Being Positive With ME
Thank you, Ann Bradford, for a quote that summarizes my whole week, but not quite enough to end it there…..let’s get into WEEK 5, Being Positive with ME!
Over the past 5 years, I have had the fortunate experience of working with the youth of our city. Mostly, I work in a supportive role, alongside teachers and parents, helping them create the best environment possible, to raise and guide the little ones entrusted to their care. My focus has been:
1) Be a trustworthy adult that desires a genuine connection with each child,
2) Have something meaningful to explore, about who youth are on the inside,
3) Let their voice, not mine, be the most important resource to how they understand their world,
4) See each child through a lens that focusses on what they do well,
5) AND, maybe most importantly, Be their biggest fan.
Thankfully, the careers and compassions of some very insightful Canadian doctors, have influenced this focus, and I recommend every parent and youth worker seek out their forums and literature to inform their own practice and knowledge.
The reason I think these experts are important to mention for Week 5, Being Positive with ME, is two-fold. The first reason might seem obvious, especially for those who know me a little, why work designed to assist youth and developing brains is quite applicable to a gal who may have never really grown up. I think when I am researching and learning to better myself for work, I am actually gaining more knowledge for my own development into adulthood. The second reason this is important, is because I have had a lot of purposeful (and accidental) practice reframing negativity in the past 20 years, both professionally and personally; which has made this week easy, and difficult, simultaneously.
It seemed easy because I think I have a generally confident nature, combined with an optimistic outlook, and a stubborn, determined view of my glass to be half full even when it is literally bone dry, empty; which I am guessing to mean, being positive comes somewhat naturally to me. It may also mean, it does not come naturally to everyone. Despite the overall ease of this week, there were also difficulties, because I vividly remember moments in my life that have not been glossy and bright, have not been possible to reframe, have taken me down into depression and darkness so deep I feared I would never return. Since I knew these strong realities, it felt like I was missing the point, or doing the week wrong, or had not stumbled upon the right avenue to explore. I also started expecting the gloominess of my not so distant despair to be set up ‘in wait’ for me, just around the next corner, ready to pounce on my optimism….until I finally conceded…. I am just not living in that reality this week!
Could my observations about my ‘personal atmosphere’ be cyclical, like seasons or waves, washing in and out of my awareness, blending from one dynamic phase to another, constantly in motion, as though it had its own life, its own breath? It sounds like it could be part of my ‘spirit’, maybe my soul, that is at work in this context. I have come to believe that I am more than my physical body, more than the substance that will not go on after my breath stops, and that has been both comforting and inspiring in foggy, lost moments where I did not see a way, to make a way.
Without getting too far into a realm of multi-complex thoughts on ‘spirit’, let me simply say, I think I am living in two places. One place is full of things I can see, taste, touch, plan and do, where I test my physical abilities and strengths to achieve a fulfilling life, filled with curiosity and happy adventures. The other place is where I spend time thinking, feeling, being, knowing, wondering and sensing, how to best understand why I am compelled into certain directions or tendencies, and whether those compulsions are healthy for me.
I started this week defining happiness vs. healthiness, and at the end of this week, I can say with certainty, these two places I live in are called….Happy Me and Healthy Me. They are not competitive in nature with the other. They also do not mind dominating the other, if given the opportunity. In fact, one of them can almost completely disappear without so much as a whimper, but can reappear instantly with the slightest thought. At their best, they live in balance with one another, gently prodding each other on to higher and richer plains of experience. Their downfall is not being able to continue to move and grow, should the other stagnate or fall behind. When I am in my Happy Me place, I become extroverted, make 19 coffee dates with girlfriends in a week, find plentiful bits of humour to muse about during my day, spontaneously break into loud song (Elvis or ABBA, depending on the situation), become affectionate and amorous….hubby likes ‘happy me’ place…..but only to a point. He has every reason to not buy in completely to this expression of me, because it is not all there is to me.
I like this part of me! I feel alive, and fun, and carefree, and sail through moments as though nothing can touch me….. kind of nice after you have been really touched by nasty things….but it does not last, and I crash from this place of heightened happiness. The running story in the back of my mind, typical in this phase, would be accusations of:
Irresponsible in my duties as a mother and wife
A very fun list….but wait, there is more.
When I am in my Healthy Me prime, I exercise, read, actively listen to every conversation, diet, say yes to everything, sponsor more children in South America, de-clutter the house (which is a hoarders way of saying they organize stuff to make the house look emptier), volunteer, make enough supper to last 2 meals and freeze half, work a side job to make a little more income….all worthy and good things, which hubby and I appreciate for the blessings they bring to us as individuals and as a family, but…. no make that a BIG but…..
This kind of output can only last so long before a multi-tasking, panicking, stressed out, irritable me, turns into a freaking out, angry, closed off, shut down, zombie me. What I hear replay in my head in this phase is a brooding of:
Helping Santa make his naughty list
Just so you know, I have inquired, and it turns out Santa does not need anyone’s help with his naughty list, which has not stopped me from tirelessly electing the same name over and over for the worst, most naughty person I know…..me.
But not this week.
I believe I am currently and coincidentally living in a moderate balance between happy and healthy, and therefore feel relatively content with myself, my life and my outlook. Perhaps that is why there has been an absence of internal negatively about who I am, what I am doing, and what motivates me to breath. Or, maybe I have mastered a bit of skill in silencing that negative commitee going on inside my mysterious noggin. If you are not in this kind of place this week, may I gently suggest finding comfort in exploring the temporary setting of your outlook. Just as falling temperatures and snow took away Autumn this week, as it is designed to do every season, so will time and love take away any imbalance you are experiencing now.
I did not forget the clip-on earring…here are some of the ways and places it ended up…..if you can figure out the third pic, you will know why I am clearly not a princess….slept on it all night!