My bathroom tap is dripping. I shut it off tightly and make sure that it is not dripping when I leave the bathroom, but when I come back a couple hours later, there it is: dripping.
This, by itself, is not enough to set me off. It’s one of those little inconveniences in life. Each drip is only a tiny bit of water – nothing to worry about. But when I’m having a bad day, and everything else is going wrong as well, it can seem like the whole world is doing Chinese Water Torture on me. When the bills are piling up, my calls aren’t getting returned, I get stuck in traffic and my tap is dripping, that can make a bad mood really easy to fall into.
It’s not even the dripping itself that really counts. It’s my thoughts about the faucet, and about everything else that went wrong this week.
Each negative thought is a drip inside my head. One drip doesn’t do anything, but when the negative thoughts won’t stop dripping, the drip becomes a pattern that turns into a bad mood. Then the bad mood affects my actions, and I become more likely to act with selfishness or anger instead of with patience and compassion. The actions reinforce the negative patterns, and then the world reacts with a negative response. Pretty soon the drips are drowning me.
I can turn all that around any time I choose. I can fix the leak. It may take a few dollars and tools to fix the faucet, but it only takes a determined choice to fix my thought pattern.
But while one good repair job on a faucet can stop the dripping problem once and for all, I need to make positive choices each moment to fix my leaky brain. The more I make, the easier the habit becomes, but it’s still a new choice every time a thought comes up.
Whatever my circumstances are now, I can choose gratitude for the good things I have in my life, and I can choose an intention of even better things to come. I can choose compassionate thoughts and actions instead of self-indulgent or angry thoughts. I can choose forgiveness. I can choose hope. I can choose to laugh. I can choose to give.
I can choose my thoughts every moment of every day, and my choices create my life.
And now, please excuse me; I am going to a party.