Updated: May 1, 2022
"Nothing can survive without food. This is not only true for physical beings,
but also for states of mind. Love needs to be nurtured and fed to survive, and our suffering also survives because we enable and feed it."
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
My compost pile was the recent source of inspiration, bringing to mind this quote. I had looked forward to living in the country again for many reasons, one of which being to live more in harmony with nature. I enjoy gardening and composting- there's something so beautiful about the cyclical process of letting go of what isn't useful and seeing it transformed into nutrient-rich soil, becoming the perfect base for new plants to grow. We pick the plants, nourish our bodies with their life-giving nutrition, let go of the "waste" and the cycle begins again. As the saying goes, "trash" to one is "treasure" to another. Well, it turns out our compost pile was "treasure" to more than just my garden plants. Unfortunately, we had placed it too near our barn, and soon we were finding evidence of some rodent who had found our hospitality much to his liking. He gnawed through plastic bottles and tarps, and left droppings everywhere (including in my horses' hay, which must have seemed an inviting nest!) Disgusted, I realized I had two options: the usual human solution of destroying things we don't like (i.e. putting out traps or poison), or "removing the causative factor" as we'd say in bodywork. I decided to stop putting scraps in the compost pile and see what happened, knowing I could resort to the other option if absolutely necessary. Well, I'm happy to say that within a few days the unwanted visitor had disappeared completely and has not returned. No "anti-rodent" strategies necessary. I simply had to stop feeding what I didn't want. The same is true of our thoughts and how they impact our experience - both personally and collectively. If we have a situation in our lives we don't like, for example, it is common to focus on it, talk about how bad it is, and invest a lot of our emotional energy into it. We think the problem is the "other guy"- there's always some enemy or another for us to be against. We don't realize that our very focus on the situation continues to feed it energy and make it more powerful. But we do have a choice. We can get clear about what IS wanted, and shift our minds from feeding the "problem" to feeding the "solution." If you want an end to war, don't be anti-war, be pro-peace. Stop wasting your energy fighting, resisting, and reinforcing the negative, and put your efforts into focusing on what you want most. Cultivate the feelings of peace, fulfillment, harmony inside your own mind and heart - that will make a bigger contribution to bringing peace to the planet than any anti-war activism, and it will improve your quality of life on the personal level as well. Positive change on the global level starts within each one of us. "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me." At any moment, we have many options available to us in terms of which aspects of reality we invest our energy in. The ones that thrive are the ones we feed.
Self-Care Suggestion: Whenever you find yourself upset or unhappy about something, pause and ask yourself "What am I feeding?" It's possible that your focus on the problem is keeping it active. There is value in recognizing something you don't want, certainly, but not to keep you stuck there, feeling like a victim of Life; acknowledging the problem is only of value if it gives you clarity about what you DO want. Focus more on that- it will transform both the way you feel and what you manifest in your life.