My morning practice


I have been struggling between the idea that you should not resist any thoughts and feelings that come up and directing my thoughts in a more positive direction.

One way of thought says thoughts are transient. They are not positive or negative. Welcome all thoughts and feelings. The resistance to these feelings is what produces suffering. I can see this way of thought. And have moved towards accepting everything that arises in body, mind and emotions.

I listen to my feelings. I hear my thoughts, but no longer believe everything they say is true. I have noticed often they are rehashing the past or being fearful of the future.

At the same time, I have a family history of depression and anxiety. I see when I let all the thoughts hang out I can get stuck in the fear or sadness. How do I accept all the thoughts and feelings without falling into the dark? And how do I think more positively without hiding from the pain and negativity (sometimes called spiritual bypassing).

It’s not that the darker thoughts are wrong, but they are not as helpful to me because I do get stuck. It’s hard to move forward with goals when you only see what will go wrong. It’s hard to sing in public when you are so filled with anxiety you want to get sick. It’s hard to go into social gatherings worried about the interactions.

I have created a morning practice that helps me see more positively because most of us naturally look for the negatives and downsides. In the mornings after exercise, prayer and meditation I begin writing.

  • I write out my gratitudes. Not just the three or five things often touted in self-help books. I write 1-3 paragraphs of appreciation and gratitude.
  • I write at least one thing I am looking forward to today. If I don’t have anything, I plan something. It can be as small as reading a chapter in a novel, drinking hot cocoa wrapped in a blanket. Or Facebook chatting one of my friends.
  • I think of how I want to feel today: Serene, appreciative, radiant, connected, joyful, loving, patient, kind, giving. I pick 1-2 to concentrate on throughout the day.
  • I look over my weekly goals and write out my intentions – what I want to do, why I want to do them, how I want to be doing them. “I intend to edit my book with clarity and love.” I connect with how my goals will serve others.
  • I remember we are all connected.
  • I play with another prompt or two. Like I appreciate… I love…I am at peace with…I surrender…Wouldn’t it be nice if…I want…I desire…I choose…I am excited about…here are some good feeling thoughts…I am…I wish…My soul says…My heart wants…I accept… These prompts help me tap into inner wisdom.

I bring my notebook that holds these writings to peek at throughout the day. Even reading one line can change my energy from a downward spiral. Plus the more I look for the good, the more I see the good naturally.

I can feel all my feelings. And I actually have practices to do that as well. But, afterwards I like to bring myself back to gratitude, appreciation and possibility. This is where my energy and optimism dwell.


  • Carol Carver says:

    Lovely, Beth. Thank you for sharing from your heart.

  • Martha Lewis says:

    Wonderful guidance for you and for us all. Thank you, Beth. You are a blessing.

  • Beth Dargis says:

    Why thank you Carol and Martha.

  • Peggy says:

    This is really good, something to contemplate, print out, and put into practice. Thank you for sharing….

  • Beth Dargis says:

    You are so welcome, Peggy!

  • JC says:

    One way of not getting stuck in the depression and anxiety is to practice what Jim Harris (I think that’s his name) on YouTube and the author of the book, The Happiness Trap, calls non attachment to our thoughts. Thoughts are just thoughts, like you said. We can’t control them. We can observe them. But when we attach to them and pay them attention, they grow bigger and then bigger and more interesting and then eventually a different thought comes by and we get attached to it, and so come out from a depression or anxiety episode. But if we ignore the niggling of the little thought that depression or anxiety is here, then those things go away faster because we haven’t attached to them and grown to include them in ourselves. I am still practicing this, as it is a practice like meditation is just noticing the thoughts, non attachment is just not attaching to the thoughts, and it takes time and practice to learn the process and maintain the process. Just a thought from another person that is frequently stuck in depression and anxiety.

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