I have a very old Rhodesian Ridgeback for a companion. She is 12-years-old and can still break out on an impressive run when we walk. But when she sleeps, she shudders and her breathing is raggedy. Ridgebacks are smart- some books suggest that they are as smart as a four-year-old child. I know that Coco knows things and that her anxious looks as I walk out the door without her are real. I have always taken my dogs with me to work. They have been the mascots at my office and in some quiet ways have built the bridges between people.
Join Wendy while she works to master the art, study the science and discover the practice of positivity one day at a time. The growing body of scientific research in positive psychology proves without a doubt that shifting your thinking habits from negative to positive creates a thriving life. When you train yourself to remain open, curious and lean towards wonder, surprise, gratitude and occasional moments of awe, the way you see your life changes the life itself.
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It was four years ago at the New Year that I began my Positivity Quest, which became this daily blog for three of those years. At the same time, I also started a daily meditation practice, regular exercise routines and a high school club. Writing it all down during those years taught me what I knew. Picking away at words, writing and scrapping sentences, reorganizing paragraphs until I fell asleep, fingers on the key board, was the Masters program of everything I was trying to learn in the positivity practice.
It has been four years since I began my Positivity Quest in Hawaii. Back here for a quick week, staying with my family who is much grown up over the last several years, has given me pause to reflect on how this work of positivity has transformed me and my life.
First, I think it is important to reflect on the inner work of positivity that began with a prolonged and, at times, desperate attempt to extricate negative thinking from not only how I speak, but how I think. Early on, I instituted a wrist band method, which was to act as a physical sign to interrupt the habitual negative thoughts. What I learned and have witnessed over and over again in myself and others is that negativity is so sticky because it is so familiar. Most of the trash thinking that haunts us has been swimming through our brains day after day for as long as we can remember. Stopping negative thoughts is like breaking a smoking habit you didn’t know you had. Still, it is doable. For me it took the better part of 4 months of vigilant attention, which really isn’t bad in reversing 48 years of negative thought patterns.
This week I am bowing down to the body. Our body condition is our first reality and the one that supersedes everything else. I am reminded of this as I work on our new Positive Community Cures project which trains teens to make organic food for acutely sick people. We have a woman on our staff who has, in her 20s, struggled with cancer. We are bringing food to another woman in her 20s who has lymphoma. One third of everyone you know will have cancer in their lifetime.
I have never believed in waiting for the right time. Maybe it is my comfort with chaos or the fact that I have never encountered a moment when everything is how I thought it would be, but mostly I think its because I have seen too many people not go for what they wanted because they were waiting for the right time to do it. So on this note, I was just informed that my turn has come up on a waiting list for a puppy.
Rare are the true healers, doctors who are not only skilled in their craft, but generous with their attention. Jerome Hobbs was a studied and skilled acupuncturist and naturopath; but it was his gentle manner, easy laugh and abiding curiosity that made his patients well. I was blessed to be one of his long time patients seeing him at least monthly over ten years. I can still close my eyes and hear the calming symphonies piped into the treatment rooms, feel the soft washed flannel gowns and the warmth of the infrared heat lamps. My memories of those healing hours are so vivid because it was one of the few spaces of my lifetime that I felt so fully attended. From the moment the door swung open, and his familiar smile accompanied by the question, “What should we work on today?” His attention was undivided and he listened deeply not only to the energetic pulses in my body, but equally to the layers of story that held them, as he placed needles or offered his strong hands in one of the bodywork therapies that were second nature to him.
For many years when my children were small one of their favorite birthday rituals was the bouquet of balloons I would bring them, one balloon for each year of their life. We would make a family circle around the birthday child and they would let go of the balloons one by one, making a wish and letting it fly up into the sky. Sometimes they would let go them all at once with a giant wish, standing with their heads cranked back until the balloons were completely out of sight.
The silence surrounding domestic violence is worse than how we treat sex in our culture. Indeed it is a reflection of how we treat sex in our culture because a lot of domestic violence includes sexual violence that is so common in so many families that it is no wonder that sexual violence persists in so many other spaces we live in. Actually the same could be said about violence in general, what we grow up with, how we are treated as children and how we witness other adults treated in early formative years defines us for decades, sometimes for lifetimes.
The most interesting moments of life are the unanticipated times when things are not happening the way you think they will. I am just returning from a long journey, which I thought would be the start of a new beginning for my business. So much for psychic tarot card readings interpreting business offers. I am still not sure, as I go over the last several days of meetings, when this dream offer evaporated. Was it gone before I arrived?
One of the songs that stuck to me most closely as a child was 500 miles. I may have learned it at summer camp, but the gist of it is a journey song that takes the singer hundreds of miles from his home. Three times up and down 20,000 feet and I am hundreds of- thousands even, miles away from home. I have never been to Vermont and it as beautiful, even in the dark as I have heard.