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What are you thinking?

Well, these days (by which I mean the last nine) things have gotten crazy. I have to admit to you, dear reader, it has been hard for me to avoid politics since the inauguration. And hard to avoid Facebook. And Twitter, and television, and newspapers and on and on. I have had so many reactions to what I've seen and heard that I feel like my head is spinning. And I know I am not alone. Many of us, on every side of the many issues, are feeling overwhelmed.

But then I realized that I've been doing a lot of reacting, not choosing. When we simply react, we are not in control of ourselves. I reflected back on the wisdom of these words:

Watch your thoughts, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

This is where mindfulness comes in. The first step is to realize that you are reacting to something. When you do that, then you get to open the space between stimulus and response. You get to take a moment -- or longer, if that's what you need to do -- to figure out what you think and decide how to respond. You resume control of yourself and, therefore, of a situation.

In these times of unrelenting input, it can be very hard to sort through all the noise. There are comments, articles, tweets, opinions, persuasions, spin and instant messages everywhere. It may feel like you have to fire back or your voice will not be heard. To co-opt one of the current memes, I suggest you RESIST. That is, resist your own impulse to just react. Open that space. Take a moment. Or several. Or longer. You get to choose your next step. You do not have to simply react. Not ever. Knowing this is like a having a magic spell that you can cast upon yourself as you breathe, take control and choose intentionally.

When your thoughts are considered, then your words become more impactful. And words matter. Choose your words thoughtfully, mindfully and with care. When you do, you'll see that your habits, your character, indeed your entire life will begin to unfold in alignment with who you want to be, who you are and who you become.

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