Last weekend I heard an interesting thought that I want to share with you.  It’s a thought about thoughts, if you will.  (And I hope you will.)  You’ve probably already mulled over this idea, because strayjuniormint readers are critical thinkers by nature (just look what you’re choosing to read right now!)  But indulge me and pretend that I’m telling you something you don’t already know, ‘kay?  Thanks.

Have you ever really paid attention to how you think, and what you think about?  Do you think on purpose?  That idea really struck me, thinking on purpose.  I’d say that occasionally I think on purpose, but it never lasts long, and I certainly don’t think on purpose regularly.  I tend to let my mind wander a great deal as I go through the motions of my day, which isn’t unusual and certainly isn’t fatal, but also doesn’t allow for the optimum use of my brain, which is unfortunate, as it’s one of the few magnificent things I possess and woefully underutilized.

Did you know that we can actually choose our thoughts?  I’ve often been told to control my thoughts, but rarely have I considered choosing them.  That’s a step beyond controlling them, I think.  Controlling our thoughts implies blocking certain things from entering our mind, or not allowing certain things to enlarge there.  But choosing our thoughts seems, to me, the higher and happier purpose of controlling them in the first place.  Once we’ve controlled the bad ones, we can then choose from a myriad of good ones–kind of like choosing a candy bar from the abundant convenience-store shelf (Kit Kat all the way, unless they have Reese’s Dark.)  This is where our species’ gift of creativity comes in and why I’m so thankful, once again, to have the mind of a human being and not that of a garden-variety mammal.  (No offense, Garden-Variety Mammals.  Some of you are cute, but you’re all boring.)

Having good thoughts is more than just not having bad ones.  The good thoughts I select are what makes me me, and yours are what makes you you.  And guess what I else I found out?  People are happy based not on how they look or what they have or even what they can do, but on what they choose to think about.  Absorb that with me.  What if it’s true?  Can you imagine?  Replace the bland word of happiness with things that you really want–confidence, satisfaction, excitement–and imagine that all of it rests within the parameters of your own mind, which is portable, invisible, free of charge, does not fluctuate weight based upon the amount of carbs you eat, and is completely off-limits to everyone else but you.  What if I choose to think, for example, that I have so much beauty and wealth, I never need to envy another person again?  What if I could go one step further and make that choice a habit–choosing every day to leave any kind of envy behind, for good?  (Or insert any vice of your choosing here.)  How would that change my life?

So, what do you want to think about on purpose, today?  A deep, philosophical matter, an inspiring spiritual one?  How about a fun personal goal or a dream for your children or how to make your marriage better?  Or maybe what color to paint the bonus room, whether to plant a garden, how to like your part-time job more? (check, check, and check on those last three for me.)

My thoughts today will be a kaleidascope of all of the above, snatched in tiny ragged pieces between dishes and laundry and grocery shopping and piano lessons.  But snatch them I will.  And though they may be tiny and ragged, my thoughts today will, I’m determined, be more on purpose.  That means less spoon-fed thinking, like checkstand magazines and “harmless” gossip, and more deliberate thinking about what I want to do, and be, and give and create; there’s enough fodder in those thoughts to keep my little ‘ol brain occupied for life.

And now I’m off to do some purposeful thinking at Costco.  Do I go with the Kirkland Signature Peanut Butter Cups or the Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzels?  Wait. That’s too hard. I think I’ll get them both. On purpose.