First thing every morning I read something inspirational. I choose from a variety of sources; many are philosophical in nature rather than religious or spiritual. I choose a short passage, sometimes even a phrase, and after reading it, I take a few minutes to contemplate it.
Today, my inspiration came from the “Today’s Word with Joel and Victoria”* daily email. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even read the whole message; the title was enough to give me a wake-up call: “Eat Your Fruit”.
When I read the title, the first image that immediately popped into my mind was imagining myself speaking words and them turning into fruit as they left my mouth. That led to several other images and revelations. Before I speak any words, first they are thoughts. It occurred to me that positive, helpful words and thoughts are like fresh, ripe fruit and negative words and thoughts are like rotten fruit.
Images of rotten fruit hanging in the air filled my mind. Would I want to touch them and put them into my mouth? Would I want to chew them, then swallow them? Of course the answer was NO! Then what the heck was I doing, then, saying and thinking these negative words and thoughts?!
Your homework for today is to sit quietly for a moment and think about the various situations, people, things, etc., that trigger negative thoughts and words in you. Perhaps it’s slow drivers or long checkout lines at the grocery store, or the neighbor’s garage light that shines in your window as you’re trying to fall asleep at night…. Choose one of these frustrations and imagine it as a fruit. Put as many sensory details into it as you can. Is it dark like a blueberry or is it the color of a pomegranate? Is it soft and mushy or is it hard like a pebble or gritty like sand? Does it have a rotten scent to it or is it sickeningly sweet? Is it heavier than it looks? Is it prickly? Does it ooze some kind of liquid?
Hold that image in your mind so that you can recall it when you are in a situation where negative thoughts and words would normally be triggered. This will help you pause and in that moment you’ll give yourself a little space in which to choose a different way of responding. That slice of time will give you the opportunity to CHOOSE what freshness level of fruit you want inside you and what level you’re willing to send out into the world.
Choose fresh ripe delicious fruit!
For extra credit, after you have an image or a sense in your mind of the fruit that your negative words, thoughts, and emotions is/are (it’s okay if there are different fruits for different thoughts, emotions, and words), now brainstorm different ways to respond to these situations and people. You can always walk away from people who are annoying you; you don’t have to engage with them. You can decide to drive to and from work using less traveled routes instead of piling in with the rest of rush hour traffic. Perhaps you can go to the grocery store at a different time of day when it isn’t so crowded or you can go to a different store—perhaps a smaller one would be faster.
Take the time to do this homework. You’re worth it, your quality of life is worth it, and the people in your life are worth it. A happier, calmer you is better for reaching your goals and dreams and a better person to be around.
You can do it!
I’m so proud of you for doing this work and for taking the steps to move forward in your life. This is important work and so many people benefit from you working toward and achieving your goals and dreams. People you don’t even know yet—and people you may never meet—will have better lives because you achieved your goals and dreams.
I knew you could do it!
*For more information on this daily email service, please visit http://www.joelosteen.com