“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.” - Mahtma Gandhi Have you ever found yourself wishing you had something, then focusing on what is “wrong” in your life? Do you argue with your spouse, children, co-workers or friends? Do you wish they would just listen to you and stop being so difficult? What if all these people did exactly what you wished they would do? How would that look and feel?
I recently had a “Eureka!” moment where I realized that I thought that my children “never” listened to me. I wondered why they were being difficult, why I couldn’t get them to cooperate with me, stop fighting, put on their shoes, etc. Sound familiar? If you are not a parent, you can apply this generalization to any situation. If you have ever found yourself thinking or saying, “My partner never listens to me,” or, “That will never happen,” or, “There’s ALWAYS something,” then you are right. What I learned about my children was they were modeling MY behavior: being distracted by other things. Why? Because when I was in a state of overwhelm, I got into the habit of being distracted and scattered, and only half-listening to them while multi-tasking.
When I slowed down, I re-visited my personal and professional WHY and reminded myself that my WHY is very simple: Empowerment and Harmony. I was certainly not empowering my children or myself to live harmoniously while being only half-present. Thankfully, today is a new day.
“Today I choose to empower myself to create harmony every chance I get...” ~ TLC
...and I get a lot of chances!
How about you? Do you recognize opportunities to create harmony? Do you feel like you have power to create the life you want? Let’s break down the Gandhi quote.
Thoughts. Start with thoughts. If you think positive thoughts and your thoughts are in alignment with your values, then your words and deeds will reflect that. The opposite is also true. Let that marinate. How do you feel about yourself, your spouse, boss or colleagues, in-laws and family members, your neighbors and the world in general?
If you have negative feelings and thoughts about a person or situation, consider looking in the mirror. The people and situations in our lives are a reflection of us. Ask yourself what you might learn. Be open to the answer; you might peel back a layer to reveal a part of yourself you haven’t yet accessed.
Words. What do your words say about your thoughts? Have you used unkind, disrespectful words, or have your words been loving, kind and uplifting? What about self-talk?
I encourage my clients to write morning pages first thing in the morning; to write everything out, even thoughts like the following:
“It’s 6am, I feel terrible. I slept horribly. I am overwhelmed and I’m not even out of bed yet. I am so far behind on my to-do list; I will never get done. This day is going to suck rocks.”
The beauty of the morning pages is that you can release the negative voice. You can also address every assumption and negative thought by stating the positive outcome you desire. Or, you can simply let the negative thoughts and words flow to release them, leave them on the pages and get on with your day.
Deeds. What about your deeds? Do you practice acts of kindness? How is your attitude when asked to help with a household chore? Do you do it willingly, knowing that you are contributing to your home team?
In addition, you can offer to do things for people without being asked. Help with chores, fix dinner, repair something, or bring home fresh cut flowers. Outside your home, open doors for strangers, smile at people, and say “bless you” when you hear someone sneeze. Acts of kindness are far-reaching and do not require much of you; simply offer a thoughtful gesture or smile.
When we strive to create harmony - first with our thoughts - we naturally do the same with our words and deeds. It may take some effort to begin to think positively, shifting away from old negative thought patterns, but you will feel free when you do.
Gandhi said if we aim at purifying our thoughts then everything will be well. How do we make it happen? It is not just our thoughts that need purifying, but the feelings associated with the thoughts. We can say positive things all day long, but if we do not feel these thoughts are authentic, then the negative feeling is the same as negative thinking.
So, now what?
- Acknowledge Feelings For What They Are. Stop everything when you feel negativity creeping in. Acknowledge what you are feeling. Remove any judgment, and acknowledge, “I feel angry right now because I am frustrated.” Stop there. Do not tell yourself what you should or should not be feeling (stop “should-ing” all over yourself). The feeling just is.
- Practice Compassion. Just as you would with a child, be forgiving, allow yourself to feel what you feel. How you respond to feelings is important. Be understanding of your natural need to emote, and forgive yourself for any foibles as you would a loved one.
- Express Gratitude. When we express gratitude, we shift our thinking away from what is wrong to what is right and good. In a difficult situation you could allow yourself to feel grateful for the opportunity to learn something. Be thankful for the opportunity to see yourself in a different light. Finally, you might feel grateful for the opportunity to repeat a pattern one last time, realizing you get to grow through a situation and heal from old patterns that no longer serve you.
There is freedom in harmony of thoughts, words and deeds. You have the choice to set yourself free. I believe in you and your ability to create the life you desire.
Blessings. Gratitude. Love.