Fighting Back Against Negativity

Be an Encourager © Photocreo Bednarek – stock.adobe.com

Maybe it’s the writer in me, but I believe the struggle between Positive and Negative is a war. Imagine two kingdoms fighting for control in the battlefield of human consciousness. One side wants to lift humanity higher and encourages us to follow our own dreams. It values freedom of thought, kindness, and creativity. The other side wants to control through fear, depression, and hatred. I don’t know why. I suspect there is a larger agenda hidden from us.

Negativity has powerful weapons. Fear-mongering can be a blunt instrument that smashes common sense. It can also use gossip to subtly undermine. Both tactics are part of Negativity’s Deception arsenal. Lies cause mistrust. Mistrust causes resentment and hatred. If you don’t trust anyone, you will become isolated and depressed. The energy to fight negativity is lost to you.

Positivity may seem to be losing the war right now, but our side has powerful weapons too.

  • Acts of Kindness outweigh violence
  • Truth spoken with Love cancels out lies and ignorance
  • Knowledge smashes the barbs of fear and misdirection
  • And the most powerful weapon of all? We have each other! Be an encourager. Lift someone else up!

No matter how horrible things get or how upset I feel, I refuse to feed the enemy’s forces. What about you? How will you stand in the face of Negativity?

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well. 

Do What You Can Do

Be Kind to Yourself © laplateresca – stock.adobe.com

Task Lists are helpful. They serve as reminders for all the stuff we need to accomplish each day, week, or year. Lists manage our productivity and keep us humming along. I rely on them to keep me sane with my many literary projects. Ticking off completed tasks gives me a feeling of accomplishment. During this pandemic, however, they are seriously stressing me out.

Our world has morphed into an unpredictable and sometimes frightening place. Yes. I know. If I’m honest, life has always been an unpredictable minefield in which I had no control over anything. But it was my minefield and I knew how to navigate it. Now? Not so much.

I’ve gone from:

Forcing a positive attitude: People need my art to help them feel better!

Then Depression: What’s the point? Does my art really matter?

Finally, Acceptance: The world continues to change. Success looks different now. I must remember why I do my art. In a word: Love

Do What You Can Do

I have days when my creative brain won’t cooperate due to stress or depression. Here are a few ways I cope:

  • I putter around with practical tasks: formatting my manuscripts, researching topics, outlining unfinished chapters
  • I read manuscript drafts to remind myself of upcoming fun projects
  • I free write random ideas (nonsense is encouraged)
  • I try creative hobbies other than writing. Classical guitar is my newest interest
  • I silence my inner taskmaster

Be extra kind to your creative brain right now. It will eventually adjust to the new reality. Patience, mindfulness, and self-care will ensure your creativity thrives again.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Are You Holding onto Old Stuff?

Old stuff © Watercolor_Concept – stock.adobe.com

The pandemic has been a curious motivator to clean out closets, dust off old hobbies, and re-examine priorities. Like most people, I’ve had the opportunity to go through stuff I’ve hidden in closets and on shelves. Are these objects hidden treasures or just junk gathering dust?

I hadn’t realized how sentimental I was until running across my musical instruments. One instrument is impossible to miss. I have a piano in my living room. Though I don’t play much anymore, I still hang onto it. I used to be a concert pianist in College. The piano is a comfortable fixture in my life. I like having the option of sitting down and playing music anytime I want.

Then we come to the string instruments. I have an acoustic guitar, a classical guitar, and two mandolins. The acoustic guitar has been with me through a divorce, flood, and three moves. Its case is damaged, but the guitar is still beautiful and looks new. I’ve never liked playing this guitar. The steel strings hurt my fingers. The neck is small and awkward in my hands. Why have I kept it for the past twenty-plus years if I don’t like it? No idea.

The classical guitar has nylon strings and a wider neck. It’s comfortable to play and sounds beautiful. I have decided to keep this one and sell the acoustic guitar. This is a huge breakthrough for me! I’m still working on letting go of the mandolins and possibly the piano. Baby steps.

What about you? Are you holding onto things that don’t fit your life anymore? Let them go and make room for new experiences.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Finding Beauty in Surprising Places

It’s a foggy dismal morning. My Labrador Retriever, Mr. Pooh, doesn’t seem to mind. The new spring bunnies are hopping around the wet grass. He loves pretending to chase them. Pooh runs a few yards and then goes on point. We both understand it’s just a game and no fuzzy critters will get hurt. Bunnies are a great source of doggy entertainment on a Spring morning.

Giraffe – Unknown artist Aurora, CO

I tug at my coat collar and watch him sniff about as we walk. The coffee isn’t kicking in yet. I long for the sunshine and warmer weather. This damp gloom is souring my mood.

Penguin – Unknown artist Aurora, CO

Then I see it. Some talented soul has painted art on a little hope rock and left it to cheer their neighbors. One…Two…Three little gifts of beauty. I take pictures to share with you. And I wonder if I’ve missed other signs of Love, Hope, and Joy when I was stuck in my own gloomy thoughts.

Gnome – Unknown artist Aurora, CO

How about you? Are you seeking out little signs of beauty and joy?

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Walking on Water and Other Annoying Habits

Everybody has there own perspective! © Philip Steury – stock.adobe.com

The Green River tumbles from Utah’s Flaming Gorge Dam in thunderous roars. It churns and bucks at its center, propelling water through the towering walls of rock. Then the canyon widens. The river slows its pace. Calm ripples make their way gently to shore. It is here the trout thrive.

I’ve spent many pleasurable hours walking along the banks of the Green River with fly rod in hand. Wear the right sunglasses and you can see the trout swimming along the shore. The water is that clear. I’ve stood in the Green River with my line floating downstream and had a trout swim mockingly between my legs.

Is the river really green? I suppose it depends on your sunglasses. Some fishermen prefer dark polarized lenses. Others like the yellowish amber tint. Both help your eyes see the fish better against the glare of sunshine on water.  Both give the water a different shade. Which one is correct? I bet if you ask the fish they’d say, “Get out of my river, two legs. You’re both wrong.”

How can you know what another fisherman sees unless you swap sunglasses? You’ll soon find you’re both right and you’re both wrong. It’s pointless to argue or feel superior about what you see in the river (unless you can walk on water.) Everyone views life through the filter of their personal experiences.

I think the trout might have the most accurate perspective. To be honest, they can be a little judgy.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Dignity Matters

Dignity – Definition

  • The state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect
  • A sense of pride in oneself, self-respect

Dignity Matters © Nikki Zalewski – Stock.Adobe.Com

What do you think of when you hear the word “Dignity?” Do you imagine an old dowager with fancy pearls and servants? Maybe you visualize a war hero with a sharp uniform and metals.

What I Observed Working with The Dying

Several years ago, I worked as a clerk in a specialty care inpatient clinic and hospital. Our patients were the elderly and the terminally ill. My job was wrangling hospital forms. I had the unenviable task of collecting signatures from the dying. This was during the height of the AIDS epidemic. Naturally, there was an overabundance of fear and a serious lack of compassion for the suffering.

The meaning of Dignity became clear to me one day as I visited two AIDS patients in their hospital rooms. The first young man – in his early twenties – maintained a good attitude. He laughed and joked with his family. Though in pain, he was gracious to his care staff. This young man gave me hope.

The second young man – also in his twenties – was a bundle of screams and ugly crying. He was mean to his care staff and bitter toward his family members. I’d been around the ward long enough to have an inkling of how much pain these patients endured. I can only imagine how fear must have haunted their every moment. Both young men were close to the end of their short lives. Death was a terrifying reality.

The young men were expressing their true natures. They were both dying (painfully) of AIDS. They both had every right to rage against the disease. The first young man, however, chose Dignity. He maintained his self-respect and chose to die with courage – not just for himself. He stayed strong for his family.

It is not the circumstance that defines us, it is our reaction to adversity or fear that shows who we really are. Remember: Someone is relying upon you. They need your strength. Choose Dignity.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Be A Teacher

Be A Mentor! © aleutie – stock.adobe.com

You’ve stayed true to your creative journey. Looking back on the road you’ve traveled; the pitfalls and wrong turns seem obvious now. Are you satisfied with your destination? Or is your journey ongoing? Now is your time to pay it forward.

  • Share your Knowledge
  • Give Your Encouragement Freely
  • Reap the Benefits of Fulfillment

Be a mentor to someone just starting their journey. Find the poor soul struggling in a pothole who can’t see the way out.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Be A Warrior

Be A Warrior! © serhiibobyk – stock.adobe.com

Anyone who has walked the Creative Path knows it can be rocky. We struggle with the pitfalls of the road.

  • Lack of Inspiration
  • Bouts of Self-Doubt
  • Failure to Finish
  • Failure of Our Art to Inspire

Now is the time when you must be a warrior!

Tough times demand absolute faith in your journey. Know you were chosen to share your art with the world. Someone needs to be inspired by what you create. Don’t give up!

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Be A Seeker

Take The First Step! © Sondem – stock.adobe.com

Congratulations! You’ve had the courage to begin your Creative Journey. It’s an exciting time. Remember: Every journey begins with a single baby step.

  • Learn: Hone your craft
  • Mentors: Learn from those who are further along on the path than you
  • Patience: Mistakes happen. Learn from them rather than becoming discouraged

Visualizing your goal destination is important, but don’t be too married to the idea. You have a lifelong journey ahead. Make it meaningful. The journey should be joyful. Be open to the exciting surprises you’ll experience along the way.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Book Love 2020

Book Love

Book Love – © zaie – Stock.adobe.com

It’s the season of love. Wine, chocolates, flowers, and those little candy hearts. Feel the romance.

Meh. I prefer a deeper passion that’s pure and true. Book Love, of course!

Here are a few of my FAV recent reads.

Non-Fiction: Good Juju: Mojos, Rites & Practices for the Magical Soul by Najah Lightfoot

Mystery: Why Didn’t They Ask Evans and Endless Night by Agatha Christie

Spooky Love: Inside by D.M. Siciliano and The Haunting of Ashburn House by Darcy Coates

What about you? Are there books you’ve read recently that you love? Please share in the comments.