Monday, October 20, 2008

The Bright Side of Life


I was grocery shopping today when I noticed I was making a small jingling bell sound. In my cloth shopping bag I found a little bell on a ribbon. It must have come from one of my daughters stuffed animals. I decided to leave the bell in the bag and continued to walk around jingling. If anyone looked at me funny, I thought I'd tell them I have to wear a bell because I like to sneak up on birds and then I'd give them a crooked smile and demand pie. Because nothing breaks up the monotony of a day than acting like crazy lady in small town suburbia.

But then I remembered there are more positive mental games I could play. The news media junkie I've become is making me forget the most important one. It comes from Mother Teresa.

She said,"I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there." I love that quote. Shifting away from the negative to the positive, without living in la-la land and denying the negative, just changing the focus. It works for everything. Let me demonstrate-

Instead of "I'm against racism" you say- "I'm FOR recognizing the humanity and dignity of everyone and treating everyone with equal respect and rights" (sometimes the positive can be a little wordy)

Here's another one: instead of "I hate tabloid television" you say, "I love so many of the great shows on PBS and HBO" or instead of "I hate cockroaches" you say, "butterflies are pretty special".

Many people do this automatically, but if like me, you weren't born with the Pollyanna gene and you hung out with your interesting, somewhat gothic Estonian mother when you were 9, watching The Seventh Seal , this mental shift is incredibly useful.

I used this all day today, starting with my to do list of chores. I don't hate laundry because I do love having clean clothes in my drawers that are easy to find. Weirdly enough, I had a completely uneventful, but happy day and it somehow resulted in me eating a lot more fruits and vegetables. I can't explain that last one. One bad side effect is that I may have nothing really to blog about. So I'll pass you over to a funny ranter, comedian Rob Paravonian ranting on Pachelbel's Canon in D and why not...



8 comments:

Caroline said...

Sounds like a fabulous day and you blogged about it brilliantly!

And thanks very much for the gorgeous mosaic - its arrived today and made me very happy - I'll blog about it later, assuming I have time...

Melody said...

I love the bell thing. Think I might try that when I go shopping at the end of the week. Nothing like a "little crazy" to break up the boredom of looking like a Stepford Wife pushing around your grocery cart.

self taught artist said...

I dont have that gene either.
I like this post.
yesterday I had the same thing happen...I was hiking and listening to the negative voice and suddenly decided to say outloud even, today something wonderful is going to happen. and getting myself to slowly think differently about the day. nothing fantastic happened but my mood was better and i decided to feel positive about my life instead of fearful.

andrea said...

Hmmm -- isn't the 2008 equivalent to Pollyannaism The Secret? :)

Great video clip! I love the cello -- and the current house portrait I'm doing is for a cellist and cello teacher. mUst remember to send her the link to your blog.

Ellen said...

Caroline: Glad it arrived safely, thanks for letting me know

Mel: I would so like to LOOK like a Stepford wife, at least like Nicole Kidman in the remake, of course that would require lots of lipo, collagen and botox...maybe not...

Paula: yeah, I'm not a big subscriber to the whole self-help phenomena, because I've seen it become a real crutch for a lot of people, but I agree to a point that you are what you think and retraining your brain to switch focus can really help. I agree, fear and worry can really be debilitating.

Ellen said...

Andrea: Oh good, you gave me some material so I can practice my theory, here goes... I'm not AGAINST The Secret, but I am FOR world views that are universal, and are compassionate and INTELLIGENT and not hedonistic and materialistic and so f***king STUPID for simple minded folk who think happiness is only about being famous and rich and owning a planet killing Ferrari and 6000 square foot house! oops, I blew it... c'est la vie.

dinahmow said...

Always interesting to come to your place 'cos I never know whether I'll get full-on art or meditative musings or a belly laugh. Sometimes, by focusing my mind(!),I get it all.
And I doubt I'd be much cop as a Stepford Wife...more an Eastwick Witch!

Ellen said...

Dinah: Thanks, that's such a nice thing to say. Witches of Eastwick, love it! Actually that's still too evolved for me, sadly, I'm feeling a bit like 'Dawn of the Dead' these days. I think I need a vacation like yours.