I am not a gardener. I love fresh herbs, vegetables, and flowers. I would love to have a house full of plants! Alas, the only living things I’ve managed to keep alive are my three children (and that has been mostly dumb luck). However, my basic philosophy of emotional well-being is based on gardening.
Our thoughts are like seeds. The thoughts you nurture will grow. A thought enters your mind. Immediately, you either let that thought take root or you allow it to fall away. If you allow the thought to take root, you either nurture it or you allow it to die off. The thoughts we allow to take root, the ones we muddle over throughout the day, or the thoughts that race through our head as we’re trying desperately to go to sleep, those thoughts seeds grow into feelings. Feelings are the buds of those seeds. A full-grown thought is a behavior. This is true of both positive and negative thoughts equally. So how do we sow positive thoughts, particularly in the challenging season we are in?
Here a few of my thought seed growing tips:
Try to keep fertile soil. Even the best seeds must be planted in good soil. Make sure your mind is fertile ground for positive thoughts. Our minds need proper rest, the nourishment of healthy food, fresh air, and sunlight. Often, we think of our minds and thoughts as separate from our bodies but they are one and the same. You cannot have a clear mind within a stressed body or amidst a chaotic environment. So when you find negative thought seeds sprouting up, review your daily habits to make sure you are keeping your mind renewed and able to nourish positive thinking.
Select the right seeds. A lemon seed will grow lemons. A lemon seed cannot grow apples. An angry thought seed will grow mean words or behaviors. Angry thought seeds cannot grow kind words or good behaviors. Let negative thoughts pass. Choose to think good thoughts. This takes a lot of practice! So be intentional and consistent. Set reminders or prompts. For every positive thought, you plant, there is a world of bad seeds so you must be a diligent sower.
Nurture the thought seeds you plant. Develop habits that nurture productivity and positivity in your life. Again, thoughts develop into feelings and then behaviors. If you binge-watch 16 hours of dark, horror flicks or news (which seems like the same thing right now) don’t expect to have thoughts of love and peace. Meditation or mindfulness practices, yoga or running, and/or reading scripture of your choosing are all ways to nurture positive thought seeds.
A new year brings new healthy habits. Typically, those habits start to wean by spring. But every good gardener knows that seeds take time to grow. So by spring, a season of new life, renew the practice of planting positive thought seeds. Plant the kind of thought seeds that will yield a harvest of love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, and gentleness.