In my last blog, Walking with Trolls, part II, I shared two of my son-in-law’s Facebook posts. I hope they captured for you both John’s strong sense of brotherly love and his (slightly warped) sense of humor. In a future blog, I plan to share another of his FB posts. Hey, you should just become his FB friend! Or check out his blog, Munzer Musings, at:
I am blessed with two sons-in-law. Each of them is a little “weird,” but then they were attracted to my uniquely “weird” (and wonderful) daughters, Christina and Rebecca. Both John and Monty are gentle men. (Note the TWO words, not one.)
John makes a career of being a gentle man, working with special needs clients and teaching courses on non-violent ways to deal with troubled people. Both John and Christina teach these classes and espouse a non-aggressive response to violently acting people. They WILL “take a hit” — and have done so — rather than strike back in any defensive mode that will cause pain. I am proud of their work, but I would never take one of their classes. I don’t want to know it’s not right to punch back. Of course, I would never punch first….
My son-in-law Monty is cut from the same fabric. He is a gentle man. And a gentleman. (John, on the other hand….) Monty had trouble early on adjusting to our family. Especially at meal time. He made the comment early in the game that, at the dinner table, it takes our family just few minutes before we start talking about things that “should not be mentioned at the dinner table.” I smile thinking of our last meal with Monty: he didn’t wince once. He’s become one of us. Well, at least he doesn’t wince.
Anyway, Monty sent me a video clip that PERFECTLY fit both my need to watch something laugh-out-loud funny, AND my desire to add to the list of practical things I planned to share with you this week.
So far, my list looked like this:
1) LAUGH more! One thing I plan to do during Lent is to watch some old Carol Burnett videos – NOT as a penance, but as an antidote for Negativity Poisoning.
2) Practice Thumper’s mom’s admonition: “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.” And instead, PRAY for that someone…especially if that someone happens to be our president….
3) Learn more about the issues of the day, choosing sources carefully, so I sound smarter when I argue….uh, scratch that. So I can have a better formed conscience.
So that was my list before I got Monty’s email. At the end of this post, I’ll give the web address of the clip Monty sent me. It’s only 12 minutes long, and – though its primary target audience seems to be those seeking to improve work productivity – it has some wise things to say that are pertinent to our subject.
The speaker in the video, Shaun Ancor, described our Negative News overload perfectly:
When I turn on the news, the majority of it is not positive. In fact, it’s mostly negative — about murder, corruption, disease, and disasters. And very quickly, my brain starts to think that’s the accurate ratio of positive and negative in the world!
When we feed on Negative News, we become negative people. And negative people are neither happy nor productive. Shaun goes on to list some ways to “up the positivity quotient” in our lives:
#1. Gratitude. Every day, for 21 days, write down three different things you’re grateful for that day. Shaun says that, after 21 days, the brain start to scan the world for a pattern –NOT a negative one, but positive! That reminds me of the Scripture, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (I Thessalonians 5:18)
Yesterday, Tom and I had the JOY of attending Mass with our God-daughter, Maria, and her mother Kristina. After Mass, they shared something that DELIGHTED me. As Kristina drives Maria to school each weekday morning, they share with each other things they’re each thankful for. WOW! What a notion! Mother-daughter bonding at its best! (And they don’t stop at three!)
#2. Journaling. Every day, journal about one positive experience that happened that day. This allows your brain to relive that experience – underlining it so to speak.
#3. Exercise. Shaun says exercise teaches that your behavior matters. Hmm. I can’t ever remember exercise teaching me anything but the fact that I don’t like it much. But, hey, Shaun IS right: you do feel more positive about yourself after you’ve exercised!
#4. Meditation. According to Shaun, meditation allows the brain to get over our cultural ADHD. Meditation helps us to focus on the one task at hand. (For me, meditation equals prayer; prayer helps me to focus on God more than on myself; and THAT helps me with EVERYTHING!)
#5. Random Acts of Kindness. Shaun suggests that, every day, we post three positive emails, FB or Twitter comments, praising or thanking someone in our digital network. Thumper’s mom would be so proud of us if we did this every day!
Isn’t this a great list? Though its primary audience is for business people, and its purpose is to increase productivity in the workplace, Shaun’s list is based on Scriptural principles. I could have added a Scripture reference to every point, not just the first one. What’s truth is TRUTH, right?
I intend to take this list to heart – except perhaps the journaling. I’m too busy writing blogs these days! I challenge you to try one or two of them. Let me know if you do — and what happened.
Once again, stay tuned. Next time I’ll focus on the third point on my list: developing a better understanding of the issues of the day without dipping into murky News sources.
PS Here’s the web address for the video clip Monty sent me: