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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Now That's Progress

So here I am on the downside of the feast suddenly realizing I hadn't posted a peep since late October. I hate to repeat a refrain like this but .... it's been another hard month. I am getting so tired of hard months, days, weeks, years even! Something is wrong here and I think it isn't "these days" or "the times". I think it's "This Woman". Time to do a little repair work on my happiness generator.

So. According to Miriam-Webster (now a dot com), the go-to font of all definitions in my youth:

Definition of happiness
1 obsolete :  good fortune :  prosperity
2 a :  a state of well-being and contentment :  joy
   b :  a pleasurable or satisfying experience
3:  felicity, aptness

Ahhh - no wonder I didn't feel all that happy in November. First off there was the election, the outcome of which, I dreaded. If my candidate won half the country was going to rise up in protest. If the other candidate won, half the country would rise up in protest. Or else the losing side would hunker down in resentment. Either way, the shriek-fest of American politics had oozed it's dissension and disquiet into almost every cranny of life.  This was no state of well-being.

Then - there was a difficult personal issue I was trapped in - one of those rock-and-a-hard-place things that was going to hurt me because I felt pressed between, well, a rock and a hard place. Okay - nothing I can do about that but wait for time to do it's thing.

Then there was the Next Stage of my final big work project - that had to be done, that I was anxious about, even though I had lots of reasons to think it would turn out well. (It did, btw) Ha! It reminds me of October when, at the end of the month, there was another Big Deal Thing I had to do, feared the outcome of, and found afterwards that I'd foolishly worried about bad stuff that never happened.

Well, that Next Stage culminated in a perfectly wonderful evening last Monday - one that has left me feeling very uplifted. Not that other uplifting good things had failed to sprinkle my days. They had. A visit with a very lovely friend, a baby shower for my beautiful daughter-in-law, a long afternoon spent with a beloved sister. Those things were helpful, but before I could accept the gift that was last Monday, something in me was going to have to shift. Fortunately I had been guided by some guardian angel, or magic sprite, or divine and loving hand, to check out a book on tape by Joyce Meyer about changing the way you think. She has written so many books about changing the way you think I can't remember which title I listened to, and no. The library does not keep a record of what people have been reading, not even the director. If we don't collect that data it can't be subpoenaed. Meyer is a prolific Christian author and of course, this book has an entirely biblical foundation, with which I am somewhat neutral. I have my own spiritual path, that sort of fits in the mainstream Christian frame, but is far more based upon  Giovanni Guareschi's Christ in his Don Camillo stories than on the dogma of more formal religions - even if Don Camillo is a Catholic priest. No. I was looking for my action plan, my next right step, the kick-start to lifting that miasma of dread that seemed to be hanging over me.

Image result for slough of despondThe Black Slough Of Despond (Pilgrim's Progress) is a place that lurks out there on the fringes of my life.  I have been perilously close to it ever since Mama died. It is very easy for me to yield to its stickiness - it almost feels like an indulgence. Once in, it can take a long time to escape and I do a lot of collateral damage while I'm wallowing.

Ms Meyer has no patience with that though. She has a drill sergeant's voice and she is quick to say "stop thinking so wrongly".  And do it by starting every day with 5 good thoughts about yourself and your life and your world - but mostly yourself. And then say thank you for it.

So little. So simple. So powerful. And So.

Related imageI have been doing that now for about 10 days. There were things I dreaded during these 10 days. There were things I actually chose to delay, regardless of consequences. And by the 6th day I was ready to accept the compliment that last Monday was. And by today, as I lay in bed, listing the 5 good thoughts and saying thanks for them,  that load lifted.  I was ready to lighten up on myself and ... what's this? ... treat myself with the same kindness I try to treat others. Oh my. If this keeps up - who knows? I might start sailing under those sunny skies of The Place of Deliverance, if not the Celestial City itself.