Monday, January 2, 2017
Minister for Children and Families
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
It’s a New Year, time for some positive thinking; exercising our ability to be deliberate in channeling our thoughts in ways that will benefit ourselves and others. It’s a worthy ambition, but, how do we accomplish such a lofty goal? If you are still reading this, you’ve already started. We begin by filling ourselves with affirmations – such as the act of reading a devotional writing. This both initiates and nourishes our intention to have a positive attitude all day.
Buddhist teachers would tell us to practice “mindfulness,” focusing our attention within the present moment which leads to gratitude for the blessings that surround us. We can use this day to be inspired by silently counting these blessings as they continually cross our paths. Or we can take some time at day’s end to re-read or watch again something that has blessed us or created positive feelings in our lives in the past.
It is also important, while being positive ourselves, to surround ourselves with positive people; individuals whose very presence helps us stay centered on what is right and good. The kindness of such people can only guide us toward being kind to others as well as teaching more about loving ourselves.
Certainly taking a chance on being positive all day takes faith; faith that there is a Christ presence inside all of us that is forever willing to guide us on the way of truth. Faith teaches us that everything which comes our way can present possibilities for our own spiritual growth. Virtually all the classic spirit-centered writers of Christianity remind us that consistent practice of our faith actually rewires our thought processes. And there are some 21st century gurus whose scientific studies proclaim these faith affirmations help us create new neural pathways, or neural nets, in our brains.
Norman Vincent Peale, who wrote The Power of Positive Thinking in 1952, can still teach us: “Change your thoughts and you change your world.” Be the positive change the world so urgently needs.
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