Not at Brandon, but at myself: 'Why can't you ever get your act together?!' I think to myself. 'Why can't you ever show up places looking nice, on time, without any last-minute disasters?!' I started sinking into a self-made pit of shame – on Easter of all days!! – until B broke my reverie. "Hey! Stop beating yourself up. It's ok! We're together, aren't we?! Let's enjoy the day!"
Amazing how something so small can darken my thoughts and make me feel like a failure at life. It's a dangerous tendency, and one I'm actively trying to combat. So grateful for a husband that helps me keep things in perspective, and a God who is full of grace.
Last night before bed, I opened up a book called Sacred Housekeeping that's been a source of encouragement to me over the past few years. Author Harriet Rosetto (who I've had the pleasure of meeting several times) is a whip-smart Jewish lady in her 70's, who runs a rehab center in LA. Through her book and her talks, she's helped me see the importance of reconciling the outer and inner versions of ourselves. For me, I've always felt like "the real me" should be perfect: i.e. the ideal wife/friend/daughter/sister/blogger who never lets others down and who works hard, eats healthy, and keeps all of life's many balls gracefully juggling in the air. I get mad at myself when my actions don't measure up with this ideal. But what Harriet has taught me is that life isn't an either/or equation. It's about embracing the AND. That I can be a good wife and friend and still let people down. That I can be a healthy eater, and still eat chocolate chip cookies more often than I care to admit. That I can throw a beautiful dinner party, and have a bedroom that's a total wreck. Sure, it's important to have self-discipline and to strive to improve our areas of weakness, but first it's important to accept these areas as part of ourselves.
I've underlined many parts of her book, but last night something leapt off the page: "Thoughts are living things, and I can bring into my life that which I think the most about. Negative or positive." WOW. What crazy thought. By me focusing exclusively on everything about myself I want to change, and all the ways that I'm not enough, I'm guaranteeing that I'll stay powerless and stuck. Negative thoughts will keep me discouraged and creatively stale. But, on the flip side, she says, "Change your thoughts, change your life; what you can conceive and believe, you can achieve." Last year was a perfect example of this. I dreamed of writing a cookbook, and rather than telling myself all the reasons I wasn't cut out to do it, I just got started. I took a leap of faith, believing it was possible, and doors opened that I wouldn't have dreamed possible.
Are negative thoughts holding you back? Doubts? Fears? Spring is the perfect time to do some cleaning – not only in our homes, but in our minds as well. Instead of focusing on all that's wrong with you or your life, what can you dare to believe is possible? What do you want to achieve this year? Write it down! Tape it to your mirror! Get a friend to hold you accountable and get started!
Friends, I desperately want this to be a year of freedom and breakthrough – both for me and for you. It's a long process, but I refuse to stay in a place of shame. I am excited to see what is possible when I let go of these unrealistic expectations and embrace the wholeness of who I am: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Thanks for walking with me on the journey!
(Photo by Eric Ryan Anderson)