You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘positivity’ category.

Photo by Florian Dornauer on Unsplash

I really wish I were one of those people who dreamed at night of traveling to Tuscany, or of dancing on Broadway. Perhaps skydiving into the Grand Canyon. When I dream, it’s fairly jejune (love that word. It’s so fancy, for meaning something so dull!) although I do often receive what I consider to be words from Providence.

Just little reminders of what I already know but haven’t really taken to heart.

Here’s what I read last night:

You don’t plant weeds in your garden on purpose.

You don’t drink poison from a glass.

If you could pour regret into a glass and see it, you’d realize it was poison. You wouldn’t voluntarily drink it if it smelled noxious and tasted worse.

As I thought of something painful from the past just this morning, I realized that my stomach was in a knot. That’s when it occurred to me. Maybe that spare tire we all carry around our midriffs is really something else: Regret Storage. Poisonous pain we were meant to let go of, but held on to, and as a result, it seeped into our souls.

When I realized that thinking of painful things from the past was causing pain in my gut as I was standing there in the kitchen, I stopped thinking about those things. The pain went away. Right away. If only it were always that easy!

But at least I can remind myself that it’s more important to feel good and live well now than to deconstruct the past. I can’t change what happened, but I can decide that I won’t give away my joy to someone or something that has already hurt me once.

That’s why they call the present a gift. You can unwrap it afresh every day.

Advertisements

Photo by Alex on Unsplash

This morning, I found myself thinking of the things in need of repair in my house. Clogged sink. Broken fence. Electrical issues. That led me to ponder all the things I’ve yet to accomplish in my life.

It occurred to me that dwelling on things I don’t have is counterproductive. The weight of absence and lack takes up space in your soul, leaving no room for good things yet to come. And those you already have.

Counting your current blessings is recruitment for future blessings.

My favorite popcorn movies were on t.v. today. The Day After Tomorrow, followed by Kate and Leopold. These might seem like small things to count as blessings, but they came at the exact moment they were needed.

Every problem can be broken down into two parts: The burden and the blessing.

It’s bitterly cold outside. That’s the burden. We’re inside with the heat on, wearing comfy sweaters. That’s the blessing.

There are things in need of repair in my house. That’s the burden. They’re not so urgent that we can’t wait to get them fixed. That’s the blessing.

One of my pairs of shoes has worn down and they have no arch support. That’s the burden. But as I said, one of my pairs of shoes… I have other shoes. That’s the blessing.

Every problem in life contains those two parts. The burden and the blessing. Sometimes shifting focus toward the good in life is just a matter of degree.

Travel guru, Rick Steves, tells the story of why he decided to donate his retirement “nest egg” to house homeless women and children. In the 90s, he decided to buy a building complex to help the community. In time, the buildings became uninhabitable due to mold.

“To me, this was actually good mold. God was in that mold. After much thought the right move became clear. I’d tear down the duplexes and replace them with four­plexes, doubling the people I could house and creating a little community I’d call Trinity Way.”

God was in that mold.

Today, I had to contact a company’s customer service about an issue, and I felt myself tensing as I was talking. I had to remind myself that the outcome would not have been improved had I screamed at the representative on the phone.

In the end, I’d say that I wasn’t completely calm, but I didn’t blow my stack. The best I could achieve was to be tight but polite. And that was enough in that moment. Tight but polite.

In Don Miguel Ruiz’ The Four Agreements, he writes:

“Always Do Your Best – Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick.  Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse, and regret.”

In the case of Rick Steves’ vision to house the homeless, maybe that mold was an obstacle that led to a miracle. A blockage that turned into a blessing. Things may not always go as you’ve planned, but sometimes detours lead to a better destination.

Heading into the new year, just a gentle reminder that, no matter who we meet, we’re always talking to God in human form. Sometimes, he even morphs into mold.

It seems funny that I’m telling people to connect face-to-face when so much of my work is online.  Sadly, I think that the problem is that screens make it to easy for us to forget that behind that opinion is a human being.  We want to slap down that discouraging, hate-filled image so we post something that is often no less hate-filled.

My recommendation?  Before you comment, think about the person behind the post.  Would you say this to his or her face?  And I’m not asking if you have the nerve to be a punk.  That’s nothing today.

Do you have the nerve to say the hard thing that needs to be said but say it out of love?  Do you have the nerve to see this person as a fellow child of God and still say “I’m sorry but your behavior?  Your words, right here?  Not acceptable.”

We need that human connection.  Some of us get it face to face.  Admittedly that is the easiest.

But inclement weather and illness can get in the way of that person-to-person contact.  When that happens, remember – behind that image, behind that opinion is a broken, fallible child of God.  Truly connect.

–SueBE

This one’s gonna be different. Don’t we tell ourselves that every year? Don’t we start out with enthusiasm, with actual, resolute resolutions that by gum we are going to follow through on? Aren’t we certain that we can cast off the shadow of the previous 365 days simply because the date on the calendar now has a new number attached to it?

Well, don’t we?

I submit that the new year is a fraud, a sham, a flim-flam, a bamboozlement. A year can’t change things. Only we can. And it’s harder to do than a simple resolution might convey. To change one’s self fundamentally requires radical thinking and aggressive discarding of old thoughts, habits, and relationships. Most of us won’t ever do it. We’re too comfortable as we are. Only the most terrible and unexpected events — natural disaster, death, fatal illness — are enough to shock us out of complacency. And then, perhaps, only temporarily.

So…what to do with 2018 and its bright, shiny promises of change and renewal? Start small. Change one way of thinking. Give yourself a mantra — “first impressions are always wrong” for instance — to nip a habit of snap judgment in the bud. Or start each morning by doing one new thing: making your bed, trying a new stretch or simply saying, “I will be open to new possibilities today.” Repeated actions have a tendency to work their ways into our lives in ways we cannot foresee.

Or take up reading a new blog regularly. Work your way one chapter at a time through the bible. Smile at people you don’t know and won’t see again. Anything that might trigger a new, green sprout of thinking, a tiny revelation, an awkward step in a new direction.

And if it all falls apart, don’t berate yourself. January first isn’t the only day for changes. You can do that on February third, April 17th, or November 30th. You can do it anytime. Let yourself be open to nudges and signs and questions. Sometimes that’s the most essential part of change.

If we each turn ourselves one degree, together we can make a revolution — literally and figuratively.

It seems that even when a news story is about this wonderful time of year, it turns dark somehow. Christmas: Overspending Nightmare! Financial Ruin and Crass Materialism, Dead Ahead!

Lest we forget, this is a joyous and blessed season. No need to focus on the negative.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 NIV

Right next to all the bad news out there, I found some uplifting stories for the holiday.

A mother reported to the police that her son was missing, only to find out that he had secretly gotten a job so he could earn money to buy her a Christmas present. “I just wanted to do something for my mama,” he said.

Three-year-old Esme had been unable to walk until she had an operation. Her parents took her to see Santa and she told him, “Look Santa, I can walk!”

After surviving Hurricane Harvey, Scruffy the deaf dog had trouble finding a forever home. Ashley Pieterse came into the dog rescue and said, “We want you. You’re ours,” and took him home in time for Christmas.

Never forget: there’s just as much good going on the world as there is bad. You just have to curate carefully through the weeds to get to the flowers.

Here’s wishing all of you dear readers a joyous holiday and a happy, healthy new year!

ray

I’ll never get these Christmas cards ready in time.

I’m not done shopping.

I’ve got to start making the cookie dough.  Start!

It is so easy to let negative thoughts tumble around in your mind. The problem is that once they take over there, they start to color how you see the world.

You forget that you’ve looped a friend who is going through a divorce into a new group of friends.  That you finished rewriting a book and turned it in.  That you’ve got a really good idea for an inspirational how-to for writers.

All of that falls by the wayside.

But when you beautify your inner dialogue, you start to see what is positive.  You note what you’ve done right.  You see the talents of those around you.  You remember that they too are children of good, carrying his light into the world.

Not bad for something that started out by getting rid of some of those negative thoughts.

–SueBE

This website detailing the spacecraft, Cassini’s, orbit around Saturn really fascinated me. So much time and effort went into the NASA mission, and the pictures are amazing. Now, I’m not a scientist – I just play one on television – so I tend to read technical articles like this from my own perspective.

Interesting Tidbit
Cassini lasted for twenty years in space before running out of fuel.

Cranky-Pants Observation
That means auto manufacturers here on Earth can darn well design a car that you don’t need to fill up with gas every week.

I Did Not Know This
Titan, a moon of Saturn, is covered in lakes of liquid methane.

Potential Cottage Industry
Ron Popeil may consider setting up a Nose-Plug Kiosk at Titan’s front door.

The probe has revealed much about Saturn, and the scientists reminded us, “Data from several instruments might reveal something completely unexpected.”

This is true of life’s trials, too, although it’s hard to see when we’re going through it.

One nugget of truth I learned the hard way is that people in pain just aren’t themselves. Dealing with physical pain or emotional issues can be wearing.

This is a long way to travel to make a point, but next time someone in your life is acting up and it’s out of character, remember: nobody lives in a Steady State all the time. Sometimes they experience a Big Bang of anger or depression. A little patience goes a long way, and there’s space enough for all of us.

This past week we’ve been watching a series that my husband and I used to watch when we were in college.  Due South is about a Canadian Mounty who ends up in Chicago.  He makes friends with a mediocre Chicago cop.  Half of the show is all about the contrasts between the “Canadian Boy Scout” and the cop. Let’s just say that the Mounty is an endless source of kindness.

And the thing that makes you smile?  Ninety percent of the time, he gets kindness back even from the jaded people he encounters while investigating a crime. One junior criminal even ends up “dog sitting” his husky/wolf.

I’m far from a Polly Anna but right now, this is what I need to see.  Someone being nice because it is the right thing to do.  And watching how it turns situations and people around.

Not that I expect any of us to be as kind as a fictional character.  But if we each did something kind every day, don’t you think the world would be a more beautiful place?

–SueBE

%d bloggers like this: