Day 38 of 365 Days of Silver ~~ No News is Good News!!

“I love Huey Lewis, but not the News, because the News is too depressing.”
~~ Jarod Kintz,
author of “This Book is Not FOR SALE”

Every now and then someone says to me, “How is it that you are always in a good mood?” And a year or so back I met a friend face to face from online that I had known for years—he met a mutual friend the night before and asked him, “Is he really that positive in real life?” I was very happy to hear that this mutual friend answered with a “Yes.”

Am I always in a good mood? No. Hell no. Ask my husband! Ask my boss! But I work to put myself there….

When asked how I do it, my number one response is that I do not watch the news. I can’t believe how many people tell me their morning routine is to turn on the news. They’ll have a TV not only in the living room but in the kitchen! Even the bathroom! They start their very day with whatever horror, disaster, shooting spree, stock falling, team losing stories happened that day or the night before. This is the very start of their day, while they are still fuzzy brained and making their coffee. That is what is going into their brians. That is what is setting the mood.

I do not watch the news. I don’t read the newspaper except for the comics or the leisure section on what fun events are going on in Kansas City or the crossword puzzle (which then starts my day with setting my writer’s brain with trying to figure out words).

Here were the headlines this morning via my computer:

North Korea Test-Fires New Kind of Cruise Missile

Family of Islamic State Hostage: We Hope She’s Alive

Cops on Bobbi Kristina: There May Have Been Foul Play
(apparently she is the daughter of Whitney Houston and Bobbie Brown—something bad happened to her—big surprise)

Professor was Victim in Campus Murder-Suicide
(a professor who taught anatomy and physiology was among two people shot and killed at the University of South Carolina, a coroner said Friday)

Disease 1 in 3 People Don’t Know they Have in NYC
(about 30 percent or more of New Yorkers have an ancient disease)

The only reason I even know this? We’ll, I will get to that…. My first point is this. If reading these headlines were a part of my regular routine, I would be starting my day off with the worry that North Korea might bomb us. I would be wondering if that poor hostage is even alive or if she was tortured or beheaded or something. I would be so sad what the legacy of Whitney and Bobbie Brown’s life has done to their daughter. I would be thinking about that Professor and what happened to him/her.

And thank God I don’t live in New York! I might have the ancient disease—Helicobactor pylori—and not even know it! OMG! What if it comes to Kansas City? What if I get it? What the f*ck is it!?

This is how I want to start my day? I want to head into a 12-shift at work with thoughts like these on my mind? No!

I do not watch or listen to or read the news.

People say, “But don’t you want to stay informed?”

About the imminent possibility that Kim Jong-un might bomb us? Do I need to know that? Unless maybe if the missile is actually on its way to Kansas City…. And even then? Do I want my last minutes to be living in terror? Or in ignorant bliss, watching Netflix, cuddling with my husband or dog (or both) or reading a good MM book. Or writing one?

Do I need to know about that disease in New York? I don’t even live there. And the article doesn’t even explain what it really is or if it’s deadly or anything!

Do I need to chew over the fate of a hostage that I never even heard of a half hour ago? Can I help her? Can I lead a rescue team? Will her fate—probably death—help me through my day? No! Tell me about it if she survives. That will be a positive note on my day.

Trust me! If there is something going on that I need to worry about, I will hear. That is all they’ll be talking about in the breakroom at work. Someone will call me. They won’t be playing Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” or Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” on the radio on my way to work. I will hear about it. Believe me.

Must all news be good news? Yes. Unless there is something I can do about it. Like all this stuff on GMOs? I can do something about that. I can shop and buy GMO free products and send a message to my grocer and big business that I don’t want my food messed with. That I can do something about.

Is the politician that did something horrible up for reelection in Kansas City? Then I want to know so I can go vote against them.

Otherwise, I don’t want to hear about it.

So how did I know about these headlines? Well, it all started when I saw the most amazing article on Facebook. A man saved a black bear from drowning! A bear! He rescued a bear! (sorry, those exclamation marks were necessary.)

A huge black bear wandered into a Florida neighborhood and so wildlife officers were called in and they shot him with a tranquilizer. Only the bear panicked and ran into the ocean. He quickly became drowsy and began to drown. But Adam Warwick, a biologist with the Wildlife Commission, didn’t let that happen. He knew he had to act quickly and dove right in and went for the bear. The animal tried once to climb on top of Adam but the bear was losing its ability to use its legs and the biologist held that bear by its neck and drug it to shore. This bear was seven foot and 400 pounds! Once he got the bear near the shore, others were able to help. The bear is now where he is supposed to be.

Now that is news I want to hear about. I’m sick as heck today and good news boosts the immune system. That story made me happy. It made me smile. It lifted my soul. That a man would risk his life for a bear. A deadly bear.

Because all life is sacred. All life if important. That bear isn’t “just a bear.” That bear is made of star stuff, the very stuff we are made of. And we are all One.

That story is about a hero. That story is about the triumph of the human spirit.

That is what I want to read about!

So why did I read the headlines? So I could write this essay and make a point.

I challenge anyone–don’t read the news. Steer clear. It doesn’t help. It doesn’t inform. And if it is FOX, you’re being lied to and manipulated.

Read instead stories of heroes. That is a way to start your day. Or at least mine.

Namasté,
B.G. Thomas

PS: To read the story, Click Here. You’ll be glad you did.

Bear Rescue by Becky Bickerstaff smaller

Just look at that bear (the animal). Tell me he doesn’t know that he was rescued by that man. And the other bear (the man) is pretty darned cute too!

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The photographs of the bear were by Becky Bickerstaff and were not mine to print. Please know this was only to inform. No copyright infringement want meant. I will take them down if necessary.

The photograph “Newspaper” was by gracey from morgueFile. I altered it a bit.

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Day Fifteen of 365 Days of Silver ~~ I Am Grateful for Choice

boardwalk choice by MGDboston

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
~~ Lena Horne

Today I am so grateful to know that I have a choice. So grateful that I have learned that I always have a choice. In fact, I’m betting that “Choice” will pop up time and time again in my writings this year. It’s important for me to remember that every day, every hour, I am faced with so many choices.

For instance, yesterday….

I got to work only to see a sign taped to the team lead desk.

DAYS oFF
no Question
ASK MANDATORY
6 or 7 DAYS

It didn’t even make any sense. But soon what everyone was saying was that we were back to six and seven days a week, 12 hours a day, overtime.

NO! my mind screamed.

And WHAM, for a moment, I was there! I saw it. I saw the next three weeks stretching out before me, the near endless hours. I felt it. Coming home almost weeping I was so weary. It was in Glorious Technicolor TM! Heck, I was exhausted just imagining it and the days (or even that day) hadn’t even started yet!

Then I remembered something…. Something I had learned over years of reading and classes and study and practice and experience.

What I was imagining wasn’t real. It was…just….imaginings.

Buddhist philosophy teaches this: The are Four Nobel Truths.

1) Life is suffering
2) We are the reason for our suffering
3) There is a way to end the suffering

And the Fourth Noble Truth tells us how.

Now to explain it in the way I understand it through a lot of study and classes and retreats.

In life there is going to be suffering. That is just the way it is. Everything from a stubbed toe to someone cheating on us is a part of that suffering. But the reality of that suffering is our reaction to it. We desire the impossible–that there will be NO suffering. We go to great lengths to avoid it including pretending we are not suffering when we are. Pretending that it doesn’t bother us that our lover cheated on us. That the pain of that stubbed toe isn’t all that bad. Or worse (and what we most often do) we PLUNGE into that suffering in full force and drama. We wallow in it. We talk about it all the time to anyone who will listen. We might even brag about how much were are going through, how much worse our pain is than everybody else’s.

Or we suffer because of what we don’t have. We weep and cry because we are single and decide that maybe it is just our fate to be alone. Or we stay with someone who treats us badly because we are so afraid to be alone. Better to be with someone who beats us or mistreats us or cheats on us than to be alone–which causes great suffering. Believe me, I know! I lived that one.

The reality of all this is that we can always choose to react to the bad with a clear and open mind and spirit. Of course stubbing our toe is going to hurt! There is suffering in life. So what do we do? We acknowledge that it hurts and we jump around for a minute and then we sit down and massage it and probably a half hour from now we won’t even remember it. And while it hurts, we remind ourselves that we’ve stubbed our toe dozens or hundreds of times in our life and it won’t hurt for long. Nothing is permanent.

We acknowledge that, yes, of course it hurts to be mistreated by someone we love or to find out they have cheated on us. Of course it does. We wouldn’t be human if it didn’t hurt. Denying it is ridiculous. But do we wallow in that pain forever or do we acknowledge it, feel in, and then go on? Make a choice to take care of ourselves. Tell the person in no uncertain words that it will stop. Or we get out of the relationship altogether.

We don’t let that pain rule us. That is not reality. And we certainly don’t do something like kill the person because that only causes more suffering, including what will happen when we are caught.

So yesterday….

I closed my eyes, right there on the production floor.

I took several deep cleansing breaths and let them flow slowly out of me.

I reminded myself that nothing had happened yet and I had no idea what was going on and it made no sense to imagine the worst. To keep breathing. Say a few “Ooommmms” (or whatever works). To wait and see, but live in the moment, AT THAT MOMENT, and not a moment that hadn’t even come yet.

And that incomprehensible and nearly illegible scrawl? That sign was written by the night shift team leader. They have fewer on their crew. Maybe the six and seven days was only for them.

In the meantime, breath, work, don’t borrow any trouble, stop imagining the worst, stop creating something from my writer’s imagination that did not yet exist.

And guess what I found out a few hours later?

The note had nothing to do with my personal shift. I have some overtime but no longer the six and seven days.

So to think….I could have spent those hours in turmoil and anger and upset…over something that wasn’t even real!

And what if it had been real? I would still have been making it worse. I would have had the overtime, and my black and rotting reaction to it.

Thank goodness I didn’t do that.

Thank goodness I remembered that I HAVE A CHOICE! I have had and always will have a choice on how I am going to react to whatever is happening to me. Yes, there could be pain. But do I let that pain rule me? Or do I acknowledge it and then move on and through it? Because one thing I love about my age, I have proof positive, simple by looking back through the years, that nothing is permanent. No matter how bad it has been at certain time in my life, it gets and has gotten better.

I am so grateful that I have a choice!

Namasté,
B.G. Thomas

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Photographs; Roadsign by pippalou, Boardwalk Choice by MGDboston at morgueFile