Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘positive thinking

Heading Somewhere

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Apparently, if my recent dreams are any indication, there is somewhere I’m trying to reach, but circumstances keep delaying my readiness to depart. But, isn’t that just an inherent existential dilemma? Why are we here?

It’s the journey, right? Not just the destination.

I love a good adventure, but the truth is, I’m not all that fond of traveling. One common thread of people’s stories about their travels are the hassles and struggles faced along the way. Getting through airport security, navigating the unknowns of destination ports, communicating through language barriers.

It’s all part of the package of traveling. Choosing to see those parts of the journey in a more positive light than as just being hassles, goes a long way toward helping a person accept them as pleasurable, as in, a puzzle to be solved. If you like puzzling, I mean.

If you are not traveling, you are still headed somewhere. Are the everyday challenges being navigated, hassles? Or are they puzzles being solved?

Are we trying to get ready to depart, or are these little conflicts actually the journey, itself?

Where the heck are we heading, anyway?

To a better place. Free from pains, both physical and mental. We are looking for peace and love.

Don’t just be a consumer of those commodities, though. Be a distributor, as well.

Yesterday, after my well-health check-up physical with my doctor, I needed to visit our local pharmacy. To my surprise, I was offered the option of trying out a short-term regimen of an oral corticosteroid to see if it would settle the lung congestion left over from my recent cold. This, in contrast to the usual long-term (and much more expensive) daily inhaled asthma treatment.

Without thinking fast enough, I let them transmit the prescription to an Ellsworth pharmacy that Cyndie recently discovered was not functioning well. They are understaffed, overburdened, and may be headed out of business.

We phoned to see if they had my common prescription ready for pickup. So far, so good.

They’ve closed the drive through (because it’s too cold outside?), so I had to go in. I was not surprised to see a queue of visibly frustrated customers waiting. The angst in the vicinity was palpable.

Armed with prior warning, I was not flapped by this. I brought love and peace. Calmness. Understanding. Smiling. My energy smoothed some of their rough edges, while I accepted the process of waiting.

I enjoyed an added bonus of being able to find someone on my way out, and tell them they had forgotten their insurance card, which I had witnessed the staff fretting over.

Where are we heading?

Oh, yeah. To peace and love.

And better health, too. What an adventure!

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New Home

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I am overjoyed, and it came about much sooner than later. Our old lawn tractor has a new home. Buyer found seller and last night my urge to declutter was fulfilled, while someone else no longer needs to borrow a mower to cut their lawn.

Is this because I visualized just such an outcome? Hmmm.

I’m not going to argue with success.

Now I can change my answer to “No,” for the rest of the calls that come through asking if the tractor is still available. I received four such queries that led nowhere. The eventual buyer was the only one who actually followed up with additional questions upon receiving my “Yes” response.

I have no idea what that’s about. Maybe it was other people selling similar lawn tractors checking on the competition. Well, I’m out of the game.

However, I am feeling inspired to carry on with further decluttering. Sure, there is new space in the garage, but it actually reveals another level of items simply being stored.

A declutterer’s work is never done.

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Written by johnwhays

September 25, 2018 at 6:00 am

Momentum

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Words on Images

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Fluid Planning

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There is one aspect of a healthy balanced mind that I am enjoying in particular in the years since overcoming the dysfunctional thinking that was a huge part of my depression. I find it much easier to accept unexpected changes to plans.

I think my old pattern of rigidity was an attempt to protect myself from any possible discomfort I might experience over not being adequately prepared for some new scenario that might pop up. My new perspective resulted from an exercise of examining what the worst possible outcomes might be for situations that I was earnestly wanting to avoid.

In the end, there was never anything that deserved the level of angst I was nurturing.

Cyndie and I had big plans for this coming weekend. It has morphed a little to become “not as big” plans now. We are going on a little “stay-cation” to her parent’s house in Edina, leaving Jackie to take her first shift of managing the ranch for an extended few days.

I had intended to pack enough things last night to allow me to leave from work today and go straight to the Edina house for the entire time. Then on Monday morning, I’d only need to drive the short distance again to work. Now both ends of the plan have shifted.

Cyndie was assigned a responsibility to manage affairs for an aunt who is moving from her own home into a nursing care facility. This event is claiming her full attention this week and she just isn’t ready to be away as early as we originally envisioned.

That actually eased my burden of trying to pack the bike in the car before work today, because I am going to want it with me over the weekend to continue my conditioning efforts before the Tour of Minnesota begins in another week.

In fact, the night off allowed me a chance to get out and ride for an hour last night. That was a particularly pleasant outing due to perfect weather conditions.

Now we are thinking we’ll pack up and head for Edina tomorrow morning.

The back end of the plan for the upcoming weekend has also changed for me. As the date closed in, I realized I have an appointment to drop off my car at the body shop to repair my deer-dented doors and pick up a rental car.

I’ll head home Sunday night to fit in that detail.

Other than those two changes, the middle of the extended weekend plans are still standing firm. For now.

What’s the worst that could happen if those end up changing, too?

Nothing that we won’t be able to adjust to, …kind of like the way horses get back to grazing so quickly after something rattles their calm.

Here’s to mastering the art of being comfortable with the possibility that plans might change.

If you want to take it up a level, the next step is mastering the art of visualizing the best possible outcomes, and allowing it to become your ongoing default perspective.

Then you get to celebrate with reckless abandon when something changes, and the outcome ends up even better than the best possibility you imagined!

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Written by johnwhays

June 7, 2018 at 6:00 am

Two Wolves

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Last week, Cyndie and I squeaked in time after a hard day’s work to watch the Disney movie “Tomorrowland” (2015) that arrived in the mail on our Netflix subscription. We liked it a lot. It includes significant references to the popular teaching legend about two wolves, which highlights the importance of how our thinking influences our lives.

We have been repeating variations of the punchline with noticeable frequency in the days since.

A simple synopsis taken from the movie:

Casey Newton: “There are two wolves” … You told me this story my entire life, and now I’m telling you: There are two wolves and they are always fighting. One is darkness and despair, the other is light and hope. Which wolf wins?

Eddie Newton: Whichever one you feed.

This resonates for me, because it reflects my direct experience from my years of chronic depression through the ensuing years following wonderfully successful treatment. I learned to feed the good wolf instead of the bad one.

This recent focus on the two wolves legend has renewed my attention to how often I still automatically default to a negative perspective, despite my desire and intentions to do otherwise.

I stepped in the house at the end of a long, strenuous day of laboring on our property and Cyndie checked in with me, commenting on the vast number of things we accomplished. Without missing a beat, my response grabbed the equally vast number of tasks that remain in need of attention.

Luckily, that default response no longer goes unnoticed by me. I caught myself and admitted I was feeding the wrong wolf.

It’s as if I feel the cheery perspective of the state of things requires a counterbalance to keep it from being a false representation of reality. But, thinking about it, I could see that no matter how I chose to frame it, either mental perspective did not physically change how many projects we did or didn’t complete that day.

The reality of whether the grass needs mowing or downed branches need to be turned into piles of wood chips does not change based on how I assess our achievements of the day.

So why not feed the good wolf?

In life’s ongoing battle between darkness and despair, and the alternative of light and hope, which one should we be feeding? I vote for light, hope, love, peace, compassion, understanding, and even more love.

Thank you, Tomorrowland, for sowing the seeds.

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All There

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It’s all there. The good and the bad. Really, it’s always been that way. Disasters and human rights abuses are scattered throughout history, right along with the victories and accomplishments.

We can choose which of these we allow our attention to focus.

Wars take lives, medical advances save lives. Weather disasters destroy, ingenuity builds.

In my old life, the negative held an illogical amount of my attention. I aligned with the adage of Murphy’s Law, “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

When a hard day at work feels like things went wrong just because they could, it is too easy for me to slip into a dreary doldrums of woe. It is the natural direction my mind, and subsequently my body, would tend to go. It takes a conscious effort to think otherwise.

Luckily, after receiving a diagnosis of depression and being offered treatment with education, medication, and talk therapy, I learned both the ease and the benefit of choosing to think differently.

Bad things still happen, just like they always have.

Yesterday, at work, I decided to start a new adage. My natural inclination to be pessimistic shows through a little bit, but you can see my intentions are noble.

“Anything that can go wrong, might not.”

See what I did there?

Thinking positive!

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Written by johnwhays

April 25, 2018 at 6:00 am

Manipulating Neurochemistry

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How are your stress levels today? Don’t think about the answer. Feel it.

Cyndie and I have faced some questions about how we are doing lately. It hasn’t been as easy to answer as usual for us. It was a tough winter, but listing our grievances doesn’t feel good to share. It doesn’t paint the picture as accurately as we know it to be.

Our move to the country and accumulation of animals for which we need to tend has put distance between us and our friends and family. Some connections with people and activities have broken, and only a fraction of new local connections have sprouted in their place.

We have gained a brilliant wealth of new relationships with our animals, and precious though they are, it is not the same.

Yesterday we had an opportunity to drive the suburban roads again that consumed our everyday back when we lived in Eden Prairie. The dramatic contrast to our present-day environment was revealing.

Is it worth it? The struggles to cope with the never-ending challenges of weather and the unrelenting daily routine of required chores to care for our horses, chickens, dog, and cat? Some days, more than others. It’s life. It’s something we chose. (By the way, that’s a luxury –having the choice– that is not lost on us.)

Our challenges can be framed as onerous and laborious; burdens that could be lifted by giving up our animals and moving back to the conveniences and camaraderie of our life-long friends and families in the suburbs.

The difficulties of the last few months, and the years of owning and caring for our animals can also be framed as invigorating, rejuvenating, inspiring, and fulfilling. It is adventure of a very high order.

When we choose to frame the ups and downs of life in the positive, we manipulate our neurochemistry in healthy ways. That is a choice we have power to control. I spent an unfortunate number of years manipulating my biochemistry in the opposite direction by mentally framing my life in the negative.

We won’t prevent harsh realities from challenging our decisions by simply thinking positive all the time, but we will be better served to meet those challenges when we give our brains the healthiest balance of on-going positive neurochemical support possible.

Life here is challenging, but we are doing well. Really well. Thanks for asking.

It feels right.

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