I've got some white powder. . .
What comes to mind when you read that? I found it very perplexing one day as my family was traveling in the mountains with another family on vacation. We were at the RV dump preparing to hit the road for the 6-hour journey home, when I realized that I was fresh out of baby formula. My girlfriend's youngest was also a baby, and so she had just what I needed.
She ran up to her vehicle and returned with a little zipper locked plastic bag of formula. She chuckled as she handed it to me, and said, “I promise, it isn't what it looks like. " My eyes squinted, I looked her in the eyes, and waited for my neurons to fire their little connections in my brain so that I could recall ANYTHING that would help me know what she meant. I waited. Nothing. Finally, I shook my head and said, “huh?"
She was incredulous. “Well, white powder. . .in a little bag. . . " she said as she waited for my neurons to fire as well. Still nothing. Dropping her chin just a little and keeping her eyes fixed on mine she said, “Drugs. . . "
She really expected to see the lights go on in a profound way, but the reaction was absent. “Oh!" I said, and gave her a chuckle. “I NEVER would have thought of that!"
Now, for the record, my friend does not do drugs, but she has been instrumental in helping many children born to parents with drug problems. She has to work extra hard at not letting the issues she is exposed to bring her down.
Many things can shape the way we think: life experiences, the movies we watch, the music we listen to, the environment to which we expose ourselves. But they DO shape us. There was a time when a little bag of white powder would have only meant “laundry soap" to me; say, at a time when I didn't have a baby in the home. I anticipate that there will come a day, (when I have finally learned to love cooking) that a little bag of white powder will mean “confectioner's sugar, " borrowed from a next door neighbor when I have run out.
It all comes down to “garbage in, garbage out, " the cliché that sums up this principle in, I must say, a rather negative way. A new, more refreshing campaign could be, “virtue in, virtue out. " But that wouldn't fly very far in today's media, would it?
Well, all of that aside, the principle is true. We need to feed our mind with images and messages that capture the kind of life we expect to live. I have heard it said all too often: “What I watch on TV doesn't affect me. " That tends to be the kind of thing adolescents would say.
I love watching their faces when I demonstrate in my seminars how ignorant that statement really is. How they react in a situation will be bent, even if just a little bit, by the input they have fed their minds.
So, what if our past, or our environment, IS lending to negative or destructive thinking? It must be combated with uplifting input. How much? More than the negative. With enough inspiring food for the mind and spirit, eventually the heavier thoughts shrink away. Although they will always be stored in the mind, the desire and natural tendency to bring them forward into the conscious mind will depart.
After spending considerable time in an environment that was gradually leading my thoughts to baser things, and recognizing what was happening, I attempted to flood my mind with inspirational media in order to combat the effects it was having upon me. Two years of a bad environment required about one full year of inspirational and uplifting input before the effects were no longer prominent.
If you're thinking, “But I can't wait a whole year to see the change!" Don't worry. You'll actually feel differently very quickly, it just might take a long time before it isn't a constant battle. It does require a determination to win, however, no matter how long it takes.
For me, I wanted to be free of the negative effects so badly that I immersed myself in uplifting media day and night, nearly round the clock. I had decided that I didn't care if it took until the day I died to be free of it, I was going to do all I could to overpower the effects of the unpleasant circumstances.
After fighting it for a very long time, I became very weary of the fight and realized that something had to change. I discovered I was able to make that change, but I never would have learned how if I hadn't humbled myself enough to subject my mind to all of those months of diligent uplifting input. The inspirational messages taught me how. I learned things that I didn't know I didn't know!
It takes time, and it is not easy. But it's worth it. It's our choice. Remember, virtue in, virtue out. We all have room for improvement, and it all begins in our minds. We can't change what is already in there, but we can control the input we give our minds by the programs we watch and the books we read, from this very moment.
About the Author: A contributor to multiple Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Leslie Householder is the award-winning two-time best-selling author of “The Jackrabbit Factor" and “Hidden Treasures. " She is the co-founder of PrinciplesofProsperity.com, a site dedicated to helping people gain more family time and money freedom through the little-known but critically fundamental principles of prosperity. She is a wife and mother of seven children.