Sunday, July 15, 2012

Indugling My Guilty Pleasure

It was love at first sight. I knew I shouldn’t indulge my desires. I’m usually very practical, but I couldn’t help myself. In the past I secretly snickered at people who were drawn to these wanton wishes. What was happening to me? Was it lack of excitement in my life? Literally and figuratively I knew it WOULD add spice to my life, but really, it boiled down to the fact that now that I was in my 50s I no longer cared what other people thought.

So I did it.

I whipped out my Visa card, marched over to the register and with only a hint of embarrassment I purchased two adorable, brightly-colored salt and pepper shakers in the shape of a cow. Now the cute little bovine pair is grazing on the occasional oregano and parsley flakes that litter my kitchen counter top.

This was not an easy round up. I had to halt my own negativity for wanting something I didn’t need, cart the little bovine pair from where I purchased them in Arizona, carefully wrap them in bubble wrap, cushion them in a sweater, pack them in my carry on luggage and schlep my little herd back to Port Angeles, Washington.

Part of my dilemma is I have very simple tastes. For example my favorite color is beige. How boring is that? I don’t even like patterned fabric. With the exception of striped surfer shirts I wore as a child (one blue, one red) almost all my clothing and most of my furnishing consisted of solid colors. Well maybe I did like the occasional hint of color in my wardrobe, but I limited it to my socks and underwear. Yet here I was yearning for a pair of salt and pepper shakers with festive designs on their little cow bodies and heads.

I noticed similar behavior when I attended my high school’s 40th reunion. I hit the dance floor (no longer waiting to be asked) and watched a couple of my friends, Jan and Patsy. The pair had always been fun, but when it came to moving to the beat, they had been like the rest of us, restrained and reserved. Now they were hooping it up, throwing their arms in the air and sporting two of the biggest grins I had ever seen.

“You didn’t dance like that in high school,” I said with admiration.

“We’re old enough we don’t care anymore,” they both replied in unison.
They exemplified William Purkey’s quote, "Dance like no one is watching, love like you'll never be hurt, sing like no one is listening and live like it's heaven on earth.

It made me think of those wasted years I spent concerned about what other people thought and said about me and others. Not only did I refrain from sporting splashy colors, I limited my thoughts and behavior to what I deemed “acceptable” and “appropriate.” What a waste of fun and creativity.

Peer pressure is a strong force. It did not shackle my thoughts, but I let it govern my choice of clothing and behavior. Of course I was resentful. When I was younger I blamed nearly all the negative things in my life on someone else. Later I learned I had better results when I no longer tried to put my focus on fixing others and try my hand at taking control of my own life. If you have thoughts that smell like manure, here are a few tips from the book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within that will lead to happy trails for you.

Negativity is not limited to the behaviors of others, it is rooted in how you perceive yourself. You’ve heard it a million times, but it really is true. You need to learn to love yourself. You may think you do, but look at your words and actions. How do you treat yourself? Do you say negative things about how you look, act and think?

It is essential that you stop all critical self talk. Self negativity puts a grinding halt to success and happiness. Every time you say a disparaging remark about yourself your subconscious soaks it up like a sponge. Your brain cannot distinguish between self ridicule and an offhand “I was just kidding” remark.

Whatever you say or think, the brain just takes it in. It’s a big “yes” machine. If you say, “I’m stupid,” it writes the “Yes, I’m stupid, program.” If you declare, “I will never be happy,” the message becomes fact and you will never be happy. The irony is that it isn’t your enemies who fling the majority of these toxic statements about. You do it to yourself.

Your wishes, good, bad or indifferent, become your brain’s programming. So why not try for something that will bring you joy? That does not mean that everything wonderful you wish for will instantly become reality. But if you surround yourself with positive thoughts and begin a course of action to achieve the things you want in life, you will move your life in a happier direction.

As they used to say on the old television shows, “meanwhile, back at the ranch…”

Here is how things shook out for me and my ceramic cows.

There is no practical reason for those “move along little doggies” to live in my kitchen. My motivation is simply this - I think they are cute and they make me laugh. And that is no small thing.

Why not spice up your own life a little? Take some advice from me and the rest of the optimistic herd. Forget what others think. Dance, love and laugh with abandon. It will be a truly “mooving” experience indeed.

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