Down East 2013 ©
The most important thing in life is having a positive attitude. That’s what I think. It not only helps you live longer, it makes life a heck of a lot less stressful and frankly, much more fun.
Easier said than done, right? ‘Cause some days, it just seems like there’s of host of little gremlins conspiring against me to derail my positivity. And the biggest culprit of them all? Me, usually.
Hands down, I think the things that get in my way most when it comes to maintaining a positive attitude are my expectations. You know, I’m all jacked up about Dottie’s Valentines Day party, looking forward to it all week, got a new outfit and everything, and, that day, a blizzard. Or, I can’t wait for the new Russell Crowe movie, countin’ the days. Then I go all the way to Bangor to see the thing, and not only is the plot kind of weak, it’s one of those movies where Russell has gained a bunch of weight and is looking scruffy as all get-out. Boy, that kind of thing can take your sunny disposition down a notch! Alas, big expectations can lead to big disappointments.
My niece Caitlin, who considers herself a Buddhist (it seems harmless enough) says, “Aim for one hundred percent intention, zero attachment.”
“Sounds good, Caitlin, but what exactly does that mean?”
“Well,” she says, “you set your intention, like ‘I’m going to have a good time at that party or whatever. But you don’t project ahead to what that good time is going to look like. You don’t try and fill in all the details beforehand. If you leave yourself open to whatever happens, you’re less likely to be disappointed.”
“You mean go with the flow?” I ask.
“Right! It’s about being open and curious about what’s going to happen, but not trying to control it.”
“Okay, so say Charlie and me are going to a bean supper down to the Congo Church, and I have my heart set on a piece of peanut butter pie. I mean, I’m thinking about it all week. Come Saturday, we’re running late, and by the time we get there, the peanut butter pie’s all gone. Well, I’m going to be miffed!”
“Sure,” Caitlin continues, “but if you think, I’m going to have fun at the bean supper this week, pie or no pie . . . ”
“Ooh, Caitlin, that’s too hard.”
“It takes practice. Every time you start thinking about that peanut butter pie, stop, and bring yourself back to your intention: I’m going to have fun at the bean supper, period.”
“Then, if there isn’t any peanut butter pie, it’s no big deal?”
“Right. If you’re less attached to that, and open and curious about other options, you may be pleasantly surprised.”
“Well,” I says. “Estelle Fournier’s lemon meringue is pretty tasty, too. It’s been awhile since I’ve had a slice of that!”
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
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