Sunday, 28 December 2014

Blessings of Small Things

Why are we so hungry for bad news? Why do we spend so much time contemplating one moment of horror and so little time thinking about what is right with the world?

Fear is entangled in our DNA. The tribe with high levels of anxiety, perpetually scanning the horizon for signs of trouble, was more likely to survive. Many thousands of generations later, we stare at a car crash with a mixture of pity and empathy, together with an urge to avoid the same fate.

When Alfred Hitchcock was asked, ''How long can you show a couple kissing on a bed?'', his answer was: ''As long as you like, providing there's a bomb ticking under it.'' In other words, fear is an easy emotion to arouse and then maintain.

Fear may be useful, but it can also produce self-fulfilling prophesies. Fear of crime, however unjustified, makes people avoid walking the streets at night, creating neighbourhood streets that really are less safe. Fear of an economic downturn means we stop spending, which then causes the very economic downturn we feared.

When people say ''count your blessings'', or invite you to hum along to ''accentuate the positive'', it can sound inane - a turning away from the world and its problems. Yet sometimes those problems grow larger because of thinking that is too negative, too fear-filled, too pessimistic.

Here's my point: there's nothing soft-minded about ''counting your blessings''.
Contemplating the good in the world is part of giving yourself an accurate grip on reality. This, in turn, is the only way to make good decisions and live a contented, successful life.

We shouldn't be shy about demanding a mix of news that is both good and bad. We also shouldn't fall for the idea that grim news is somehow more rigorous, or truthful, or serious, than news that captures the world in all its richness. (The same, incidentally, is true in the world of literature and film where ''the grimmer the better'' has become one of the more fatuous calling cards of our age).

So, let's say it out loud. We live a third longer than 50 years ago. Famine is much less common. In the fight against malaria, the humans are winning.

It's far, far better to be gay than was once the case. Sydney's air pollution is much lower than it was a generation ago. We decided to stop building our homes from asbestos sheeting.

And let's also give thanks to the Blessings of Small Things:
Most stains come out in the wash.
Snow falls on mountains, which are perfectly shaped for skiing.
The best-tasting drink in the world - water - is also the cheapest.
Deciduous trees grow leaves, and make shade, at just the right time of year.
Socks are designed to fit either the left foot or the right.
A beer tastes best after hard work.

And the more in love with someone you are, the better looking they become.

Actually, you know, it's a wonderful world.

“This is the only advice I offer you. Pick the small thing, and carry it on. Let it change your life.”
~~ Anna White

My friend Marja gave me this petite flower box for Christmas, isn't it lovely with the Christmas Bush.


Christine said...

Lovely gift and great advice to take us into the New Year!

I watched Moneyball with Brad Pitt last night and it's a great movie, a good thing! I don't watch a lot of movies and it was a pleasant surprise.

miruspeg said...

Hi Christine
Thanks for the heads up about the movie Moneyball. I haven't seen it yet, I'll have to get it out on DVD.
Take care
Peggy xxxxxx

bill lisleman said...

wow I have not heard "Good News Week" since it was on the radio.
I never heard the Hitchcock quote - good one. A positive attitude is powerful and is more useful to keep you going on a long tough road.

miruspeg said...

Hi Bill
I hadn't heard that song for a long time either but when I found it while searching for a song thought it was very apt for this post.
Thanks for stopping by again, it's always good to hear from you.
Peggy xx

Mike Smith said...

Wise words as always. Being a Scot, I would say a beer always tastes best if someone else has paid for it...!

miruspeg said...

Hi Mike
Thanks for starting my year off with your wicked sense of humour.....may it continue.
Cheers mate!
Peggy xxxxx

BeautifulSky said...

Yes it is! Here's to the small moments. They add up!

miruspeg said...

Hey Beautiful Sky!
Looking forward to sharing many more small moments with you my friend.
Peggy xxx

Marja said...

I couldn't have said that better. I completely agree. I think it is often depressing to only contemplate the bad and yes I do think fear is a big part of it. If it catches you you reflect that on the world and the opposite is that if you are positive you affect other people as well.
Bless you and wish you many happy thoughts my friend.

miruspeg said...

Hey Marja
Thanks for adding to the conversation my friend.
I definitely count my blessing every day.....I feel so unbelievably blessed and hope my positive thoughts will last a lifetime.
Waves of light beaming your way.
Peggy xxxx

Lilly said...

"And the more in love with someone you are, the better looking they become." I never knew that Peggy. Interesting.

I have tried hard to focus on the positive and count my blessings over the past year. And as you already know the best way to do that is be kind to yourself by being kind of helpful to others.
I do not listen to the news much these days. At present, political news is depressing, particularly when so much else is happening across the World. I have also been to a few Buddhism classes of late and loving them. It is a journey and you have to make every effort to think of the good and positive. And as we know there is much of it everywhere you look. all I know is life can be a whole lot worse and that is very much in my past. I now only focus on the here and now and what I can control. Thank you for helping on that journey. Much love to you Peggy.

miruspeg said...

Hi Lilly
If you think about the people you love their inner beauty shines like a beacon as does their outer beauty, the longer you know them.

You and I have shared so many intimate stories over the years. We have shared truths, without fear of rejection and we have both felt heard. I know we both count our blessings every day, because the great thing about hitting rock bottom and surviving, means there is nowhere to go but up!

Our Blogs have served as great personal development tools haven't they.

Here's looking at you kid!
Keep shining my friend.
Lots of love
Peggy xxxxx