the power of belief

Bodhi relaxing on the radiator

At some point in my life, I started to believe that I wasn’t any good with plants. I don’t remember how it began, but it ended up with me not having any house plants at all. If offered one, I’d politely refuse it saying that the cats ate them. If I received one as a gift, I always tried to re-gift it quickly before I killed it. A number of months ago, I was walking through the farmer’s market and saw a gorgeous cactus. The woman selling it assured me that the only thing that would be death for this plant was too much water. I figured that I could handle not watering it. As I tried to get it into my car, I grabbed it, and spent much of the next hour picking spikes out of my hands.

I won’t get into the “Getting a thousand thorns in my hands” episode again, but since the day of my purchase, the cactus has been sitting on a window sill in my office. It hadn’t died, but it hadn’t grown either. I didn’t feel happy when I looked at it. It was a bit like a white elephant; sort of cool but not wanted by anyone either. When friends would visit the office, I’d try to give it away and I usually heard either, “No thanks”, or “When you move, if you don’t want it I’ll take it”. No one seemed enthusiastic about it and I didn’t blame them.

Then one day a couple was in my office, and the man walked over and started looking at the cactus. As he looked at it, I could see his genuine interest. He stood there quietly for a couple of minutes and finally I asked him if he would like it. He didn’t hesitate at all. We arranged to meet again in a month for the pick up. After they left, I found myself saying to the cactus, “Well, you are going to a good home. A place where you will be loved.” Within days it started “budding”.

I heard a minister on the radio a while back, talking about a plant in her house. She said that every time she looked at one of the branches, she thought, “I need to cut that off”. She never did cut it, but noticed one day that the branch was dead. In that same talk she told about shopping with her daughter and how she kept thinking that her daughter didn’t look good (had a bad-hair day or something). After a few hours together, her daughter actually said that she didn’t feel good and the trip was cut short. Her mother made the connection between her thoughts and the life around her.

I made the connection too.

People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong. Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?”  Thich Nhat Hanh

25 thoughts on “the power of belief

  1. Yes, Yes, Yes!

    I had an experience like that several years ago before I retired. A young student teacher came to my classroom for her second student teaching placement. I thought she was wonderful. She was kind and compassionate toward the children. Her lessons were innovative and right on target. She was cooperative and self starting in all areas of her assignment.
    I enjoyed her presence greatly and told her so on a regular basis. Her teaching skills just grew and grew.
    When her supervisor arrived for our first three way evaluation everything went swimmingly. Only afterwards did her supervisor come to me and explain that this young lady had had such a negative time with her first placement that she had nearly dropped out of school—in her senior year!! Apparently her first cooperating teacher had told her on a regular basis that she was not good with children, her lessons were drivel and she really should consider some other line of work as she was never going to be a good teacher.
    I was flabbergasted at such a negative perception when mine right from the beginning was the opposite. I certainly take no credit for causing a transformation in this young lady, but it did illustrate for me that perception is a very powerful force and we need to consider it carefully when making judgements and decisions, especially about people.

    Reminds me, Mary, of your experience with Noah, hearing your voice and his life changed for the better instantly! We never know when we are making a difference and we can just aim to have that difference be a positive one.

    Thank you Mary for another thought provoking lesson. Let us all go forth and be a force for the positive.

    From Fran

  2. Mary, thank you so much for your post this morning. I needed it. There has been so much change in my life, some good, some not so good, some great! But change makes me anxious and I have been feeling negative and anxious lately. The bible says,” So as you think, so shall you be”. I choose optimism, positivity, and love. Thank you for the reminder. I love your pictures. They fill me and make me smile.

  3. Mary, thank you for yet another beautiful lesson in the power of thought. Fran, your story is so inspiring, I think you were a ripple in that young teachers life that surely goes outward to the children she teaches. Loving thoughts bring forth budding, then blossoms.

  4. A chuckle (I hope) for the WFF group: feel free to laugh at my expense!

    After a rough night of sleeplessness, worry, negative-self-chatter and “what-iffing” all over myself, I took my son to school this morning….. and came home to find the carpet throughout the house festooned with proof that one of the dogs has a VERY upset stomach. (Insert expletives of your choice.) Oy! What a way to start the day…. what next?

    But then I logged on to Mary’s blog, read her always-insightful comments, and my perspective changed. Now am flipping through the yellow pages for carpet cleaning services… May all of our minds (and carpets) be free of “you know what”. 😉

    • I guess your dog manifested the mind-poo for you, Kelly. Morale of the story: If your head is full of poo, confine your dog to a small, carpetless room during the night.

      Here’s to clear, bright lives (inner and outer) going forward. 🙂

  5. Allow me to share my Sunday experience. There was a family get together to meet a 6 month old great nephew who was visiting from TX. We’re in OH. It’s about a 1 1/2 drive to where we meet. It was a gorgeous day and I was feeling great on the drive up. It was a balmy 60 degrees, I had the car windows down and was enjoying myself immensely, even took a liitle jaunt on the way to see the cute Amish kids walking home after church. I pulled into our family meeting place the same time a sister and her husband did. Now if this sister weren’t family we would not be in each other’s lives. Instantly my mood plummeted. I overheard her telling another sister, “Sally’s sure in a good mood,” meaning NOT. Have been trying to process what happened here and your blog this morning was an aha. Before our car doors were opened we had projected our mental scripts. Truly I probably didn’t brighten her day either. Have felt badly ever since, like somehow I should have been able to rise above this. Thank you for the constant reminders about the power of our thoughts. I am sending kind ones to Anne even as we “speak.”

  6. Being raised as an only child I have always envied anyone who has been blessed with brothers and sisters……………and over the years watched in amazement as my mother and her siblings would bicker off and on…yet when there was a famiy crisis they would band together and support eachother. I guess we all need to be more positive and loving in our thoughts and actions like you said Mary. Because the outcome is beautiful for everyone concerned!

  7. Just this morning, (before saving WFF for last of course!), I read the Abraham HIcks offering. I thought the last line makes a nice companion to Mary’s post, “Don’t ruin your life by pushing against. Instead, say, “I choose this instead. This does please me.” We have a choice, always, how we look at life. Far better to turn away from negativity which seems to have many cohorts these days, and focus on the bud, the blossom, before it even appears. Because our projections truly do manifest, in tangible and non tangible ways. Lisa, thanks for sharing the scripture, “So as you think, so shall you be”. Kelly, I hope your dog feels better! Was it Skeeter? or maybe you don’t know. Bummer! Sally and Fran, what powerful stories you shared. Mornings at White Feather just fuel my day! Love to all!

      • Hi again Kelly! Try some rice for Skeeter – maybe a scrambled egg too? Poor boy! Sometimes my vet says it’s best just to offer water but let them wait awhile before eating again.

  8. And I made the connection with you, Mary. That day at the beach cafe in Islamorada, when I took that picture I sent you of two books I found (by coincidence or universal design) at the local library, discards for $1. each. One by T.S. Eliot, his famous poems about CATS, and the other by the author of today’s quote, Thich Naht Hanh, a book about dealing with difficult emotions. Then today I read your POST which begins with a picture of one of your beloved cats and ends with a quote by Thich Naht Hanh. CONNECTIONS and the power of positive thinking. I love it! Mary Rita.

  9. For Fran and all: thanks for the student-teacher story. I have been a student-teacher. I have had a student-teacher. And in the next few weeks my daughter, Katharine, will be a student-teacher. It is the last step toward earning her Masters in Early Childhood Education. She plans to be a Kindergarten Teacher. It is her calling. She is very good with children, especially the little ones. So WFF flock, please send those powerful positive thoughts out to the Universe for Katharine Scott and her cooperating teacher at the Cambridge Elementary School. With Gratitude, Mary Rita.

    • My thoughts are going out, Mary Rita. Katharine can expect to feel cosmic hugs very soon! It’s a beautiful thing when one finds her calling and can follow through. Happy ending to all the years of study.

  10. Best wishes to Katharine and Kelly as they pursue their calling in the wonderfully rewarding world of teaching.
    From Fran

  11. I continue to marvel at the many levels of energy (unseen, of course!) that our thoughts and intentions create while we go bumbling along with our ‘lives’. Then, every so often, the bell chimes, or the whistle blows, or someone smacks us upside the head—and we SEE, clear as day, the connections.
    Magnificent moments!

    [Fran, your great story reminded me of my 4th grade teacher, who professed no left-handers could possibly write proper cursively, so she decided to ‘break’ me and make me write right- handed. I still could never get that beautiful right slant; no matter how hard I tried, it looked straight up and down. I remained very self conscious of my handwriting until another teacher in high school commented “You have the most unique handwriting, Cheryl. It almost looks like calligraphy, but with letters instead of characters.”
    In one breath, years of diminished ‘mind- poo’ was erased with a feeling of individual pride. Teachers make a HUGE difference!]

  12. On the subject of teachers, they are powerful in influencing our beliefs about ourselves. I’m happy to read/know that there are good-intentioned people who still want to be teachers. (This said by a former teacher.)

  13. Mary, you have the gift of drawing in such lovely nurturing people! Perhaps that is a sign of who you are! I think Fran must have been a wonderful teacher and Cheryl b. the sea, I am sorry you spent time in conflict with your penmanship. Teachers have a very huge influence in the lives of their students. When I was in the 5th grade the teacher (a man) stopped a volley ball game I was in and pulled me out because I was “too puny” to serve the ball over the net (according to him anyway). I was so embarrased and always tried to avoid volley ball in the future. When I was in Jr Hi school I finally had to face my fear and serve a volley ball. I hit it so hard it not only flew over my team, the net and the other team but clear out of bounds on the other side. In that moment I realized I could have hit that ball all the time! I let that teacher make me think for years I was too puny to play. Teachers do make a HUGE difference. Love you all!

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