While walking our puppy, a neighbor observed that I was waiting on my four-legged friend to do some serious sniffing before we continued on our way. He smiled at us and playfully asked, “Who is walking whom?,” to which I laughed and replied, “He definitely likes to think he’s in charge.”
The neighbor’s question lingered with me long after our encounter. It stayed with me not because I was concerned about our dog’s habits; rather, it prompted me to ask myself, “Who is leading whom?” in the context of my thoughts.
In our current climate of extreme uncertainty, it is painfully easy to fall prey to anxiety-provoking thinking. Entertaining just one “What if…” thought can send us down a rabbit hole of potential doom and gloom that inevitably causes the release of stress hormones and makes us feel completely untethered.
Fortunately, an antidote to this viral mind activity exists—exercising the art of discernment.
Just as many people are advising that we limit or make good choices about the news we consume these days as an essential element of self care, it is equally important to make good choices about which thoughts we take for a walk, if you will.
By being selective about the thoughts we give significant energy, we can cultivate thinking patterns that serve us well. Consequently, how well you practice discernment over your thoughts determines “Who is walking whom” in your mind.
In essence then, it’s important to put a leash on your thoughts as they ultimately can affect your overall well-being!
It’s often easier to be discerning about more mundane topics, such as what is your favorite comfort snack. For example, while recently indulging in a food that makes rare appearances in our pantry—Trader Joe’s organic animal crackers—my teenage son and I extolled the virtues of these delights, which we deem simply the best animal crackers around.
They are, in our opinion, so superior that if for some bizarre reason we were offered a large quantity of complimentary animal crackers of any other type, we strongly agreed that our reply would be an automatic “No, thank you.” That’s remarkable discernment!
Our other family members enjoyed a good laugh about our discerning taste in animal crackers, but the moment proved quite poignant for me. Beyond sharing a silly, heartwarming exchange (and special snack) with my teenager, I was inspired to connect the significance of my neighbor’s dog-walking comment with the power of discernment.
Granted, thinking extensively about animal crackers may not correlate to strong discernment to you, but it certainly can be more valuable to choose lighter thoughts over troublesome “what if”-type of thoughts to help maintain overall health.
So, enjoy a discerning walk—with your mind—and you’ll be able to tell your neighbors who walks whom.
If you need support around leashing your thoughts, contact me! During this time, I’m offering limited free coaching sessions. Let’s see where a walk together takes us.