Best Year Ever
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The bracelet works. It’s reminded me every day that my goal is to pray for those who annoy the crap out of me, who hurt my feelings, who –well, you get it.
I’ve had a week of challenges, and it’s been, what, 4 days? All I can do every day is shout at the bracelet that I am trying to pray, dammit, but I don’t want to….
…and every evening I read an update on Facebook from a couple whose daughter’s been in a terrible accident, and they’re working with her to regain basic abilities, and they end each post with 5 things they’re thankful for. Last night the Mom’s flight got delayed, so she has to work with very little sleep, and Dad is rejoicing because through some [unmentioned] grace he’s able to be with his daughter. Each step of their journey is grueling, yet each parent finds time to get on Facebook and share where the family’s at. And I was complaining about what…?
Today I’m thankful because:
- It’s Monday. A new day. A new week. Today I get to chart the week ahead.
- I got a beautiful night’s sleep last night.
- Yesterday my good friend, Lawna, gave me geranium essential oil (the scent makes me ridiculously happy.)
- Lawna is also going to make a special essential oil blend (an aphrodisiac!) for my wedding to share as favors.
- My fiance is collecting Veggie Tales videos for me. Those stories and characters delight the little kid in me, and this in turn delights Tom. I think that’s sweet and wonderful.
Last week I wore a bracelet to remind me to look for the good.
It was not easy. I found myself dwelling on worst-case scenarios every day, but the bracelet served its purpose: it did remind me to take my eyes off the negative for even a short time to consider what was good in the situation.
So now I have a new one. This one is also blue and gold, and it has tiny charms on it.
The area I’m focusing on this week is Acceptance. Right now, this means:
- Accepting people exactly where they’re at.
- Accepting the things I cannot change.
- Accepting change.
- Accepting responsibility.
(It may mean more by the end of the week. )
I was complaining to my fiance last night about some people I don’t want to deal with, and he said, “Honey, why don’t you pray for them?”
(my honest response)
But the suggestion is kinda like rhubarb.
Bitter at first, but really okay after you get used to it.
No, maybe it’s like chewing on aspirin.
Whatever. I got over my initial response, and have decided that the tiny charms on my bracelet will represent people who get under my skin or take up space in my head. Heck, I’m thinking of them anyway, right? Might as well pray for them.
I have since discovered that I don’t know how to pray for people I don’t like.
I am begrudgingly accepting that I don’t like them, and likewise accepting that I honestly do not want to pray for them.
So I’m starting with small steps: first I will look for change in myself that has resulted from rubbing against that sandpaper. What have I done as a result of my encounters with them?
A few months ago, I shined light on a problem of bullying in a public place. (I can’t get more specific than this, sorry.) This was not fully well-received. People really don’t want you upsetting the status- quo. (Actually, it might have been better-received than I know. I was very busy focusing on the negative. This was pre-bracelet, ok.
I had no horse in the race–I was not personally bullied by this person, but I have been told many stories since 2003 by people who HAVE been or who have dealt with the effects. I finally spoke up when I witnessed it first-hand at a major meeting. What I really wanted to do was to open a dialogue about bullying so that it could be openly discussed. This didn’t happen, and it discouraged me.
So I decided to find a way to incorporate anti-bullying into my composition class, at the very least so that I could build awareness, and again, open up the conversation. I have done this, and although I cannot know the full scope of influence this class will have had on my students, I know that I made a difference. And I did it because of that sandpaper. I wouldn’t have done it otherwise.
So I must be thankful for the sandpaper.
Ah. This is going to take some time.
From Notes from the Universe:
This note requires action.
Why not let today mark the beginning
of the absolute happiest, most memorable
time of your life?
The power is yours. Do something.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I’m embarking on my best year ever.
I’m listening to Darren Hardy, publisher of Success magazine, on CD, and I’m developing a list of 13 things I want to work on over the next twelve months, based on advice from Benjamin Franklin. Work on one thing per week, and nothing else.
By doing this, I will work on that one thing 4 times a year, improving myself in that area in greater strides than if I tried to work on all the areas at once.
Here’s Mr. Franklin’s list:
- Temperance–Eat not to dullness, drink not to elevation.
- Silence–Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
- Order–Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
- Resolution–Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
- Frugality–Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
- Industry–Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
- Sincerity–Use no harmful deceits; think innocently & justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.
- Justice–Wrong none by doing injuries, or emitting the benefits that are your duty.
- Moderation–Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
- Cleanliness–Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths [sic], or habitation.
- Tranquility–Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents uncommon of unavoidable.
- Chastity–rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness [sic], weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
- Humility–Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
I’m still making my list, but I do know that this week I am working on focusing on the positive. I have to do this because I tend to operate on the undropped shoe belief: I brace myself for the worst. Always. I call it realism.
The fact that I call it realism is a sad testament to my paradigm.
Done with that.
So I have a new blue and gold bracelet that I’ll be wearing for the next 7 days, and when I look at it, I’ll consider:
- Blue & gold=royal colors—>I am a child of the King. A princess, you might say, although, really, I prefer Queen. But then I’d have to segue into fairytale ruminations about roles, and if I’m the Queen AND a child of the King, oh–that’s not good. And there I go again with the negative. ha.
- I choose what I focus on. I. choose.
- Realism = real, not negative.
My list, not in order:
- Romans 8: 28–Focus on what is good. Week 1.
- Order, as per Ben Franklin.
- Tranquility, as per Ben Franklin.
- Acceptance. week 2.
- Ephesians 4:29–speak no evil.
- Industry, as per Ben Franklin.
- Generosity: time/attention/etc.
- Resolution, as per Ben Franklin.
- Attention to what I ingest.
- Appreciation and praise.
- Frugality, as per Ben Franklin.
Yes, each area requires its own bracelet. I’m okay with that.
BTW: it’s okay to start such a list any day you choose. Darren Hardy says to make NOW your turning point.
Care to join me?