The Power of Positive

Oh!  I wanted to write a whiny post yesterday.  O.k., I’ve had whiny posts running through my head all week.  I’ve been kind of down about my lack of a job.  Which led me to scroll through Craigslist and Indeed.  Which led me to getting more depressed.

And I haven’t accomplished as much as I had planned so far this week.  Yesterday afternoon I started to have negative thoughts running through my head.  It started with, “I’m not doing very well today.”

But wait!  Stop!!!  I promised myself I wasn’t going to go down the negative road.

So, while prepping dinner, I forced myself to list all the things I had accomplished.

First, I got up on time.  Maybe that sounds silly to list as an “accomplishment” but, hey, you gotta start somewhere.

I got the kids to school (mostly on time).

I trekked out in the near-dark to feed the horses.  I could have waited and fed them when I got back from taking the kids to school but my day goes better when I do it first thing.  Because then, I feel like I’ve done something.  And, it means I can turn them out earlier, which is good for them.

I got some work done on summer trip planning.

I had a difficult conversation with a client, which I had been putting off.  (I do some very, very part-time attorney work.)

And, there I was, at 3:30 in the afternoon, not only with a plan for dinner but actually doing some prep while I helped the 14 year old with homework.  And, I ran Roomba which got some of the dog fur off of the floor.

I felt better after reminding myself of those positive things.  I’m proud of myself for stopping the negative thought process.  It put me on a good path for today.

Positive thinking does work!  And its worth the effort.

 

How I Found Positive

As I said in my last post, I stopped writing for so long because I was tired of hearing myself whine.  I was in such a negative place – lots of negative self-talk, negative thinking, judgement, and criticism.

No more!

How did I turn things around?  Honestly, I had a good friend send me a very strongly worded email that kicked me in the butt.  And, through her example, I found my faith again.  (Don’t worry . . . not going to get all religious on you here.)

My good friend is VERY strong in her faith.  And me?  I grew up Catholic (Catholic school, mass every Sunday, etc.) but have not gone to church in ummmm . . . forever, and haven’t really thought much about it.  My kids are not baptized, which upset my mother greatly and, on some level, upsets me too.  I’m straying from my point . . .

(Wow, and I do seem to be fond of these three little dots . . . in my writing!)

So my friend writes me this email which basically says, “Suck it up, Buttercup.  God has a plan for you, God loves you and all this negativity is the devil talking.”  Really, that’s what it said in multiple paragraphs.  I was sort of stunned when I read it.  Had to read it a couple of times.  But it struck a chord for me.

I have other friends who are strong in their faith.  I’ve noticed over the years that there’s a serenity about them.  I’ve wished for the same.

So, I set out to change my mindset.  Whenever I felt my stress and / or anxiety rising, I found a quiet spot, took a deep breath, said a Hail Mary and asked for the strength to get through whatever I was facing.  Whenever I started being critical, I stopped and consciously made a decision to look for the good.  Every morning when I walk down my driveway in the near-dark from feeding the horses, I look up at the sky and thank God for the day we’re about to have, the opportunities it will bring us, the strength to face the difficult parts and for His protection.  It starts my day off in a positive mindset.

I settled on four words / intentions to focus on:

Gratitude:  I have A LOT to be thankful for but I’ve spent years only thinking about what I didn’t have.  I’m now stopping to be grateful for what I have.

Patience:  This is a super hard one for me.  I’m not patient with myself or others.  Now I remember to be kind to myself, that I’m doing a lot and that I can give myself some slack.  With others, I remember that they’re not being slow just to bother me; maybe they have an unseen reason for not being as quick as I want them to.

Love:  Often it seems like the world is a pretty angry place these days.  I do my best to not contribute to the anger and to, instead, spread some joy.  Smile at folks, give compliments, offer to help.

Faith:  I have to believe there’s a plan.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not using all of this as an excuse.  I’m not saying, “Oh well, I’m not being successful in my new private practice.  God must not want me to be an attorney.”  (I wish!)  I have to work to make positive things happen in my life.  Returning to my faith has just given me a framework for that and a method for staying focused and positive.

Honestly, this switch from negative to positive has been easier than I anticipated.  I think its because, when I feel myself drifting back towards the dark side, I have a set of tools I can use to immediately stop the negativity.

So, that’s what’s worked for me.  Mind you, I’ve only been at this a few weeks.  So far, its working.  And I have faith that its going to continue to work.

Random Thoughts

A few random thoughts on my little happiness project here.  First, that it doesn’t matter how many people (which usually is 1 – 2, if I’m lucky) read my posts . . . what matters is that I’m sitting down to write and that makes me happy.

Second . . . I’m trying hard to find things (positive thinking) I like about living here since apparently we’re not moving anytime soon (if ever).  So, I appreciate that on my way to pick up my daughter’s friend, we had to stop because there were three deer in the road.  And, I appreciate the fact that “today’s loose animal”, which is usually a cow or a bull but today was donkeys, is a semi-regular feature of our traffic report.

Third, singing along to the radio in the car, with my radio turned up, definitely improves my mood.

Fourth, a compliment also turns my mood around for the better.  So, I need to remember that when I’m working on kinder thoughts and words to others.

We had guests at our house all weekend.  That’s hard for introverted me.  Its just exhausting.  But, I remembered to be kind most of the weekend, which was hard at times.  And, when I was just about at my rope’s end, I retreated to my barn.

Today I’m remembering that this is not an instant fix.  I’m working hard at staying positive.  And I’m not beating myself up for things I didn’t do the past couple of days.

Game On!

I’m on Day 3 of a new get healthy plan.  This one is called “Game On!”.  Its a program which focuses on all aspects of health – diet, sleep, water consumption, exercise, making a new healthy habit and letting go of an old, unhealthy, habit.

Plus, its all done in a friendly competition!

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“Kick your friend’s butt while shrinking your own.”  Ha!  I love that.  The competition goes for 5 weeks.  A friend of mine set it up; she’s done it before.  We have 5 or 6 teams of 4 or 5 people each.  So far, its been great!  Every day, all day, there are a ton of emails that go around offering support, encouragement, tips, what’s working and what’s not.

So far, what’s great about it is that I feel like I have a plan for being healthy every day.  If I need some help or inspiration, there’s about 25 people who are ready and willing to lend a hand.  Plus, there’s the aspect of not wanting to let my team down.

I really need to do something because I weigh more than I ever have before.  I know 138 at 5’4″ isn’t the end of the world but a lot of my clothes are not fitting.  And I just haven’t felt well.  I’m tired a lot; I get out of breath easily.  And that’s not how I want to live.

I know I’m only on Day 3 of 5 weeks but I feel like this just might do the trick!

September 5, 2017

This is like my third attempt at this blog post.  Ugh.

It was going to be about learning to be better to myself.  But it was sounding lame, cliche, and uninteresting.

Its hard to be good to yourself.  I’m not sure why, but it is.  I’m trying.  Today, I sat down at 11:00 and took twenty minutes to eat a lovely peach and some Marin Cheese Co. brie on my back porch.  I love sitting on my back porch, looking out over the vineyard, sipping my coffee.

Twenty minutes just for myself seems so indulgent.  But I’m beginning to understand that its really not.  Just like texting with my friends and posting in my blog is not indulgent.  Neither is taking the dog on a walk or working my horses.

Collapsing at work and having my doctor tell me that I need to follow up with a cardiologist (finally got an appointment) sort of puts things into perspective.  But I’ve been surprised that I’m finding it so hard to be kinder to myself.  I always have wondered about the people who are told, “If you don’t make lifestyle changes, you’re going to die” but fail to change.  And, here I am . . . one of them!!

Its really easy to blame others:  “My husband doesn’t help enough.”;  “My job is too stressful.”;  “I’m so busy with the kids’ activities.”  But, realistically, it comes down to me, myself and I – my choices, my decisions and how I deal with the things life throws at me.

I can talk to my husband about our division of tasks.  I can have my kids help out more and take on more responsibility because they are 12 and 14 years old now.  I can find healthy ways to deal with my job and other stress.  I can take a look at our household schedules and see if it can be managed differently.

And I can stop feeling guilty about 20 minutes on my back porch, drinking good coffee and reading the paper.

 

Do Something . . . Anything

I have reached complete overwhelm.  I made a new to do list, hoping that would re-focus and organize me.  It just made it worse.  Looking at my schedule the next few days and the list, I’ve got absolutely no idea how its going to get done.  And these are things that really have to be done.  I can’t just not return work phone calls!  And we have our annual end of the school year swim party on Saturday.  I can’t just ignore that!!!  I’m kind of freaking out.  I really would like to just sit here at my desk and color.

My dog is sitting next to me, whining.  He wants to go outside and play or go on a walk or something.  I wish he would be quiet.  The property isn’t 100% fenced so he’s not allowed to go out without me.  And apparently, for some reason, sitting on the back deck isn’t good enough for him at the moment.

I must have put on three different outfits this morning while trying to get dressed for work.  One skirt that I haven’t worn for awhile didn’t fit.  I mean, like didn’t fit to the point where I wondered when it had ever fit me.  That was upsetting.  Just before I tried to get dressed I was sort of complimenting myself for having things pretty together.  So much for that.

The other day there was a lizard in the house, right outside my closet.  I am TERRIFIED of lizards.  Its been that kind of week.

Of course, today the kids get out of school early so I have even less time.

I’m drowning in end of the school year activities.

Ugh.

So, for the next 20 minutes, until I have to go pick kids up from school, I’m going to fall back on my strategy for when life gets like this, which is “Do Something . . . Anything.”  I’ve found that if I just start going down the to do list, its easier to continue.  Starting is the hard part.  It doesn’t really matter exactly what I do; anything is better than sitting here and staring out my window.

Here I go . . . something . . . anything.  Just start somewhere.

Sparkly Purple Toenails

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Sparkly!!!

 

My day was going along o.k. until I had to listen to another tirade from my husband about how the world is ripping him off.  Ugh.

I promised myself that I was not going to use my new blog here to complain about my husband.  And I fully intend on keeping that promise.  So, let’s just say that he tends to be more pessimistic than I am.  I choose to believe in the good in people.  Maybe I’m naive in that regard but really, its what gets me through my day at times.

Believing in people . . . and sparkly purple toenails.  That’s what I’ve got to rely on sometimes.  And sometimes, when people aren’t quite doing it for me, it just comes down to “oh, hey, look, my toenails are sparkly purple and that’s happy.”

My 11 year old daughter picked out the polish that resulted in this crazy amount of sparkle.  Its a result of these polishes:  20170418_145200_resized

I call them my “Vegas show girl toes”.  And that’s happy.

Other happy things are the fact that my horses were delighted to find that my kids had made large ponds in my arena.  The horses thought these were super fun to play in.20170418_142831_resized

Watching horses splash in puddles is happy.  If I actually rode in my arena (rather than just turning my horses out in it), I might have been irritated that the kids made large ponds.  But, since I don’t ride in it (that’s a story for another day), and the horses thought the ponds were fun, well, that’s happy.

So, there, negative thoughts from husband’s tirade . . . . BE GONE!!!!

Replaced by the happiness brought to me by sparkly purple toes, horses splashing in puddles, and a general belief that most people are o.k.