Sleepless Nights at the Little Shack

"Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results." 

-Willie Nelson

" A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results."

-Wade Boggs

"A strong, positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug." 

-Patricia Neal   

The last month or so I have only been getting an hour or two of sleep, likely caused by some of life's challenges. I go into the night outside and sit for a while, and the moon, the stars and the orchestra of bullfrogs, crickets and lightning bugs move me to thoughts of events from my past.

I was watching the full moon one night, and I remembered as a child being frightened after a relative's death, imagining that I saw a ghost in my closet. I would have so much trouble going to sleep! One night my mother came in and asked, "Why aren't you sleeping?"

I replied, "There is a ghost in my closet!" She went to the open door and showed me a white shirt that was glowing from the moonlight filtered in through the window blinds. She then told me a story. She was in a MASH unit during the World War II Battle of the Bulge. The front lines were not well defined, and the German and American armies were fighting above and behind her unit. She had finally gone to bed after a long day of surgery, and she woke up in the middle of the night in terror to a light shining through her tent! She was sure it was the Germans, and that they had broken through another line. After what to her seemed to be an eternity, she realized it was just the moonlight shining through the canvas wall.

After hearing her tale, I have never experienced fear in the same way again. Of course, I have gotten older, but my imagination of fearful possibilities has gone from a ghost in the closet or monsters under the bed to bills in the mailbox or urgent health matters. What has changed is me taking the reins on my negative imagination and replacing it with a clear affirmation that I can meet any possibilities with the determination that I will meet them with an acceptable solution. I substitute that negative imagining thought with a winning outcome.

A courageous example of this is Alex Trebek, host of the game show Jeopardy, who was recently diagnosed with 4th stage pancreatic cancer. He wrote to a fan who was seeking words of encouragement from him for her grandmother given the same challenging medical news: "XXXX, let’s you and I decide that we both are going to be cancer survivors. Stay positive. All the best! " Now that's what I call right thinking! Not surprisingly, In a new interview with People magazine, Mr. Trebek says that some of the tumors have now shrunk by more than 50 percent and that, according to doctors, he's "near remission." "It's kind of mind-boggling," he says. "The doctors said they hadn't seen this kind of positive result in their memory."

Practicing substitution of negative thinking also works with personal habits you may have. I found this practice helped me stop a three-pack-a-day cigarette habit 35 years ago! The key word here is"practice"— this does take time. No matter how old we are, substituting one line of thought that we want to change with another will work once it becomes ingrained in your way of living.                                                                                                  .                                                                             Goodwill and Positive thoughts to all!