Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tomorrow is Another Day

    I was reading an old journal I kept of my daughter Ava's antics that I wrote in regularly when she was little.  When she was a year and a half old I made the following entry: "Today you unraveled 75 feet of waxed paper-rather than get mad, I scooped it up in the air and screamed "Wheeeeeee"!! and you (Ava) joined in! We wore it as boas around our necks and carried it like flags 'til it was ragged." 

     I read this to Ava (now nine and a half, going on seventeen) and she said, "Mom, you would never do that now."  And I knew she was right!  I needed to figure out why. It is not as simple as the fact that she is growing up and I expect more from her, it's actually not about her at all.  It's about getting so bogged down in the minutiae of everyday life that you cease to find joy, or even a mild chuckle, in the situations and predicaments life hands us so regularly.

    Now, whenever a day is going particularly awry, I use my Scarlett O'Hara mantra, "Tomorrow is another day".  Life has an amazing capacity for offering us "do overs".  We can go to sleep, get a good night's rest, wake up and vow to do better the next day, even if just a little bit.   This is a little bit of a cop out, but it has worked for me in the past(!)  

    However, imagine if rather than waiting for the next morning to start fresh, we accept life's little challenges as they arrive on our laps and greet them with a fresh perspective. What if we laughed when the cat tipped over the milk, we sang that song playing on the radio instead of cursing at the slow car in front of us, or we apologized for snapping at our kids or our spouse for something of relatively little importance. 

    I have just read an amazing book that chronicles the ability that we all have within us to begin to greet life's challenges with a positive attitude and increase our joy, hopefulness and gratitude exponentially in a way that will truly change our lives.  It calls to mind the concept of "mindfulness" in Buddhist traditions that has been associated with alleviating anxiety, depression and a host of physical ailments. (No, I do not get a commission!) Check out the link below and read a few pages from this true pioneer in the field of psychology, for free!

Positivity: Groundbreaking Research Reveals How to Embrace the Hidden Strength of Positive Emotions, Overcome Negativity, and Thrive by Barbara Frederickson

   Okay, let's face it. This book is not going to walk your dog for you, and it won't cook dinner for your family when you come home from work completely worn out.  But you may look at your neighborhood in a different way while you are out walking the dog, and you may feel immense gratitude as your family eats the meal you cooked that they are all healthy and chewing with their mouths closed.  Works for me!

    I think you get the idea, and I hope you are smiling even if reading this made you late for work.  If not, revert to the wisdom of Scarlett O'Hara and let me know how it goes...

'Til next time,


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