Philosopher Paul Brunton encouraged people to "be content to plant seed-thoughts, and wait and work patiently, knowing and believing in the inherent power of true ideas to grow in their proper time into mature, fruitful existence." In I Am Thinking My Life, Allysun Atwater gives us an enlivening child's-eye view of this imperturbable cultivation.
Atwater — an educator, author, and non-practicing attorney — wrote this book while struggling with a chronic illness. In her Author's Note, she writes that the changes she needed to make to accommodate illness made her feel "as if I had to start over at square one" and that, rebuilding her life, "I found hope in my own power to dream, envision, and nurse my ideas and goals into reality." Her hefty motivation gives this book something way beyond the ordinary I-can-be-whoever-I-want-to-be variety, which may have some merit but can come across as detached from people's actual challenges and heartaches.
The unnamed narrator, a brown-skinned girl with wide eyes and colorful beads in her hair, tells us, "I am creating a universe. I am communicating with the world." Illustrator Stevie Lewis brings these ideas alive as the girl constructs a city with her blocks, toy cars, and miniature creatures. We then get to see inside the city: how it feels to the girl from within her imagination. The buildings she put together are all around her; the creatures are striding down the streets; and she herself has one hand raised to the heavens, the other lowered to the earth, a look of concentration and delight on her face, as if she's centrally instrumental in manifesting all this ... which indeed, she is.
Later, she sculpts a dancing figure of who she wants to become, and on the next page we see this being behind her as her future, full-grown, radiant, joyful self:
"I am sculpting my world. I am clay. I am motion. I am light."
The book acknowledges storms, thunderclouds, and tears. It also recognizes that "even though it's difficult, I search and search inside myself and ... There it is!" A brilliant star blazes through the darkness on the accompanying page.
The book emphasizes the power of creativity, imagination, and lovingkindness focused both inward and outward. The reading-age range is listed as three to seven years old, but all of us can benefit from the book's energy of positive intention as we consider how to embody this phrase:
"I breathe meaning into my life through my thoughts and then my actions."