Friday, January 23, 2009

Best Kept Secret - See the Positive

It's very easy these days to get into a funk...economy tanking, Global Warming, wars, poverty... but here's a lesson for all of us.

I spent this morning watching The Secret (I highly recommend it) and it reminded me of an incident with my older daughter, Joanna, when she was 10. Saying she was unhappy is the grossest understatement in the world. Out of sheer frustration and tired of listening, day after day about how horrible her life was...well, here's the scene....

Me (at the top of the stairs to our flat)

Joanna (at the front door which is at the bottom of the stairs)

Doorbell rings and I answer it...with a big smile because I'm happy my angels are home.

Me: "Hi Princess (very upbeat - can you see the smile, feel the approaching hugs?)

J: "I hate M (car pool lady of the day - 4 of us rotated driving kids to and from school), she's so mean! And Mrs X (one of her teachers...I forget which one) wouldn't let me...(I sort of forget that too)"

Me: (gone the smile, shoulders tensing, eyes rolling back in my head - this diatribe has been going on for days!) "STOP right there! You can't come upstairs until you tell me 10 good things and then I'll listen to the rest!

J: (Shocked into silence!, and looking like a deer caught in the headlights) "but...but...but...there IS nothing good (crying through this last statement of despair).

M: "let me help you....
1. you don't have to drive with M for another 5 days - 7 if you count the weekend
2. you won't have Mrs X for another 4 days
3. most of the week is over
4. Y is not in school this week (nemesis classmate)
5-10 turned each negative into a positive (even if just to say it's gone for now).

For the next couple of months Joanna had to find 10 good things before I would even listen to one rotten one. To this day, she loves telling the story and attributes that one thing I did as a "mom" to be the best one. Apparently, she would start building her list as she started her day...favorite breakfast today, no gym (she was always a scholar, not a jock), sitting in the front seat (days before laws against kids in front - days before air bags, come to think of it) on the way to school... At first this was just to be able to reel them off so she could talk about the REAL stuff. After a while (not too long actually), the list BECAME the real stuff.

I'd forgotten that lesson one from The Secret for me: make a list of things I'm truly thankful and grateful for. My list is already long and I promise to make it grow every day. Tops for me:

my Honey,

my girls,

my grandchildren Boaz and Dov

and the fact that I can be close and share in the joy of watching them grow.

food - especially when I can get to play in the kitchen with both of my girls.

No more whining about the weather, the price of gas...whatever! That goes for you too. What are you waiting for....start that list going! I'd love for you to share some of your "good stuff" in the comments.


mikky said...

btw, you have a lovely family... :)

Ruth Daniels said...

Mikky - thank you and it certainly is huge on the "grateful for" list.

Hygeian Stew said...

What a touching story, thanks for sharing. I'm thankful to have such interesting blogs to read every day!

giz said...

I loved this post. I have the book, I have the DVD and each day when I wake up I do this "why I'm grateful" discussion with myself. You're right - life isn't perfect -but attitude generally wins over the kvetching.

Ruth Daniels said...

Giz, thanks and I'm trying hard not to's so pointless, but then again, so ingrained. It's like smiling that takes far less muscles to accomplish yet seems harder to do on its own.

Allison said...

Head on over to This Eclectic Life, she's starting "Only the Good Friday". Incidentally, my post on Friday was rather positive, so it was easy to jump in :-D

Allison said...

P.S. I <3 your Presto Pasta Nights. I've been a lurker for a while, just to look at those! :-)

melissa said...

Kvetching. *Smile* I haven't heard that in years. Too far away from family.

But Giz, Ruth, you too? The ideas from The Secret are wonderful and it is among many books that have honed in on the way I like to live my life. I am a big believer in the energy we put out there and what we draw into our lives because of it. I could go on and on because it gets into the fundamentals of my spiritual life, but I think you already get where I'm coming from. :)

I love your list Ruth, and I was very touched at the story of what you did for your daughter. Nice job, mom.

The Food Hunter said...

great story!