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An online commenter called the paparazzi “sacrophytes” and I’d never heard the term, so I Googled it. It turns out that there is a similar word, “saprophyte,” which is defined as: organisms, particularly fungi, which obtain nutrients directly from dead organic matter. An example would be mold on bread.

Over-analysis kicked in. Wait a minute. Don’t we humans get our nutrients from dead organic matter? Are we saprophytes?!? Aaah! It sounds awful.

On the other hand, since it’s such a scientific-sounding name, I could put that on my resume and it would sound impressive. For many years, I was an Advanced Saprophyte, specializing in the genus, “malus” in the variety of “plantae.” That’s just apple and plant in English.

But another search result took me at my word. Even though the word I’d typed in was incorrect, it really did a deep dive into what it felt I was searching for.

Showing page 1. Found 0 sentences matching phrase “sacrophyte”. Found in 0 ms. Translation memories are created by humans, but computer aligned, which might cause mistakes. They come from many sources and are not checked. Be warned.

Translation memories. Hmm.This was obviously a computer-generated response, but such an unexpected insight into the human psyche: “Be warned.” That computer really sounded human!

Is it possible that, in looking back on painful memories, we may actually be interpreting them incorrectly? Could it be that we don’t remember what happened, but how we felt about it, and that colors our memory of it?

Let’s let bygones be bygones. That is, say “bye” to the past and let it be gone. You did your best. It’s okay to put it to rest. There’s nothing left to translate or interpret. Just you, the road ahead and Providence over your shoulder.

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I’d like to nominate a horse named Jenny to run for some elective office.

Why? Here are the top five reasons.

  1. Horses run well.
  2. She’s always been a good “neigh”-bor.
  3. She won’t give you some line of BS. (Because she’s not a bull. She is, however, a horse, so there will be a different kind of “S”. Sorry. Here’s a wetnap for your shoe.)
  4. She’s out standing in the field. Most of the day, chewing on grass.
  5. The other candidates are lame. I’m not suggesting we do to them what is (sadly) done to lame horses. I’m saying, let’s get an actual horse to take the victory lap.

When you feel clenched as you think about a problem, that’s actually the time to stop thinking about that problem. Just for now. I know you’ve got to address it, but right now, you’ve reached the point where you’re not doing yourself any good.

So leave the room. Exhale. Focus on something light and pleasant. Think about Jenny, the horse who takes a walk every day by herself in Frankfurt, Germany. Her owner, now 79, is unable to ride anymore, so he attached this note to her: “My name is Jenny. I didn’t run away. I’m just walking.” Neighbors are used to seeing her and treat her like a celebrity. There’s even one picture of Jenny kissing a baby in a stroller, just like any politician would.

Take your mind off of that problem that’s got you feeling clenched like a fist.

Pivot to something pleasant. Later, or tomorrow, or maybe next week, you’ll come back to the situation, fully refreshed, and a solution will present itself like an unexpected gift.

Would you rather:

🔲Take a lawn chair and sit by a landfill.

Or

✅Sit on the beach by the ocean.

🔲Dangle your feet in a brackish swamp by the sewage plant.

Or

✅Skim stones across a crystal lake on a spring day.

Negativity is corrosive to the soul. If you could see it, smell it, experience it in living color, you’d run for your life. But we can’t see it for the pile of stinking garbage it is, so it seeps and creeps into our minds before we know it.

When I woke up this morning, I felt the weight of three issues on the horizon to do with money, health and my son’s well-being.

Sat for some time with my internal Catastrophe Planning Advisor and he offered this sage word of advice:

Panic! 😨

But it hasn’t happened yet.  So why experience it until it does?

It’s like an installment plan of pain. Act now and you, too, can feel bad before the bad thing happens!

Set of guilt-Ginsu-knives that stab me in the back as I try to improve my life? Nah! You’re not here to offer me a fortune from a Nigerian prince. You’re here to steal my peace and make me focus on the problem instead of a plan.

If you could look these negative, nagging thoughts in the face, you’d see they’re lost little souls filled with fear. Look out! Last time you tried to change your life, it didn’t work out. Just stay in your lane. Sure you’re not happy with the way things are but what if you make it worse?

Feel bad less today. Take worrying off your to-do list. Just nix one dark thought and you’ll feel better. The yesness of life is always present, but you have to stop saying no so much to allow yes to find you.

Listen. So it didn’t work out before. Adjust your approach and try again. Face the problem, make a plan, move ahead. This is not a limited time offer. You can sign up for yesness at any point in your life. Why not today?

This phrase in the Bible shows up more than once: “And it came to pass.”

I’ve always taken that tiny snippet of Scripture as inspiration.

Here’s why: it didn’t come to stay. It came to pass!

Whatever it is in your life that’s holding you back, getting you down, tearing you up. It came here for a reason. And it’s just for a season.   

Even though I reside on the sunny side of the street, we’ve all been down that dark alley. I’ve learned some things that have helped me stay in a positive frame of mind.

Tell but don’t dwell. Tell your story but don’t dwell on the pain of the past.

Follow but don’t wallow. Follow your heart and share what you’ve been through so others know they’re not alone, but don’t wallow in the negative emotions of it.

Make sure it’s useful and truthful. It’s not helpful – to you or those around you – to talk trash about your ex or go into gory detail about the ways life hasn’t been fair to you. It is helpful to be human about it. Here’s something I’ve been through. Maybe it’s happened to you, too. Let’s share what we’ve learned from it, and if it’s still in our life, how to deal with it.

Bask in the positive. You learned from it, lived through it, found a way to rise above.

Be in the present. The past is a springboard. It may have refined you, but it doesn’t define you.

Moving forward with optimism is the antidote to a painful past. No matter what your life may have been like before, every new day is a chance to start again.

 

Fresh StartIt’s a new year, and news programs are showing a retrospective of the previous year’s events. In a way, we do that to ourselves, thinking of all the things that have gone wrong, and making resolutions so we don’t make the same mistakes again.

Here’s what I think. Regret is a residue. A remnant of a time that no longer exists.

You wouldn’t feel sad if someone handed you a fossil and said, Here’s a rock from the Mesozoic Era. You’d say, Cool! An interesting artifact. After the fascination wears off, you’d think, Kay then. Can I sell it on e-Bay?

Guilt is a vice. By that I mean, of course, it’s a bad thing, but it’s also a grip that doesn’t let go until you pry it loose. It should be regarded as just as lethal as all the other vices that take hold of us: smoking, drinking to excess, drug abuse. Guilt takes years off of your life and takes the life out of your years.

If you harnessed all the energy wasted on guilt and regret, you might find you’re actually some kind of superhero!

You say you’re a stockbroker? Now you’re NumberGirl! Conquering the indecipherable industry of derivatives and diversification!  

A plumber? Now you’re ClogKing! Clearing clogs like nobody’s business! Making showerheads run at optimum speed!

Look out world!!

Well, that… or maybe you’ll just have enough zhoosh still left in your soul’s holster that you can create the kind of prayerful, peaceful life that was your heart’s desire all along.

Your life awaits, my liege! It’s yours for the taking. This is a brand spanking new year. What are you waiting for?

The other day, my laptop stopped working. It had no power at all; just a black screen and silence. At the computer repair shop, the technician took out the battery, plugged in the cord and pressed the power button for several seconds. It turned on and I nearly fainted with relief.

He explained that, rarely, a computer may reach a point where there is so much energy being used that it just calls it a day.  It shuts down and leaves town.

Oddly enough, on the day before my laptop died, I had my own it’s-all-too-much moment. Things started to weigh on my spirit and I had quite a cry. Later, I realized that I had been thinking of negative things, some of which had happened years ago.

It was like taking a virtual tour of old, bad neighborhoods that don’t even exist anymore. Like walking through the remains of a factory that makes obsolete things, like Square Wheels, or Maps for Men. (Just kidding, males of the species! Nothing but love for ya.☺)

There really is no benefit in re-hashing things that were unfair, wrong, or hurtful. The people who did those evil deeds will have to answer for their own bad behavior, but you have the right to let go of what’s wrong. In fact, you have an obligation to your own soul to release what doesn’t serve you. Staying locked into that one location in time is like saying, I don’t want to move forward. I don’t want to feel good. I don’t want to live well.

Focusing attention on what you don’t want means you’re not scanning the horizon for blessings already headed your way. It means you might miss the good life that wants to find you, because the bad life of the past has filled the parking spaces earmarked for joy, warmth, and camaraderie.

It may be time to hit “refresh.” Visualize your life, exactly as you want it to be, in living color. Think of it as a palate-cleanser for the soul.

You’ll find that this choice comes in some form every day:

□Lightness/levity

□Darkness/despair

Do you know what happens to misery when you finally decide to obsess less and say yes to what will bless? In no time at all, it has join Elvis, who – as you know – has left the building. Yep, it shuts down and leaves town.

Center me, Lord,
as I bob and weave,
thrust and parry.

If I just stop these motions of conflict,
I might find the war is already over.

Calm me, Lord,
as I hold onto hurts
and antique grudges.

If I put the past behind me and stay in today,
I might just find the present really is a gift.

Craft me, Lord,
as I haggle with You
to remain where I am.

If I put my life in Your Hands,
I might just find I’m becoming more
than I ever imagined I could be.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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