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"Staying positive does not mean that things will turn out okay. Rather it is knowing that you will be okay no matter how things turn out."

One of my positives is my new puppy, Frankie, who brings me joy every day.

I’ve had a difficult couple of months, to put it mildly. I lost Shiloh, our beloved family dog of 14 years, I lost my mom, and a dear friend who was like family to me moved away, and now feels lost to me. In addition, I broke my ankle. All this happened during one of the dreariest, darkest winters we have had in years. The pain, both physical and emotional, was terrible. My inability to think was overwhelming. I searched for my resilience but it seemed lost in a black hole, a region of spacetime exhibiting gravitational acceleration so strong that nothing can escape from it. All seemed lost.

I needed other people in my life to remind me I am strong. They reminded me I can do hard things. They reminded me I can get through difficult times.

I don’t believe you can just look at things positively and change your life but I do believe you can look for the positive. You can try to find something positive to focus on. I spent months stuck wallowing in the negative when there were many positive wonderful things I could have seen. I have much to be grateful for. The gratitude I felt enabled me to see past the black hole, it enabled me to see my lost resiliency skills. It helped me move forward to healing.

Sometimes we get stuck. It may take weeks, or months to be able to be grateful once again and to focus on the positive. The important thing is that we never stop trying.

"If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again." Flavia Weeden

I went to the State Fair today. I can’t remember the last time I went to the Fair. I think my boys must have been six and five. I remember pulling them around in a wagon, their faces covered with chocolate from Sweet Martha’s cookies. Some things never change. My son and his wife went with us to the Fair and the thing he wanted most was a bucket of Sweet Martha’s chocolate chip cookies.

I’ve been working on a new thing I call positive activations. I’ve been trying to do more activities I enjoyed before I had terrible pain but I try to end them while they are still a positive experience. Ideally, activations involve an activity that would be stressful, but planning and framing it so that the experience is positive. A key is limiting the activity before it becomes dreadful. With this plan, I'm encouraged to do more activities, and slowly I feel like my world is growing, little chunks at a time.

Today we went to the State Fair for the first time in years. My husband made a carefully planned route of the most important foods we wanted to eat and the attractions we wanted to see. Then, even though we didn’t get to see them all we left in an hour before terrible pain set in.

I’m still smiling, happy I got to go to the Fair.

  • Writer's pictureDAJ

"We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars." Oscar Wilde

Our beloved best friend and yellow lab died recently. She was our faithful friend for 14 years. She was a gentle soul who always wanted to be by your side. To say the family is suffering feels like putting it mildly. We are all in pain.

The show must go on though, and so I chose to put one foot in front of the other and try to focus on the good. I sat in the backyard and watched the birds flying into the trees, drinking from the water, and I thought of the beauty of life. I saw the sun shining and sparkling through the trees and was overwhelmed by nature's beauty. I spent days focusing on the good, enriching that experience, savoring it, holding every good experience I could close to me. Did it help? It did. The pain isn't gone, but it did help mitigate my suffering.

Suffering is not selective. Everyone experiences it at some point in their life. However, we do have the ability to mitigate the suffering. Focusing on whatever good you can may just be enough to enable you to take the next step, or it may pull you out of the gutter completely. Either way, it seems to me the right way to turn.

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