Saturday, October 17, 2009

Positively Misunderstood

Last week, one of John Stewart's guests on the Daily Show authored a book regarding the negative impact of positivity. I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but I was curious as to the reason this topic was felt to be relevant enough to write a book, so I watched and listened.

As it turned out, the author, who happens to be a breast cancer survivor had people in her life tell her to keep a bright outlook through her experience of cancer. My reaction was one of misguided.....regarding those that may have wanted to support the author with a positive outlook, without being aware of what she really needed at that time, and the author for now condemning the big picture of positive thought based on her experience of misguided positive supporters.

Being an unconditional advocate for joy and inner peace, it is my personal objective to meet all that comes along in my life without resistance, thus with peaceful acceptance rather than fear. Sometimes I succeed, like when I was diagnosed with cancer, and sometimes I fail. When I fail to see anything to be "happy" about, I cannot be convinced. What I need is to move through the emotions at my own pace.

What appears to have occurred in the experience of the author interviewed was that of being unheard or seen in a time of what was most likely very difficult, tainted her overall opinion of positive thought. What has created a negative response in this woman's case was of being drilled with positivity when what she truly needed was to be understood for what she actually was feeling.

Confused to be reading that last statement from the Queen of positive perspectives? Let me explain. What is true for any one of us in any given moment is what is "true". In other words, how we feel is what is true (at least in that moment). To have someone that does not feel the same "truth" try to cover up our "truth" with a sugar coating in the form of an invitation to "be happy", doesn't work.

So, how does someone who chooses to see the silver linings in life's clouds, interact with the rest of the world? For starters, be empathetic with the other person in a negative state of mind. Imagine what they may be feeling....In fact, ask them what they're feeling. It is not any one's job to convince someone to feel a different way, but rather to allow people to have their own emotional experience. By the same token, someone feeling peace in a situation that others do not, is not a reason to sell out on peace and be angry or depressed and match the majority.

As for those that agree with the author that positive thought is just plain harmful, I encourage you to look beyond the misplaced intentions of those that step on toes with positive speak. Positive thought can only be swallowed if you truly desire it and are ready to swallow it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Storm of Blessings

Today was my day for a six mile walk. I have a weekly schedule for alternate days of cardio or weight training and yoga. Today was a cardio day.

Before going off to work my husband gave me his condensed version of a weather report. "Could rain or possibly snow all day". Neither one sounded very good to me. I don't like being challenged by the elements when I exercise and I already had a three mile walk in the rain earlier this week.

By the time I was dressed and ready to head out the door, it had started to snow. The flakes were those little ones with hardly any space in know like rain drops that get a little fluffy as they fall from the sky.

I decided I would hope for the best...maybe this snow is just a little shower and the sun will come out by the time I reach the top of my first hill. That didn't happen. Soon after beginning my trek, I realized I had to come up with a positive perspective about this first (and premature) snow fall of the year, or it would be a very long six miles.

As my eyes scanned in front, back and to each side all I could see were snow flakes, softly touching the ground and then melting. I decided to see each snow flake as a representation of a blessing in my life. For awhile, I was correlating particular things I'm grateful for as I focused on individual flakes. Next, I thought about people in my life that were showing up as flakes. I gave those flakes names.

As I continued on my trek, my little game of appreciating this snow storm as a show of all that blesses me and all that is waiting for me, made my time through the country back roads especially enjoyable. When I was at the highest point of my trek, I could see for miles in three different directions. That expansive area was also filled with snowflake blessings. Since there were way too many to count, I then shifted into massive appreciation for the many blessings that have yet to come into my life.

I don't know what's coming next on my path....all I know is by today's experience the snowflakes predict a great life ahead with much to be grateful for. God was certainly having a great time giving me gifts today.

By the way, these snowflakes weren't meant just for me.....they're yours too. What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Letting Go, Making Space

Earlier today I experienced a sudden onset of inspiration mixed with energy for the particular task of cleaning out a double bookcase. This large bookcase with opened shelves and covered storage is somewhat of a focal point in our living room. Besides displaying lots of books, it also is a display area for framed photos, some little knick-knack do dads and behind the closed doors, a bunch of uninteresting stuff that accumulates over the years.

I have noticed my books have been looking disorganized and messy. I've grown tired of dusting old, outdated pictures of my nephews and of seeing a frowning face sculpture that my son made in eighth grade.

As I rearranged the books and accumulated a pile to give away, I noticed I was getting excited with seeing the space I was creating. A metaphor was developing before my eyes.

As I went through the things behind the doors that no one ever sees (including me), I wondered why I was saving it and how much freer I would feel if I didn't hold onto things I didn't need or want.

Stuff accumulates.... physical stuff on our shelves and also stuff in our minds. Some of the stuff of life that we hold onto like regrets, anger or guilt can take up a lot of room. We may not be fully aware that it's even there, yet it is taking up space in our minds and using our energy to manage it.

Clearing out, letting go and making space for what we truly want to fill our shelves, as well as our minds, will surely make for a lighter, freer feeling life. Ahhhhhh......who doesn't want that?