What are you attuned to? Looking for the good
By Sheri McGregor
With the Canadian Thanksgiving arriving in just a few days, and other holidays lining up before us, I’ve been taking charge and looking forward with a sense of joy and excitement. That’s so much better than the dread that can so swiftly sweep in as the daylight hours shorten and the longer nights usher in the season. When we’re expecting things to be crummy, we’re sure to find evidence we’re right. I’m dropping that attitude to make sure I’m ready for good instead. Won’t you read on and join me?
In the arid California desert where I’ve hiked hundreds of miles, the plants adapt to the arid climate. That’s how they thrive. Drought tolerant bushes cup their fuzzy leaves, ready to catch and hold the slightest morning dew. Others, such as spidery ocotillo, spread shallow roots that easily soak up scant rain, and then quickly sprout leaves. These gorgeous, otherworldly plants then bloom in the driest periods, providing lipstick red color to the barren hills.
As we move into the holiday season, don’t focus on lack and look ahead with dread. Take a lesson from nature. Adapt. Be flexible. Dress in colorful clothes to brighten the coldest winter days. You’ll be a spot of cheer for yourself as well as others. Putting on a funny, warm hat can bring a smile. Wear fuzzy flannel and open your heart to the possibility of any joy. Then capture even the scantest moments of social rainfall to later savor.
Your assignment: Cultivate this positive habit
Starting now, set aside a few minutes every day to contemplate looking for anything positive or joyful in the world around you. Do this in the morning so you’ll be setting the tone for your day ahead. You’ll find “good” in the music of birdsong, the way the wind rustles through trees, or how a neighbor waves each day.
Attune yourself so that you’ll listen and really hear. See and really notice. Take a mental (or written) note, snap a photograph, or mention the good to a companion. That way, you’ll commit the positive bits of life to memory. Instead of habituating negativity and dread, train your brain to look for the good.
You can also find good in yourself. Did you remain calm in a stressful situation? Let someone ahead in traffic? Maybe you lovingly care for a partner or help a friend (even your oldest friend: you!)
One parent who reads here commented that her pastor suggested she look for miracles every day, in nature and in the world around her. His advice was intended to build her faith that miracles are possible, even in families broken by estrangement. What a gift, because even independent of that hoped-for result, she’s looking for miracles in her everyday life. She’s attuned to look for and find the good.
Where else might you find “good”? I’d love to hear how you accomplish this assignment, so be sure and leave a comment. Let’s cheer each other on, serving as holiday lights for ourselves, other parents, and the people we meet.