I recently took my grandkids to the playground, unfortunately it was full of goatheads, those really nasty thorns that flatten your bike tires, and pierce your shoes, your hands or knees or anything else unfortunate enough to come in contact with them.
We could have picked them out one by one, or tried to avoid them, but that takes a lot of time and energy—and we probably wouldn’t get all of them anyway. The better solution? Just go play somewhere else. What a great metaphor for life, especially our thought life. If the sandbox we’re in is causes pain, it’s time to think something else! Its’ time to choose thoughts wisely.
We could continue to deal with those painful rampant thoughts, trying to stop them, or beating ourselves up for having them, or do our best to pretend they not there. Or we could…
Play in a Different Sandbox
Do you remember the cartoons with the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other? Each voice has its message. One is painful. The other is still, quiet and wise. Those voices are metaphoric for the loving voice—the inner nurturer, and the fearful voice—the inner critic. Love or fear. That’s the choice. Always. The voice we listen to determines the quality of the life we live. The good news is that there is a tie breaker—YOU. The person who owns the ears that the angel and devil are whispering into has the final say.
Love or Fear. Why Does it Matter?
We all know the warm fuzzy feelings of love. They are easy, comfortable, and heart opening. Love is complete in and of itself, needing nothing to become whole. The inner nurturer speaks quietly and lovingly.
The fearful voice tries to convince us that we’re not enough as we are, that we’re always falling short of something. Too tall, too short, too strong, too weak, too kind, not kind enough. The fearful voice is simply unpleasable.
Think About What You’re Thinking About
Love brings joy, peace, patience, calm, contentment, and many other things. When we live from love we live in gratitude. The tiniest things bring appreciation. In contrast, fear causes us to restrict and grip. To shut down, close off. Love is expansive. Fear strangles.
We can play in the sandbox that is full of thorns by trying to pluck them out, avoid them, or even giving up and accepting the wounds. Or we can choose to play in the sandbox of love. There are no thorns there. The choice seems clear when looking at it this way, doesn’t it?
I remind myself often to “Think about what I’m thinking about.”