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  • Writer's pictureDr. Joyce Brown

Processing Thought, by Dr. Joyce Brown

Photo by Anastasia Nelen on Unsplash

"An idle mind is the devil's workshop." The phrase warns us that evil thoughts can enter our minds easily when we are lazy and idle. Idleness has never been a problem for me. Instead, I am often consumed with multiple projects, readings, and investigations of various thought-provoking events. Effective community change strategies demand attention to detailed instructions and overall goal achievement. The author/project designer and team must think about the skills available and additional human and financial resources necessary to achieve favorable outcomes. Constantly reimaging inputs and outputs leading to change is a delicate but necessary activity.

Thoughts must ultimately lead to action. Taking on multiple projects with moving deadlines can cause confusion, disjointed behaviors, and a lack of concentration. Losing focus on what's important and missing critical deadlines causes problems for others. Too often, our communities have suffered setbacks because the action designer's planning process failed to consider critical aspects of change, such as burn-out, apathy, resistance to leadership, or defections. Although leaders envision the desired change, more thought should be dedicated to contingency planning, desertions, or competition from competing groups. Learning to cross boundaries and segment the work without considering who gets the credit can result in the desired change or community benefit. And in the end, community change is the desired goal.

The same thought processes are relevant in other aspects of our lives and development. In fact, when we establish clear ways of thinking through issues, we function optimally. When I moved from gainful employment to working on manuscript deadlines, craft projects, or health care assistance for friends or loved ones, when I need to collect my thoughts to reconcile disparate pieces of information and choose a new path, I return to one of my solitary pursuits where my thoughts can flow freely and succinctly without being forced into blaming and complaining.

The past three years, amid an enforced staycation, sifting through the barrage of news, propaganda, and personal tragedies happening all too frequently, I encouraged myself to slow down and focus. I recalled when people asked, "What would Jesus do?"

They asked us to embark on a simpler life. Get in touch with our personal beliefs, the acknowledgment of our faith walks, and the potential for good or evil in each of us. Other than prayer, our framers asked us to help the oppressed, sow into others in meaningful ways that are not self-aggrandizing, stop excessive worrying, and adhere to the Golden Rule.

Rather than focusing on what's been lost, like theatre, intimate dinner parties, or impromptu gatherings to discuss what elected officials, clergy, and school administrators should be doing, my thoughts refocused on the opportunities to become creative and complete those projects that bring me joy. I've retrained myself to think while unleashing my creativity.

When immersing myself in crafting or cooking, my shoulders drop from around my ears to where they belong. The tension between my shoulder blades relaxes, and I enter a contented zone. Eventually, those earlier jumbled thoughts, nuggets of information, past practices, and even missteps swirling just below the surface are ready to announce themselves. With clarity and release of disruptive negative thoughts, logical solutions result in the completion of agreed-upon tasks that are thoughtfully rendered and appropriate to the setting, even when I squeak in under the deadline.

Whatever my thought process, my mind, in its Infinite mechanism, goes to work, decoding fact from fiction, finding links and associations, testing theories, discarding unnecessary data, and presenting options that might not have seemed feasible earlier.

What thoughts can translate into actionable items? What thoughts can become seeds for blessing others? What thoughts can quiet my spirit rather than obsess? Eventually, clarity comes to my jumbled thoughts, and I'm ready to take positive action. And as a bonus, I may have written a new book or created several new wreaths during the thought process.


Joyce A. Brown is a motivational speaker and author who uses her creative energy to give voice and meaning to the challenges women face in all walks of life. She grew up in Rockford, Illinois in a household of strong women, but her professional career expanded her reach into Peoria and Battle Creek, Michigan. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and has served as a direct services worker, executive director, program director for a major foundation, and entrepreneur. Joyce has experienced many uplifting moments as a professional and as a dedicated parent and strives to bring those events and lessons to life through her characters in the contemporary fiction novels she pens. Visit her Author’s Page

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