For a long time, I thought that the trick to NOT focusing on the bad, to NOT cataloguing what’s wrong with the world – an endless and, frankly, kind of pointless task – was to focus on the good. This technique, in theory, made sense and seemed to be widely recommended so in the absence of anything better, I set myself to doing it.
It’s been frustrating. There is at least one problem, one significant problem. While I’m busy collecting my good things (of which there are many), the wrong things breed like bunnies. All it takes is a slip of peripheral vision, an accidental lift of the gaze from the good and I see that I’m surrounded by mounds of the other stuff – the mean, biting, angry, snippy, contemptuous and cruel. Et cetera, et cetera.
I was under the impression, according to some vaguely defined rules of how this works, that there was some alchemical magic to it all. If I concentrated on good, the bad would pass through a lens of forgiveness and tenderness and patience and come out … well, cleansed.
This was a ridiculous impression and I can’t believe I didn’t scrutinize the procedure a little more closely before I put it into practice. Still, it wasn’t all for naught. I thought about it. A lot. Every time I was frustrated, I did some wondering.
And lately, some pieces of some puzzle are falling into place. I’ve just begun to recognize that I do better when I don’t care either way, when I don’t bother with any categories at all (which sort of eliminates the need to do all that time-consuming cataloguing).
When I give up and just let myself see, enjoy, appreciate, be interested and affected, amused and delighted by ALL of it, I’m happier. I get so many more moments of … flowingness? I think that’s what I’m learning: I’m not most happy when I’m only happy. I’m most happy when life’s going on and I can ride it.