When my wife and I began to make our home together, we went through the collective stuff we brought along.
Alice's mother had passed away not long before and we had her stuff in a closet- old cookbooks, quilter's magazines, postcards and meticulously detailed financial records. Then we saw a box that was labeled "old negatives." I knew what they were- those strips of celluloid that accompanied photos the store developed for you (remember that we actually had to wait a week to have our Kodak moments processed?).
But I got to thinking- how many "old negatives" do we carry around? Moments in time that stand still: being bullied in 4th grade, overlooked by family when we did something extraordinary, decades-old disagreements... so many snarled snapshots of the past when an argument, break-up or accusation was transferred onto our mind's canvas... and whenever a thought, memory, smell or emotion brings it up, the curtains open and the drama is re-played.
THERE'S A DIFFERENT WAY TO LIVE. What if we learned to cultivate "new positives"? Imagine if we had a mantra for tough days that went something like, "This is only how my life looks like now..." Is it possible for you to think forward, have a future memory and just know that your life is beginning to look like you want it? Wouldn't it be much more life-giving to have new positives beckon you onward rather than define yourself by the crippled story of old negatives?
The late Anthony DeMello writes:
Imagine that you're unwell and in a foul mood, and they're taking you through some lovely countryside. The landscape is beautiful but you're not in the mood to see anything. A few days later you pass the same place and you say, "Good heavens, where was I that I didn't notice all of this"? Everything becomes beautiful when you change. Or you look at the trees and the mountains through windows that are wet with rain from a storm, and everything looks blurred and shapeless. You want to go right out there and change those trees, change those mountains. Wait a minute, let's examine your window. When the storm ceases and the rain stops, and you look out the window, you say, "Well, how different everything looks". We see people and things not as they are, but as we are. That is why when two people look at something or someone, you get two different reactions. We see things and people not as they are, but as we are.
Put this program into action, a thousand times: (a) identify the negative feelings in you; (b) understand that they are in you, not in the world, not in external reality; (c) do not see them as an essential part of "I"; these things come and go; (d) understand that when you change, everything changes.
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