Gleaning (what words do we pick out…and remember?)

Our holy water font (i.e birdbath) with Blue Jay enjoying my gleenings
Blue Jay feasting on my gleanings (the corn that I picked off the  ground of a previously harvested corn field, on my morning run a few days ago)

We watched a National Geographic documentary last night called, The Wildest Dream. It’s the true story of George Mallory, a mountain climber who died on Everest in the 1920’s. I’ve always liked stories and films about Mt. Everest, but what really grabbed me about this film, was the reaction of Ruth Mallory when she was told that her husband had died.

The commentator said that she went to sleep that night and “…in the morning, she woke them (the Mallorys had 3 children) took them into her bed, and told them that their father’s spirit was ready for another life, and his way of going to it, was very beautiful.” Of all the words or deeds that someone could relay about a person’s life, the fact that these few incredibly courageous, life-giving, words made their way into a 90 minute film is a miracle.

It also makes me realize how selective our hearing is: do I remember the wonderful, uplifting, inspiring, loving words that were said to me, or am I choosing to pick out and remember the hurtful, cruel or unhappy words and deeds?  What thoughts am I mentally feasting on?

When I gleaned my neighbors previously harvested corn field, I was careful not to take the rotten or moldy corn to feed the birds. I didn’t want to offer them something that might make them sick. And yet, even as I write this, I know that sometimes I choose to think “rotten” thoughts; picking them out of a conversation and almost savoring them as I rehash them in my mind, or retell them to someone else. All of us have said things that we wish we hadn’t; words that were unkind, thoughtless or angry, and all of us have said words of wisdom, compassion, caring and love.

Today I am choosing to listen for the words that speak Life.

“The most important of all factors in your life is the mental diet on which you live. It is the food which you furnish to your mind that determines the whole character of your life. It is the thoughts you allow yourself to think, the subjects that you allow your mind to dwell upon, which make you and your surroundings what they are. ….Everything in your life today the state of your body, whether healthy or sick, the state of your fortune, whether prosperous or impoverished, the state of your home, whether happy or the reverse, the present condition of every phase of your life in fact-is entirely conditioned by the thoughts and feelings which you have entertained in the past, by the habitual tone of your past thinking. And the condition of your life tomorrow, and next week, and next year, will be entirely conditioned by the thoughts and feelings which you choose to entertain from now onwards”. Emmet Fox, (taken from The Seven Day Mental Diet, a wonderful little book that is free on-line (it is in the public domain now and there are a number of links to it and I’ve included one here [PDF]

The Sevenday Mental Diet ebook…/The-SevendayMentalDiet-ebook.pdf


13 thoughts on “Gleaning (what words do we pick out…and remember?)”

  1. What thoughts am I mentally feasting on? Every single word and thought in this post Mary! All I want to say after reading this is WOW. Just WOW! I love the way you have framed and chosen to present and share this message wtih us. And visual person that I am, I can see you selecting the best corn for the birds, and I will remember to select and receive the words that speak LIfe. Thank you so much.

  2. Mary, if not for this sharing, I would never have known of Ruth Mallory’s incredible and beautiful way of telling her children that their dad had gone on. These words touched me so deeply. What an old soul SHE must have been to couch such sadness in such an affirming and accepting way.

    I won’t long forget this post. Thank you.

  3. So uplifting, Mary, thank you for getting our day off to a good beginning! We do seem to hang onto the bad stuff, words said, wrongs done to us…don’t go there!!! Life is just too short and everyday is a gift that should be enjoyed…be kind to others and make today a special day xoxo

  4. Mary, I was led to your blog by a link on Jon Katz’s site and have been reading your posts for a few months now. I’ve never commented on a post but today I’m going to overcome my innate shyness and thank you for this amazing message. I’m continually delighted by how you seem to be able to articulate exactly what I need to hear! Thanks for listening to your heart and sharing your insight with us. In case you have moments of doubt as to the impact of your postings, I’m sure I speak for many who are silent in thanking you for this and so many other inspirations! Just finished reading the PDF pamphlet and am challenging myself to begin the “Seven Day Mental Diet”!

  5. Dear Mary. Thank you for such a beautiful post and for the wonderful link to Emmett Fox’s book. Sometimes it can be so easy for me to forget about watching my thoughts…especially how I choose to dwell on those thoughts which are not beneficial to my inner peace. It is so very true that what we dwell upon becomes our reality. Sending you all good thoughts!

  6. Thank you, Mary! I look forward to checking out the e-book. Just the advice I needed today…:-)

  7. So true and so grateful for this reminder today! I downloaded Emmet Fox’s booklet into my I books. Thank you, Mary!

  8. This is a wonderful post, Mary, and a wonderful reminder at this time of year. I have worked as a grocery cashier for 36 years. Even after all of this time, I have to constantly remind myself that most customers are nice….probably 98 percent. Unfortunately, my coworkers and I often focus our thoughts on the 2 percent who are not. Only recently have I tried to change this in myself and others. Following an unhappy transaction with a customer, I think of the 98 percent and feel instantly better. I also send a silent prayer for the unhappy customer:)

  9. Hi Mary,
    Thanks again for helping me out on this journey. Saturday was my dad’s birthday, he died very suddenly about a year ago and I was missing him a lot this weekend. I loved being reminded that his spirit was ready for another life.
    Also, just did the 7 day mental diet a week ago and it truly changes you.
    Love you, Cousin Nancy

  10. What an early Christmas gift, Mary, the link to Fox’s Seven Day Diet, one that will nourish us unlike most diets that involve being deprived. That old adage “you are what you eat” is just as meaningful when thought of as we are what we ingest spiritually, everything we read, listen to, the groups we are involved with, the friendships we make and keep, the blogs we read! White Feather Farm is such a source of wonder and wisdom, and I so look forward to reading the comments from familiar names, and new friends, like Kathy, who is sharing for the first time today. Welcome Kathy!

  11. Mary, I only had a brief moment this morning to glance at your posting before leaving early for my volunteer job in town but I could see without reading it all, that it more than applies to me just now. An hour ago I lost my blob over a small issue in our household that has been festering for several days in which I made polite requests which were ignored. Now, I’m just plain grumpy and I came back to read your post entirely. It’s like giving my grumpyness a cup of chammomile tea; spreading Calendula onto a sore. But I’m half Italian and when I loose my temper, which is not often (well, that is what I tell myself), it takes me awhile to defuse…and zone out. I’m starting by rereading your post. Thank you. I’ve stepped into the poop today both literally and figuratively; it’s just what I needed to hear.
    SandyP in Canada

  12. I’ve been doing energy work and monitoring my thoughts about self love as I get ready for my 65th birthday on Friday. I was going to write a comment to Maria’s posting today and “accidently” your post popped up so I read it. Perfect! Thank you! I bookmarked your blog. You have a new and grateful reader.

  13. dear christine catherine, you will love Mary and this blog. Mary, loved the diet book — read it tonight while eating a cheeseburger 🙂 — it’s fabulous — i think it should be required reading for the planet — thanks for sharing

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