Most folks are shocked when they read what I write. They’re even more shocked when they attend a reading. Out of the corner of my eyes I see people shrink back or hear a soft “ooh”. I admit to writing some dark stuff, but I’m mostly a bubbly, optimistic gal with an innocent demeanor. Truly I am (just ask my friends!).
I do try and look for the positive in things. Whenever something terrible happens or just a bump in the day I believe it’s fate and that it happens for a reason.
That reason may be to:
teach me a lesson
show me compassion
experience life on a deeper level
help me see things differently
lead to another door opening
Sometimes it’s hard to see the reason right away, and so I tell myself that tomorrow will be a better day. I know I also write dark to FIND the light.
I try to stay away from folks who waste energy on being consistently negative. They can suck your own positive energy right out of you.
One time on a two-night hospital stay I had the misfortune to share a room with the most negative woman I have ever encountered. For two days she talked endlessly to her visitors about how awful her life was, how terrible it was that she had to have sudden surgery, about her selfish daughter, her absent mother, how she wouldn’t be able to do all that was expected of her, etc. etc. etc.
I wanted to hobble over to her, shake her by the shoulders, and yell “Stop complaining! Enjoy this time to recuperate. Give yourself a break and stop being a martyr!”
I felt like she was an ugly version of Olympia Dukakis in Steel Magnolias who said in her wonderful southern drawl, “Well, you know what they say: if you can’t say anything nice to say about somebody, come sit by me!”
I cringed, wondering if I’ve ever sounded like my hospital roommate. I know I have at times. I wanted to tell her about the two-minute rule, but didn’t think she’d appreciate it.
What’s the two minute rule?
The average person has an attention span of two-minutes. Talk about your subject for that long – then move on. No one wants to listen to a 45-minute rant of every detail of your day or how your best friend embarrassed you or how your neighbor is having an affair. No one!
As for me. I was recuperating from surgery too and in pain. But I felt blessed. Why? Because I had two-days to lay in bed, look out the window at the sky and birds, and just daydream. I didn’t turn the television on or have many visitors. I just let my mind be at peace. I had wonderful nurses. And even the food was good! I could order from a menu of whatever I wanted. It was like being at the Holiday Inn!
So how could two people in the same room have such different outlooks on their situation?
Maybe because I want to see the good in every situation.
Maybe because I want to find the hidden rainbow in the storm.
Maybe because I’ve seen the dark side and know what true misery can be.
Maybe I realize how lucky and blessed I am.
Maybe I had a person in my life who helped me see all this, like my mom.
I wonder how that woman is doing now. Did she have a wake-up call about her life? We can all find ourselves falling into a negative rut at times. How can we change our negative thinking habit to a positive one?
My mom was the most optimistic person I knew. Her many positive sayings would drive me nuts as a young girl but as a grown woman I get them now:
Mom-isms to lead a more positive life:
Haste makes waste
Mind over matter
Complaining is a waste of time
Time to move on
You must be kind to yourself before you can be kind to others
If you’re depressed get up and go do something
More Mom-isms that stuck:
Always make your bed first thing
Never go out of the house with wrinkled clothes
Polish your shoes
Stand up straight
Place your napkin on your lap
Clean your plate
Polish the silver
Eat your veggies
And yes – you must vacuum under the bed
And my favorite one my mom would call out early in the morning “Up and at em’!” (For years as a kid I wondered “just WHO is this Adam?”).
I laugh, thinking about her, as I make my bed first thing in the morning and correct my posture (I still polish my shoes and the silver). My mom is still here with me, inspiring me with her positive words.
I hope some of my Mom-isms will stick with my son. I hope to inspire him to find the light in the dark. At 14, he struggles with that. I have to believe he’ll find out someday how much more wonderful it is to make your way into the light instead of allowing yourself to go blind in the dark.
My mom may have died slowly of cancer, but that’s not what I see. I see so much more because she’s shown me how. I see a gift I was given: the gift of time with someone I loved dearly before saying goodbye. What could be more positive than that?
Have you discovered something positive out of a negative time in your life? Do you have a special person in your life who helps you see the positive? Do you live by your Mom-isms (or Dad-isms)?
And don’t forget that A Human Element is now an audio book and you can get it for free when you sign up for a free month-trial of Audible!