I have a book called “Instant Karma.” I picked it up in one of those little novelty shops; it’s a nightstand-sized cute square thing filled with one-line morsels of advice on how to be relaxed, happy, Zen-centered – you get the idea. I bought it on a whim.
Having since then discovered the value of winding down my evenings with something more relaxing than blaring TV, I’ve taken to reading a page from that book every night before I go to bed. For a kitschy little novelty book, it can pack a surprising wisdom-punch.
Case in point? Several nights ago, one of the morsels of advice was “Refuse to be negative.”
This coming on the heels of a good couple of months of what I like to call “low tide.” Everyone, I think, has times when they feel unsatisfied with everything around them, when they want to just get gone from it all and on to something better, but have no idea how to do it. The low tides happen when it’s a struggle just to remember your blessings, to remember how to take pleasure in the little things, and to remember, in general, how to not be (and act like) a miserable little wretch.
Reading that line was like getting a gentle but definite swat on the rear end. Lord knows it’s very, very easy to be negative and pessimistic. The news? Full of bad things. The economy? Full of bad things. Single? Less-than-perfect job? 100 degrees outside? Change and progress seeming a tiny bit scary instead of exhilarating? Potentially rotten stinking full of bad things. If you allow it.
The thing is to just not allow it. The thing, I believe (I’m still waaaay in the process of learning) is to have faith. For some reason as I sit here writing this, when I think of “faith” I think of my kitchen sink.
I absolutely love having it clean and empty, the stainless steel just gleaming and empty and ready for anything I toss in there. It’s very easy to let the sink get cluttered with unwashed dishes and grime, and frankly, once I can’t see the bottom of the sink, I rapidly lose motivation to anything about it until the sink is full and simply won’t hold anything else. But I don’t think it’s any harder, at least not that much, to just not let it get that way in the first place. Every day it takes just the smallest bit of effort. Daily dishwashing, clean sink. Happy, ready sink = happy, ready Shannon.
And the same applies to having faith, keeping hope alive, whatever you want to call it. It just takes the smallest bits of effort every day: getting up and going to bed noting at least one thing you’re grateful for (even if the alarm goes off too *&# early); smiling and saying hello to a stranger (even if they ignore you); opening your eyes to the cool little things going around you (even if the cute little hummingbird only flits around your plants long enough to summarily reject them in favor of your neighbors’).
Okay, maybe it takes a little bit of work, this “refusing to be negative” thing. But it will be worth it. It is worth it. Forget about having faith in the future – start at having faith in every day. I guess that’s my point. It reminds me of a quote from a TV show that’s now defunct but definitely had its moments:
“The world is no longer a romantic place. Some of its people still are, however, and therein lies the promise. Don’t let the world win.” – Ally McBeal