Theodore Roosevelt advised that if you believe you can, you’re halfway there.
Plenty of the most exciting new neuroscience on the power of the brain stands behind this folk wisdom. It’s certainly worthwhile to take a moment now and again to pull out your belief drawer and empty its contents to see what’s there. Spread your beliefs out like coins and ticket stubs on the floor in front of you and examine them one by one. Keep those that serve you and toss the rest in order to make room for a few new ones as you go.
I opened my belief drawer recently and was both affirmed and surprised by what I discovered.
I believe in letting the soft animal of your body love what it loves (thank you, Mary Oliver).
I believe in children.
I believe that yoga is a practice not a “perfect.”
I believe in being more generous all the time.
I believe showing up on my mat helps me show up in my writing (and my life).
I believe I can finish my novel—and this amazes me.
I believe in the necessity of sex, and the otherworldly dimension of lovemaking.
I believe in the sweet ache of sore muscles.
I believe learning to breathe, and especially learning the long exhale, has made me a better person.
I believe in the earth’s miracles: tall trees, saplings, overgrown gardens, empty fields, open skies, craggy ravines and dirt roads, mountains, creek beds and sage, paths of pine needles, Lake Superior, ocean waves, white sand, hard winds, cool rains, peaches and new green grass.
I believe in friends.
I believe in second chances. And third and fourth and …
I believe in forgiveness.
I believe in dental floss with a white-hot passion.
I believe that words have magic powers. Literally.
I believe becoming a mother and loving my children saved my life.
I believe—foolishly, naively, even crazily—that we can fix the most terrible problems.
I believe in a slice of lime in a glass of ice cold Perrier.
I believe in wild raspberries.
I believe in the uncombed hair of toddlers.
I believe in sweat.
I believe that the resonant layers of human voice joined together in song can heal almost everything.
I believe in the bready, hot smell of a summer day.
I believe that when art stops making you cry, this is an emergency.
I believe in little kisses.
I believe in contentment.
I believe in autumn afternoons and long walks in red sweaters.
I believe—with the innocence and enthusiasm of a child—in every new anti-aging cream, potion, supplement and gadget I discover.
I believe the phase of sleeping with apple cider vinegar in my hair was a bad idea.
I believe in green smoothies.
I believe my husband means it when he promises he’ll outlive me so I can die in his arms.
I believe I’ve tried my damndest so far in this life, with mostly good intentions even if the outcomes have sometimes been calamitous.
I believe in change.
I believe the best is yet to come.
I believe the poet Sara Teasdale when she says, “Life has loveliness to sell, buy it and never count the cost/For one white singing hour of peace, count many a year of strife well lost.”