Lent starts on Wednesday, and when it’s over in forty days, spring will be in the air and in the flowers and why not in your heart?
So here are some thoughts about how to give your heart and your mind a thorough spring cleaning:
- Banish hate and anger. You probably have a grudge against someone, or against several people. When you think of them and you feel hatred, or just anger, go inside yourself and observe your feelings: where do you feel that anger, that hate? In your gut certainly, maybe in your clenched teeth, in your tense breath. And YOUR is the operative word here. You feel it in YOUR gut, in YOUR breath and wherever in YOUR body and mind you feel it. Who feels the hurt, who gets hurt? YOU.
Do you like that? Of course you don’t. So why not think of something else, something beautiful? Do something interesting, something you like doing. Take a walk, call a friend, a relative, whatever you like. That will make you feel good.
Does that mean you have to give up your anger, your hate? If you can, yes. It will liberate you. If you cannot, that is quite understandable. Dogs can forgive it, when dear master or mistress have done them wrong. They say that elephants never forget, and never forgive. If that is true, you can choose: do you want to be an elephant? Or a dog? As for me, I think in this respect, a dog is wiser than an elephant.
- Give your love to others and feel grateful for what others give you.
There is nothing wrong with being confident and self-assertive. And as St Francis de Sales famously said, “Well-ordered charity starts with oneself”.
That said, it pays to give. The science of happiness has found out (not so surprisingly, if you think about it) that when you do a kindness to someone else, the level of happiness of the one who gives rises even more that that of the one who receives. If you give, you get a bonus!
And when you are on the receiving end, you will be grateful. Concentrate on that gratitude. It is YOUR gratitude, and it makes YOU happy. The same science of happiness has found out that gratitude is the nr. 1 feeling in the hit parade of what makes us happy. So let yourself go! Give love and kindness! And be grateful! Full steam! That happy steam will penetrate in the darkest recesses of your soul and cleanse them of the germs of negativity.
Life is short- live it well!
P.S. If you find it hard to change you thoughts, you will find some hints on the page “How to control your thoughts and emotions”. Some of the hints there will be helpful for you, others will not. No problem: try some of them out and you will soon find your own, home made way.
TIME WELL SPENT
Time you stay firmly in the here and now, concentrating on yourself inside your reality and on your reality inside yourself is time well spent:
- Whatever you’re doing, take a 3-minute break every time you think of it, and at least once every hour, to use your five senses and accept your world as it is, enjoy what you like about it, and be thankful for the many gifts you received. 54321 with acceptance, enjoyment and thankfulness is a great tool for doing this. But you don’t need to stick to this formula, just develop your own habit.
- Whoever you are with at the moment, be they relatives, friends, colleagues or even strangers, turn your thoughts and your feelings towards what they are giving you and what you can give them right now: a smile, a word of appreciation, of understanding, of compassion…
- Ask yourself if what you’re doing at the moment is what you want to do. If it’s useful, fine; if you enjoy it, fine; if it’s both, wonderful.
- If it’s neither useful nor enjoyable, maybe it’s your duty, you have to do it or you need to do it. If it’s not, why not stop and do something better. If it is, try to accept it as inevitable. You may be surprised at how much acceptance of the inevitable, the unpalatable, the painful, can bring you inner peace.