The Powerful Freedom in Choosing Our Thoughts
In their collaborative novel "Sunlight and Shadow*, authors Sue Boggio and Mare Pearl write: “It struck her as miraculous that there was unlimited power and freedom in choosing what one thinks…” I woke at 4:15 a.m. this morning, this waking up in the 3 to 4:30 a.m. pre-dawn darkness a rather exhausting new habit. Looking out the window I saw the beginnings of the lunar eclipse and knowing I wouldn’t be going back to sleep any time soon, I took my pillows, a sleeping bag and my dog Mancha outside and arranged us all on a lounge chair to watch the moon melt from full to infinitesimal.
Not expecting anything other than a wakeful rest under the gaze of a phenomenal astronomical event, I was gifted with a spectacular reminder. As the full moon’s brilliance slowly faded many of the 2,0001 or so stars visible to the human eye began to catch my attention. Instead of the moon’s glaring message “Look here, and nowhere else!” hundreds of other points of light came into view. Even in my sleep-deprived state the poet-coach part of me saw this as a metaphorical chance to embed an important knowing even deeper into my psyche and body: A thought can be a beacon or a distraction. It is our work and practice as hopefully evolving human beings to notice this vital distinction. Does one thought or pattern of thinking become a downward spiral toward inaction and perseveration, toward self-absorption or habitual reaction, the loneliness and frustration of being stuck in one place? Or does our thinking lead to clarity, discernment, compassion and right action, countless possibilities waiting to be explored, that amazing moment when clear choice manifests into something once thought improbable? All these words were whirling around in my head as I stroked Mancha’s soft fur and listened to the roosters crow across the valley while the full blazing moon slowly turned into a pinpoint of star-like light. I went inside and tried to fall back asleep. No luck. I met my dear husband in the morning half-light and we made our coffee together. My thoughts pulled me toward my studio and this blank page. It’s only 8:45 am and it’s already quite the amazing day. Hallelujah! 1Approximate number of stars visible on a clear night away from artificial light * Sunlight and Shadow, UNM Press, 2012