My chatterbox mind was in full effect. One thought racing to the next. Which thoughts would dominate was rarely in question. They always come back to the “what ifs”, the “what’s nexts”, the “but how do you knows.” They are the familiar trio which can overpower the calming thoughts swiftly and easily. Most of the time, I don’t even know they’ve arrived until I start to feel my physical ease dwindle.
The morning walk I was on when I noticed them was no different than the day before. Early morning sun, quiet and peaceful…until the thoughts nudged their way in. I was midway up a hill, pushing my body a little harder, when I heard another voice in my mind get louder, “Stop. We don’t want to do this right now. Let’s change this up and make it a gratitude walk. Focus on the good. Focus on now.” Another voice chimed in, “Great idea. Let’s do it.”
I instinctually looked up at the sky, beginning the chant of thanks. I was grateful for the blue sky, the cool morning and bright glowing sun. I was thankful for the trees donning their green glory. I was thankful for my legs being strong enough to take me where I wanted to go and for the ability to even be out walking on such a lovely morning before my work day began. I felt my mood instantly elevate, the chemistry in my brain shifting with my thoughts. I kept going, listing small details, yet feeling a powerful sense of thanks for the beauty around me.
I began to notice things I had not noticed before. Details that had likely been the same for the past two years I’d been on this walk, but didn’t see. I noticed how tall the trees were. They looked down on me lovingly with their wisdom and whispered their secrets of balancing the seasons of change. They had been rained on, snowed on, pushed constantly by wind and lost their leaves every year, but yet they continue to grow. They had withstood extreme cold and heat, been damaged by storms, broke branches and lost limbs, while watching others be taken out to make room for new houses, yet they stood taller one year after the next. They were strong and stable and made room for the new while the old fell away. Looking at them, you would not know how they sustained the cycles, they looked as radiant as ever.
As I marveled in the divine strength around me, I felt my eyes well up with tears of joy and appreciation. The “what if’s” and “what’s nexts” were gone, replaced with the energy of gratitude and presence of my surroundings. And all it took was a decision. A change in thought. And follow through.
It didn’t take two months, or two days or even two hours to adjust my perspective. It took minutes. With a quick alteration in intention, the world around me seemed to change. But it didn’t. I changed. I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable. I didn’t want to spin in anxiety and I didn’t have to. I made a choice.
We do have the power to change our thoughts. We do have the ability to craft a life we desire. We do have the potential to have what our heart is telling us is rightfully ours. We just have to listen, accept and follow through. And we won’t do it perfectly every time because we are human, and that is okay. It is part of the enriching experience of being authentic and whole, but it’s our experience to create as we wish. Choice and creation is the strongest birthright we are gifted. What’s next is up to us.