What We Think

What if we thought the same way about life that we did twenty, ten or even just five years ago? Could we even survive as a species if our thoughts stayed the same year in and year out?

From age 10 to about 35 I kept diaries and journals, missing the odd month or even year but pretty well kept one for all that time. I look at my thinking even at 35, when I left a marriage of chaos, then began to soar with knowing my truer self, asking important questions of myself, digging through fear and really looking to see what I wanted in life. At that time my perceptions about life were based on self-preservation, personal growth and making a 180 degree turn in terms of the law of relationship attraction.

Did you ever, as a young adult, see someone who was, say, 40 and think ‘they sure have it all together’? Someone said that to me once few years ago when I told her of my strifes in life, saying she thought I was ‘so together’ without any of the same problems she’d had. We think what we perceive to be true until we want to know more—asking helps.

I know now that life is all about how I look at it, which comes from what I think and what creates my perceptions. For example, I used to think that nurses, doctors, teachers and lawyers had it all together and the rest of us would just have to strive to meet that level of ‘okayness’ in life! That’s so absurd now! But I know where it came from—well, maybe partly. When I was 12, I told my mom that my new friend’s dining room table was so cluttered with papers, clothes, junk and toys that I didn’t know how they ate there. My mom said, ‘What? And her mom is a nurse?’  I had the perception for years after that that professionals should have tidy tables and clutter must reside in someone else’s home.

Can you remember what you used to think of world events? Of single parenthood? Of gay marriage? Of nutrition and food or the environment? In a job training program during the 80s when I was 23—and a single parent—we were asked to number in importance to us a long list of life events and core values. A few I remember are: owning a home, family, financial security, honesty, healthy marriage/relationship, friendships, world peace, ending world hunger, a clean environment. I distinctly remember putting world peace and ending world hunger last.

Core beliefs, which come from thought patterns multiplied by sometimes the huge part of a lifetime, need to be seen, acknowledged and some then relinquished to create the space for a new idea, real presence or some kind of real shift to occur. I really believe that we can each equally create what we see in the world by shifting, even just a bit, our thinking and perceptions. I shared a quote last week: ‘How people treat you is their karma. How you respond is yours.’ That means releasing myself from the bondage of others’ perceptions and regardless of what someone says about or does ‘to’ me, being at peace and not reacting, as even hurt and sadness can bring a person to the role of victim. When I change my thoughts, I can create better sustained peace and contentment.

It’s a good thing that reflection and time reveal truths not seen in youth because the last two items on my 1980s values list are now an easy first and second. And my relationship of 14 years is the grounding for a life based on true partnership, continued growth and creativity.

Christine Goyer-Swift finds expression through writing and dance, and inspiration through long walks and solitude. ‘Writing is a window into my life, recording, witnessing and continually emerging.’