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  • Kelly Marks

Positive Thinking?

I struggled with what to write today. In fact, I had a complete post ready to go about tragedy and gun control and grief. My heart, like everyone in this country, has been heavy. I read a quote by Kate Bowler, someone far wiser than I, and she said, “there are significant limitations of this ‘positive thinking’ approach. We often bulldoze over real feelings and real problems."


So I thought long and hard about telling you how devastated I am by recent events and how angry I am by the fact that it continues to happen over and over again, but you can hear that everywhere. In fact, yesterday I heard a comedian, of all people, deliver probably the most coherent take on the whole situation, but I don’t think that’s my purpose. “A Uniquely Positive View of Daily Life” is a heading on this blog, and that’s what I want to focus on for a few minutes.


There is so much horror in the world right now, everywhere you turn, that far from ignoring the news, I hope I can just counterbalance it just a tiny bit.


About a week ago I was asked to speak to a group of women about living their best life. I was asked to give a reminder that whether we have 2 days or 20 years left, that we need to make the most of it.


I can’t tell you how excited I was. I spent the week prepping and organizing my thoughts, and every day I found more things I wanted to add. I got a little panicky; they were only giving me an hour, but it was all so important. The morning of the speech I was so excited, I was fairly humming with energy.


On Wednesday, the hour with this wonderful group of women went by in a flash. We laughed and learned and found it’s better not to take everything so seriously, and then Thursday, the rug got pulled out from under us again.


So today, as I’m sad and angry, I'm not ignoring the horror that's out there in the world, and I'm not burying my head in the sand, but I am reminding myself of things that are so much more difficult now than they were on Wednesday:


Live exuberantly. This doesn’t mean you have to skydive or climb Everest. It means enjoy the moment; quit worrying about what others think; lavish love on those around you. Send a book to a friend and let them be joyfully surprised when the mail arrives; if someone’s smile or their outfit catches your eye in the grocery store, compliment them; if someone does a great job, tell them. And if you get bad service somewhere, DON’T tell them. That’s a gift too.


In a book about gratitude called Thanks!, it was pointed out that you can’t feel two emotions at the same time; so when you get overwhelmed by the sadness and pain of it all, maybe say a little prayer for the gift of the life you have been given.



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