“In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.” – Yoda
In your mind a picture let me paint…
Sorry, getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with an exercise!
Let me paint a picture in your mind.
A man wakes up and looks at the clock. It’s 6:12 AM which is 3 minutes before the alarm usually sounds. He yawns, stretches, gets out of bed and puts on his robe and slippers. Then he goes into the kitchen and puts on some coffee.
His kids are still sleeping but he gently opens the door, steps in, kisses them on the forehead and whispers “I love you”. It’s 6:35 and in 10 minutes he’ll get in his car and go to work. Before he steps out he wakes his wife up with a kiss and says: “I’ll pick up the kids today. There’s coffee downstairs and the newspaper’s in the hall.”
There’s something different in the air today. He takes a deep breath, smiles, gets in the car and drives off.
He’s on the freeway singing along to the radio and his phone rings…
What happens next? Take some time and write the next scene in your head!
So? What did you conjure up?
Did he get into an accident while reaching for the phone? Did he get some bad news? Did he answer and get a message from the “beyond”? Did he get abducted by aliens? Did the phone ring at such a frequency that it made him soil his pants?
More often than not we create conflict in stories. That’s great for storytelling, it moves things along nicely. We’re used to the formula. Boy meets girl, romance ensues, conflict arises, the breakup, the plotting to win her back, the failure, the final grand gesture, the makeup, the happily ever after. We have an innate desire for it!
But is it productive?
We’ve gotten so used to seeing it in movies, books, media and the news. It’s infected our way of thinking.
How often do we find ourselves enjoying a moment when all of a sudden a thought creeps into our mind: “What if..?”. What if after dinner she tells me she wants to break up with me? What if the plane crashes? What if I say no to taking the shift and I get fired? What if my children get bad grades, don’t go to college and end up on the streets? And there’s a million “what if’s” out there. It’s not even “out there”, it’s “in here”. In our brains!
There are always risks with everything. But getting ourselves worked up and worried over things that haven’t happened yet is of no help whatsoever. Preparing for the worst doesn’t mitigate the pain. If anything it ruins the joy of the moment.
There are plenty of parents who’ve at one moment watched their child playing, full of life and wonder. And in the very next moment imagined them experiencing an accident, pain or even death. Thanks brain!
Now that we know we’re feeding our brain these patterns of thought we can actually do something about it! Wohoo!
Look, i’m not saying that negative thoughts are necessarily bad. They are a great way of finding problems which need resolving.
I usually refer to Jim Dickson’s attempt at crossing the Atlantic. Many people admired his “positive thinking” and “can-do-attitude”. When asked about this he said that he couldn’t relate to what the media was saying. He said that he imagined every worst case scenario and made sure to prepare for it. This was a good thing as he faced many difficult obstacles along the way.
No, negative thoughts are not always destructive. It’s only how and when we use them that make them so. If there’s no way to use them constructively we should put them aside.
First thing we can do is to make some room for gratitude! This is a great way of looking at the good stuff in our lives and really let them sink in.
The second thing is to expect good things to happen. What if that phone call was something good? What if it was a great opportunity that just opened up? What if it was his wife calling to tell him that she’d just seen the perfect house in the paper? What if it was his kids calling him up and wishing him a great day?
That’d be a completely sappy and boring scene in a movie, book or tv-series. It’s hardly going to be on the news either. “Oh, honey! Come see this! Can you believe it? The Johnson’s just found the most darling little house in Connecticut. This must be the dopest shiznit i’ve ever seen!” said no one, ever.
And if someone did, well, i’d love to meet that person. In fact, i’d pay for it. I imagine it being something like an evening of poetry slam between Angela Lansbury and Snoop Dogg. Yup, that’s definitely what i’ll be dreaming about tonight.
I listened to a program a while back and heard the word “anastrophic”. The guy said that it was the opposite of “catastrophic”. I liked this word from the get-go so I added it to my list. So today as I was looking up the definition of it and… Crap! It didn’t mean what he said.
I was a bit dissapointed at first but when I read the meaning it was even better! It meant: “The reversal of the usual order of words”.
I love the character of Yoda. He’s like this amazing collection of every great teacher, mentor and philosopher that’s ever lived. And now I finally have a word for what the hell his style of speech is!
So what is the opposite of catastrophe? Wonderful words like blessing, fortune, joy, peace and success pop up. If there’s ever any motion to add “anastrophe” to that list then sign me up!
With some quotes from Yoda i’ll leave you for now!
“Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our point of view.”
“Truly wonderful the mind of a child is.”
“You will find only what you bring in.”
“Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere.”
“Named must your fear be before banish it you can.”
“Do or do not. There is no try.”