A couple of Fridays ago I was sitting in my grandmother’s living room. She was nursing a cup of coffee and I was downing a Monster energy drink. We gazed out the window and beheld the brown Spring landscape dropping off into tidal water. One might expect there to be a large gap in perspective in our inter-generational gaze but there was none on that particular afternoon. We had been discussing social problems and current affairs with a mutual sense of horror and helplessness.
“What a nice thing to talk about with your poor grandmother,” one might say. There are, of course, happier topics to be discussed but, then again, how can these issues be avoided when we are bombarded with political corruption, war, poverty, pollution and, perhaps worst of all, The Twerk every time we turn on the TV? For a woman whose heart is full of love for her children and grandchildren, the future can look understandably grim.
This leads to the question of how to navigate recovery in today’s troubled world. Anyone – addict or otherwise – might feel like popping a Prozac or thirty after spending five minutes with the newspaper. Or considering the vile amount of garbage littering the beach. Or talking to someone in social services. Or…
Let’s stop there.
These spirals into doom and gloom can be extremely dangerous for the addict/alcoholic (please note that when I use the term addict, I use it to encompass addictions of all kinds – not just drugs). If we’re happy, we use. If we’re sad, we use. If we’re angry, we use. If we’re bored, we use. Any excuse to dump More into the internal bottomless pit.
So how do we not get pulled into the outward negativity and enjoy positive and content lives despite the chaos?
As I frequently say, I can only share what has worked in my experience:
I ask myself “What can I really change?” and the answer is always unequivocally “Me”.
I cannot overhaul Washington, clean the entire ocean, end poverty, cure disease, and establish world peace. But I can make my own world beautiful. I can be the kind of person I’d like to meet. (Sometimes I’m really not, truth be told. Progress not perfection!)
I can plant a garden, adorn my house with flowers, smile at someone in the grocery store, write, take a hundred photographs, or throw around a ball. I can kiss a baby, pet a dog, bake cookies, read poetry, clean out my closet, or stop and notice the stars. I can spend hours with a good coffee and a good friend. I can drive for no reason other than to look for the sake of looking. I can do my best to be a good world citizen and, having done that, accept the world for what it is. I can fill my own space with love.
What’s the best way to get love?
Give it away.
Maybe it sounds corny. Maybe it sounds cliché. Maybe it sounds over simplified. But I swear it works.
When the world seeps into me and taints my spirit it is because I choose to let it. I am not a victim. What I think becomes how I feel.
Obviously I don’t do these things perfectly. Sometimes my spirit feels weary and broken down. However, if I remind myself to choose love and make my own world beautiful, I feel right as rain.
I’d love to hear some of the ways you choose love and stay positive. Please leave a comment and share.
*The title of this post is a quote from Tennessee Williams. Original source of the graphic is unknown but the credit does not belong to me.