CHOOSE THE THOUGHTS THAT ARE THE MOST USEFUL.

I just returned from a weekend trip to Alexandria, about four hours from my home. I sing with Shades of Praise, New Orleans' interracial gospel choir, and somewhere along the line, I became a soloist. That's rather amazing for someone from Buffalo, NY, with Jewish ancestry, raised a Christian Scientist, who now practices meditation in fellowship with a church of all religions. As a gospel singer, I do my best. Sometimes I hit the notes clear and bright, and sometimes I'm merely "an actor who sings."

As I reflect on my performances this past weekend, I have a clear choice of what to remember. I can consider the nice compliments I received from parishioners and choir members, or I can perseverate about my sour notes. If I choose to accept and recognize the positives I brought to the performance, I feel fully happy and grateful. If I choose to concentrate on my limitations and perceived failures, I feel a driven shame that ties into a core lie about my own unworthiness.

Just like anyone else, I can't be talked out of the destructive choice. Core lies are deep rooted and can't be rejected with plain logic. But what I can do is decide which of the dueling thoughts in my mind to accept. The choice is obvious: I am fine the way I am. I am grateful for the contribution that I was able to make. It's the exact same as the binary choice between Living Yes or Dying No.

But sometimes, when the core lie takes hold, it's not clear which thoughts to believe. There are a few simple techniques for choosing to Live Yes:

  1. Do your work (such as the exercises in Living Yes)
  2. Practice acceptance and zero expectations
  3. Use this cognitive theory touchstone:

CHOOSE THE THOUGHTS THAT ARE THE MOST USEFUL.

For me, the thought of singing flat brings me down and does not serve much use. But the thought of doing my part and being a "bubbly" performer (thank you, David), lift my spirit. Right now, in this context, that latter thought is useful.

Look at your own thoughts. Toss the useless ones. Keep the useful ones.

CHOOSE THE THOUGHTS THAT ARE THE MOST USEFUL.


Here's what's coming up!

BIG NEWS: The Living Yes Workbook is almost complete! It will be available periodically for free at www.LivingYes.org. (Of course, there's more about the book, Living Yes, a Handbook For Being Human on the site.)

These photos are not from this past weekend. The first was with a youth choir from Northern Ireland at Trinity Church New Orleans and the second was outside at a wedding in audubon park.