Hi, my name is Sybil and I am a recovering cynic. It has been about 2 hours since my last cynical thought.
Here at CA we don’t count our success in days but in hours, sometimes in minutes. I’ve been practicing cynical and negative thinking for most of my life. It is only in the last couple of years that I have made a concerted effort to change this pattern.
This came up for me again just recently when I watched this TED talk. It’s wonderful and I loved learning about these marvelous ancient beings but almost immediately I thought: now that people have heard about these beings they’re going to go see them or worse try to take them to sell to some collector and they will be lost.
Really. That’s what I thought. I have had this thought before when I’ve been introduced to some natural marvel. There are those who would say that I am right to think these thoughts, that humans often disappoint. Read any newspaper or news magazine and you will find this opinion confirmed.
I have three issues with this. First, the news reports only a tiny fraction of what goes on in the world and they will tend to report that which makes for good copy. Second, I know for a fact that I feel better when I think positive, kind, and compassionate thoughts – both about others and about myself. Third, if there is even a tiny possibility that we do really create our own reality with our thoughts then there is also the possibility that constantly thinking nasty thoughts will result in our living in a nasty world and who wants that?
So how do I deal with this. First and foremost with mindfulness. I notice when I have this automatic reaction and I stop. Then I do a little variation of Byron Katie’s Work. I ask myself, is it true? Do I know it’s true? What is the opposite thought? How am I affected by thinking this thought? and How would I feel and be if I didn’t think it?
I am also helped by all the wonderful people who spread the word of amazing things that are going on out there. Here is a sample gleaned in the last couple of days.
A celebration of Bees at Brain Pickings
A community in the UK that is creating an edible landscape.
How you can increase confidence with body posture.
How people from opposite sides of a debate can come together and both listen and speak with respect for each other.
I love this stuff. It reminds me that I am not alone in my desire for a world where people act with kindness and compassion and care for all living things. I believe that we accomplish the most when we keep our eyes on the prize rather than on the obstacles. So I practice to retrain my brain so it sees that goal more often than it sees the obstacles. I do believe I am making progress.