The Bright Thing to Do

I’ve tried a little different twist this week to my end of day journaling. I usually, in addition to recounting my illustrious doin’s (laundry can be illustrious, right?), also list five things about each day that I’m grateful for. This isn’t hard, most days. You good folks continue to buy my books–I am endlessly grateful for that! I get to do work I love. I have the physical ability to do playful things I love to do. Life on a day-to-day basis is, all things considered, pretty sweet.

But life from a larger perspective is daunting. The pandemic is winning in too many states and nations, politics is an ongoing roller derby that doesn’t seem to be solving any of our real problems, and grappling constructively with racism will take courage, integrity, luck, and tons of persistence.

Through my early adulthood, the Fairness Doctrine meant news organizations dealt in facts and truth, but that stopped being the case when the Fairness Doctrine was repealed (1987, at  President Reagan’s direction). Now? The profit motive means that those same organizations present us with material that engages, whether it’s true, relevant, important, or ridiculous. And what engages us? Negativity, that’s what.

If you are Og or Oggette Caveperson, strolling forth from your camp into the glorious dawn of the new prehistoric day, and you are faced with the choice of wallowing in the beauty of the sunrise, or scampering away from that cobra curled in the grass, you either get to scampering (and give that place in the grass a wide berth ever after), or you don’t live to appreciate too many more sunrises. So we notice trouble, we recall trouble, and we watch for trouble. The media thus feeds us a constant diet of trouble, threats of trouble, and possible trouble.

It makes me cranky and down, to be on red alert all the time, so I back away from social media, from untrustworthy “news” sites, and so forth, but lately I’m doing something else. I’m concluding my day with a little inventory of What Went Right.

Anything is fair game for this list. I found one healthy orange kitten on my porch. Healthy is good. A litter of one (appears to be) is very good. I-could-catch-him is a hat trick, because anybody I can catch I can get fixed. What else went right? Maryland’s COVID numbers are trending downward and folks here wear their bleepin’ masks. Daisy Dorning (Fromm) wants a book (Sorry, Sycamore. Wait your turn). My boogered-up wrist isn’t getting any worse. Love and Other Perils is on ebook sale for $.99 and folks are buying it (both stories have kitties in them). Captain Sharpe survived Waterloo!

The immediate effect of inventorying what’s going right is a mood boost, but it’s also a form of conditioning. I’m telling my brain: Find a bright side. Look until you find one. Find five, in fact. Find fifteen. Focus on that. And I am gaining temporary immunity to the negativity that flows in a toxic flood from too many directions.

So what is going right for you? Where is your bright side? To three commenters, I’ll send signed copies of A Lady’s Dream Come True.

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14 comments on “The Bright Thing to Do

  1. 1
    Teenie Marie says:

    In a week full of things going wrong, today has been okay. And that’s what going right. Sometimes we just have to try to through the bad parts to get to the good parts. That’s all we can do, especially during this crazy time. I am happy now with small wins. I would never have felt this way before our Pandemic shelter-in-place. This is something I hope to will carry with me after all this is over. 🙂

  2. 2
    Karen says:

    Hummm…Saturday’s list

    1. Spend most of the day reading
    2. Eat leftovers for dinner
    3. Plant flowers
    4. Call a friend & make them laugh
    5. Tell someone you love them

  3. 3
    Brenda U K. says:

    This last week has not been a pleasant one,bad feelings and emotions have been circulating in the building where I live.Our caretaker has retired under a cloud of accusations and mistrust,letters have been sent to us making statements of bully tactics.Name calling and character violation.I am one of many living here in a beautiful location in a lovely building minding my own business.Now I’m in a circle of fire and must find my own bucket of water.I thought a lot,then I thought some more.!!!!.It was me —-just little old me who came up with my plan of dealing with current concern.Just be yourself be truthful to your own ideals and standards don’t be taken where you don’t want to go.Stay calm be kind,listen but remain true.We have a meeting to go to soon about the discord and already there is speculation of anger and shouting.I’ll put my faith in me.Stand firm be fair (I say to myself).wish me luck.

  4. 4
    Susan G says:

    I have had an odd week. Have a neighbor who lives behind us who has a party deck. He’s has asked us repeatedly over the past few years if we would cut down our trees so he could have a better view, we have always said no. This week, he added a twist, A man showed up at our front door ( who lives next to said neighbor) and asked if we would cut down our trees. My husband sent him packing.
    Our trees were planted 30 years ago to prevent erosion and provide shade. This upset our entire household.

    Friday held more positives. Rose, Greg and I had a lovely walk, work went smoothly, heard from my sister, we settled on purchasing a bookcase, coffee table and console for the living room, and I started a new book. And my daughter surprised us by buying take out dinner.

    The pandemic has brought restrictions to all of us. I am grateful to spend time with Rose ( the corgi). She can’t walk as fast or as long as the younger dogs but, she enjoys her time with me. She reminds me not to take the small things for granted.
    Off to wake her up..time to find the bunnies and birds.

    Have a good week..stay cool.

  5. 5
    Ann G says:

    I have the Best Cousin in the world who is closer to me than we are to our own siblings!!

    She& I love traveling to Disney together becausevwe are both kids at heart& she is helping mewith the process to get my disability rating approved through the VA

  6. 6
    Beth says:

    Finally getting around to cleaning out forgotten drawers & gleefully pitching stuff. Why do I have 4 boxes of push pins when my last cork board was 10+ years & 2 house moves ago? Local Vietnam Vets will be getting a windfall in donations as I find miscellaneous useful stuff that needs to be set free to a good home since I obviously didn’t miss them for at least a decade.

    Having the luxury of ignoring drawers over multiple house moves brings home how incredibly wealthy I am from a global perspective & suggests to me that perhaps some furniture might be extraneous to my current life. Blessing list lengthening.

    Blessed my best friend yesterday with a sack of clothes too big for me now & almost right for her work-in-progress body. Had a lovely time doing girly try on things not possible for months & was blessed in turn with a lunch not of my own making, which left my taste buds humming in delight.

    Got the dime size hail side of yesterday’s severe weather instead of the scary hook echo on the Doppler that blew down trees, so I celebrated my modern version of Passover with the now-adult goslings & Big Momma who came running to my patch of the lakeshore afterwards for mutual reassurance & a snack.

    I’m making judicious use of the Off button to block stupidity beyond my control & maintaining my little patch of peace. If the other fellers could bring themselves to do likewise, we’d all be in a better place. But that’s way above my pay grade, so I content myself with watching
    Big Momma keeping her flock in line.

  7. 7
    bn100 says:

    spending time with family

  8. 8
    Pam says:

    Congratulations on being adopted by your new cat! Another cat who has found a forever home is very good news. My son found a young (pregnant) feline lady at a nearby lake this year, and Miss Laken has now been neutered and lives with us.

    Things aren’t horrible in my house, and for that I give thanks. Our city and state is a different story.

  9. 9
    Ann says:

    Love this challenge of ending the day with 5 things that went right or were positive.

  10. 10
    Mary Mercado says:

    My husband just underwent a heart catheterization procedure on June 22, and the cardiologist told me he was envious of the healthy condition of his heart.There is an uncontained wildfire burning five miles from my home, and it appears to be staying within the canyons–yay! Two people at my work were exposed to Covid-19, but didn’t test positive. Both of my kids were authorize to work from home–no virus interaction!
    Despite my sister working with Covid-19 patients in a hospital, she continues to test negative–thanks to PPE. We are beating the odds in my family, and I am beyond grateful…

  11. 11
    Marianne says:

    There are some YouTube sailors my husband follows who have been stranded on Fiji for about 3 months now. They adopted a kitten they found half dead on the street and have turned it over to a shelter for spay/neuter and a forever home. In the process they managed to raise a lot of $$ for the shelter. Good story for what has been a hard time for them. And definitely a win for Kitten.

  12. 12
    Marielle says:

    I had a corporate executive job 20+ years ago that caused a tremendous amount of anxiety. As in, I had to sing James Brown’s “I feel good…” when I was getting ready in the morning. I also started a gratitude journal and it really helped to note 5 positive things at the end of each day. I’ve had my own consulting business for 17 years now and every day is a blessing. I love the work (on hold during this pandemic) and enjoy reading, quilting, gardening and, sometimes, cooking. My cat is 13 and has slowed down a lot, but is still cuddly even in the summer. My husband and son (both farmers) and my daughter (a breast cancer researcher) are healthy and love what they do, too. My 80+ year old parents are self-isolating and coping well. Turning off the news and social media has been a good way to remove exposure to the negative and focus on the positive present. Your books are always a wonderful respite and I pre-order every one. Thank you for what you do, through your labors, to add to my personal peace.

  13. 13
    Tricia Wright says:

    No one yelled at me today. My Mothers leg cramps aren’t as bad today. My dog love me everyday. My Daughter is taking me on a Birthday adventure and she told me early! The sun set hasn’t happened yet but it will be amazing and I can see it from my window

  14. 14
    Sarah says:

    A job with people I genuinely like that doesn’t give me stress while allowing me a safe space to be outside the home. A marriage I am happy in, children who are struggling and mature enough to talk about it instead of acting out or taking it out on me in any way. A body cooperating enough to comfortably exercise. Good books aplenty.