Late July ... It's that time of summer, isn't it?

The freshness of the season has worn off,

the air thick and hot,

the grass browning at the edges,

the flower gardens blooming with both goodness and weeds,

the bugs out.

I was thinking about a Thomas A Kempis quote recently while elbow-deep in the itchy process of separating flower from weed in my overflowing garden.

A Kempis said: "Fight like a man. Habit is overcome by habit."

As I untwisted weeds that had wound around the life-giving stem of my flowering phlox I started to ponder which habits of the summer had wound around my life in such a way that they were squeezing the life right out of me.

One in particular stood out - the habit of listening to cable TV news during the day when I am working around my house. It started during the epic and horrifying/fascinating election season and hung on, like many bad habits do, well past its time.

It was time to untangle bad from good.

It was time to fight like a (wo)man.

It was time to overcome habit by habit.

So, I told a few trusted friends my plan and then simply turned the tv off as I made supper or did dishes or folded laundry.

My new habit? Classical music, interesting and uplifting podcasts or the beautiful deep well of silence.

What have I noticed in the past week or so?

A clearer mind.

Time to think and pray and be still.

A sharpened ability to notice.

More mental and emotional space.

A sense of peace about the world, not based on ignorance or closed eyes, but on a renewed sense of priority about what deserves my attention and a sharp refusal to buy into the lie that everything is "BREAKING NEWS!"

A Kempis is right - putting a new, healthy habit in place of the old is powerful stuff.

This is the best way to fight.

When I am working from home, I simply turn on KUNI-classical and let it fill my mind and soul with beauty, power, and everything good.

Cable news pales in comparison.

My weeding is paying off.

A new habit is overcoming an old.

Tommy A Kempis would be proud.