Gardening Your Inner Landscape
What's your inner landscape like?
Even before I studied psychology and learned about CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) I understood the power and significance of the mind and thought patterns. I knew this from my own meditation practice and how it has helped me manage stress reactions, both in that I am less reactive than I once was, and even when I do have a reaction to a stressful event, I recover more quickly from it. In essence, I "get over it" or "let it go." I was blessed to fall into a yoga and meditation practice when I was in my mid 20s. Over time these practices have helped me heal from childhood scars, self-esteem issues, a whole host of negative thought patterns and they continue to help me as new "scars" arise.
In essence, I've learned that we all have a choice. We have a choice - to plant flowers or to water and fertilize weeds. I've been using this analogy alot when teaching recently. Our mind, our inner landscape, is fertile soil. Are we planting what we want to grow? Are we repeating positive thoughts? Are we grateful for the multitudes of blessings in our lives - everything from running water to the love and affection of family? Or are we watering and fertilizing the weeds? Are we always looking at what is wrong, what is missing, how we messed up, ruminating on regret or fear?
It is true. You can train your mind to choose where the attention rests. On the negative or the positive. You can practice mindfulness, gratitude, meditation or prayer, and the more you do it, the more you might experience a shift. It sounds simple. This doesn't mean it's easy. Life is hard and major life changes can unexpectedly throw us for a loop. Positive thinking and meditation might not be the ONLY things you need to change your life. But they are practices worth cultivating. Open your eyes to the bright sun, the flowers, the kindness in your world, and you will see it more and more. It's been there all the time. Maybe you just weren't looking in the right direction.
Read about the scientific evidence now backing up this idea:
How can you get started? Here's just a brief list of ideas of how to cultivate a beautiful, positive inner landscape:
- walk in nature every day, or just walk slowly and mindfully
- practice mindfulness meditation (learn how by reading a book, taking a class or in a session with me)
- at the end of your shower, focus on the sensation of the warm water running over you
- try a mindful movement practice like yoga or tai chi
- dance and lose yourself in the music (in a dance class or in your living room all alone!)
- catch yourself when having a negative thought and replace it with a positive phrase, like: "I am light"
- take conscious time to be still and breathe every day
- practice your method of connecting, spiritually; pray, attend services, be in nature, etc.
- consider all the negative things you say to yourself and try to treat yourself more kindly, let your internal voice be like the voice you'd use when calling a small child or a puppy.
- message me if you'd like to learn more about how to cultivate a positive inner landscape.
Peace, Love and Positivity to you all!