Recently, my good friend Brooke (ok, she’s my sister’s friend but I think after all these years I can claim her too) has been on a positivity kick. For me, this is always something that I strive for and I will admit openly that its often the little things that bring out my negativity: irritating people, schedule changes, weather (oh, the weather), electronic issues, money woes. I will get irritated with my husband over things he’s been doing for 15 years (clomping mud through the house) and frustrated with my children because they are so loud and the fight a lot. When in reality: when find chunks of dried grass in the telltale pattern of Gabe’s boots all over the house, he isn’t going to suddenly start taking off his shoes just because I’m mad about it. My kids are not going to stop being kids just because I lose my patience over the fact that they must express ALL THE EMOTIONS at top volume. These people are who they are and they also encompass one hard worker, two smart and creative kiddos, and three people who are really funny and fun to be around.
Anyhow, back to Brooke. She posted an article with a lot of different things (which I will share below) and it really got me thinking. Although I will tell you that I generally wake up each morning with a good mood and a go-getter attitude, it doesn’t take much to make me feel all stabby and pissed off. Incorporating some of these things in my daily life is not going to suddenly make all the traffic jams, spring snow storms, banking errors and spilled grape juice go away, and its not going to end world hunger or toxic people or scary things like car accidents and childhood cancer…but it does help ME.
On top of accepting Brooke’s positivity challenge, I had a slightly eye opening experience yesterday. In general, I have learned over the years to omit soul-sucking people from my life. By soul-sucking, I mean those people who take more than they give. Who have a problem and a complaint about every. little. thing. Who start drama for no reason. I surround myself with friends who build me up, and I no longer feel guilty for saying “No” or not developing a friendship with a person who doesn’t make me feel good, so to speak. The one place this concept doesn’t transfer to is social media because, quite frankly, sometimes the intrigue of looking into other people’s minds and lives is just too entertaining to give up. But yesterday, a facebook friend who I barely know (or like) in real life – she is a mom of an acquaintance of Gabey – posted something really disturbing to me.
She posted a picture of a woman lying in the middle of the road. There were two cars stopped at crazy angles and one person standing over the woman. The caption was “Saw this on my commute to work. Lady lying in the middle of the road and not one paramedic or ambulance worker in sight. SMH [shake my head]. What is this world coming to?”
The irony. Yes indeed, what is this world coming to? When instead of stopping to see if help was needed a person instead chooses to take a picture, while driving by. When instead of, I don’t know, calling 911 just in case it had not yet been called, a person chooses to post said picture on Facebook and lament over what the world is coming to. It just really bothered me and I really wanted to comment on her picture, but I knew it would not change HER mindset and would most likely start an argument. So you know what? I unfriended her. and then I went through my friends list and unfriended about ten more people. And then I felt like this:
The following five things are a small part of what Brooke shared with me, and so I’m sharing them with you.
|3 Gratitudes: Think of 3 things you are grateful for before you go to sleep.
This is an easy one :)
The Doubler: Think about one positive experience that happened to you in the past 24 hours. Write about it for 2 minutes, on paper or type.
I’ll admit I haven’t actually done this one yet. But hey, I think I’m making up with a nice super long blog post on a Saturday morning!
The Fun Fifteen: Spending 15 minutes of a fun, mindful activity to your day.
Two ways that I do this: every weekday, I leave to pick up Gabey from school about 45 minutes before he actually gets out. It only takes 6 minutes to drive from our home to school, but there is serious value in getting a good parking spot, especially on the days we have karate and a very short amount of time to get from school to the dojo. A good parking spot ensures that we will not get stuck in the shit show that is 200 parents all trying to pull out at the same time. Anyhow, I have deemed this “quiet time”. I arm Stella with her leap pad and a snack (often she naps), I put on some music (I’m realizing right now that perhaps “quiet time” is the wrong name) and I veg out with mindless activities. I play Trivia Crack, Candy Crush, and chat on messenger, and occasionally read. For 40 minutes straight. And I look forward to this boring, mindless time period every day because what follows is either a hurry-up-and-wait mentality of 2 back to back karate classes, or the usual afternoon craziness of kids, homework, breaking up fights, and plugging along to that sweet spot when the first child is in bed and the second is going soon. Which brings me to my next “fun” moment…the relaxation at the end of the day with a glass of wine and some binge-watching (I love you Netflix.) This doesn’t happen every single night but I strive for it at least a few nights of the week!
|Meditation: 2 minutes each day, stop what you are doing and watch your breath go in and out.
Ok I haven’t done this one either. But I DID in fact bookmark an article entitled “5 Yoga Poses Anyone Can Do to Destress Their Day” or something along those lines. And I swear to God I’m going to read it. Probably even today.
Conscious Acts of Kindness: Email or text a communication, thanking someone for how great you think they are/or how you feel about them.
And the final act on the positivity challenge…and this has been my favorite. I love my family, and I love my children, but one of the greatest blessings in my life is friendship. I consider myself lucky to have both old and new friends. I absolutely cherish the people who’ve come into my life recently that I have instantly clicked with and formed a bond or a friendship that is mutually gratifying. Just as I cherish the fact that this week I was able to spend time with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Sarah. In 7 years this is only the 3rd time we’ve been able to get together and nothing changes in that great span of time. Its as though we saw one another yesterday. It makes my heart happy in the same way it does when I sit in my kitchen with my friend Joanie and have an hours long, into the night, wine fueled discussion that encompasses everything from bathing suits to starting and alpaca farm to faith and spirituality. These are just two example of frienships that have brought and continue bring great joy to my life. And so, I’ve made a point to contact at least one person every day just to say “hey” or “I miss you” or “I love you” or “Congratulations” or “I’m proud of you!” or “Let’s make a plan to get together asap”…and you know what? EVERYONE likes getting a message like this, especially for no reason. And I have not yet run out of recipients…nor to I expect to.
And so, I thank you Brooke for reminding me as I come out of a very trying winter that has been sucking my spirit dry, that 90% of everything is attitude. And to take a moment to tell YOU that I value your friendship, both to me and my sister, and that I value your wise take-charge, do-gooder, get-shit-done attitude (the fruit skewers at Kellie’s NC baby shower just might have saved the day) and for our rare but always enjoyable beach days. Your friendship during Kellie’s wedding and Nola’s birth are just two examples of ways you have impacted my life and I am a better person for knowing you. And I hope someone else reads this and decides to take on the positivity challenge as well!