Where does it come from and how do you keep it?
The universe has a funny way of dropping a big ole’ mind battle right into your morning coffee sometimes. You’re reading the newspaper with your slippers on and the next thing you know your mind is taken over with negative thoughts of situations that you have no way of controlling. Maybe it’s a verbal bomb someone left for you. Or you saw something on Facebook that struck a nerve. Maybe you’re recalling that time you were standing on the soccer sideline and heard an opposing parent say something to your child on the field. These things have all happened to me. I consider myself a pretty positive person…hence the Soul-Positive website. But after all I am also human.
The easiest form of rationalizing for me seems to be oozing a stream of negative thoughts on a reel inside my head. I completely internalize everything. My worries have worries. I lay it out in my brain, cut it open and dissect it some more until I am completely overwhelmed. I think this is human nature and it can be a pattern a lot of us get caught up in. I allow myself that short period of time to purge all my negativity – even if it’s only in my own brain. I think that’s healthy mentally for me. A huge problem arises when you allow yourself to move in to that negative space and unpack. That is something that I will not allow myself to do.
After purging the negative – brick by brick I begin building up the positive. Positivity gets threaded on that reel and I start to think of all the ways that I can accept the things that I cannot change. There are situations in our lives that are just beyond our control. I can control exactly one person – ME. What someone says or does, how they treat me, how they conduct themselves – that’s not my concern. How I react to these situations is my concern. Keeping a Positive Mental Attitude and remaining mentally fit during these times takes a conscious effort. PMA is not just three beautifully strung words – it’s something you have to work towards constantly, you have to own it and believe in it. And most importantly – you have to WANT it.
Can it ever be mastered? My short answer is no. I don’t think you ever master having a Positive Mental Attitude 24/7. Even the most positive of people have their share of dark clouds. But I do believe that you can manage a Positive Mental Attitude. Recognizing your thoughts are just that – your thoughts, they’re not facts, they’re not set in concrete. You can control your feelings.
Being conscious of your thought patterns and embracing the positivity will foster a healthy PMA environment. Isn’t that really what we all want? We want to manage our lives – the good, the bad, the ugly and the uglier. We want to be able to function when the universe drops a worry on our doorstep. Keeping your mind open, uncluttered of negativity will ease your way into managing a Positive Mental Attitude. Negativity has a purpose but it’s purpose is brief. Positivity is the big guy…he needs all the room he can get to help you lead a successful, happy and POSITIVE life.
I’m a big fan of trying new things. A few months ago I registered for a Belt Making Workshop from Christy Tomlinson. I’m sure you’ve seen the bracelets – made from leather belts and hand stamped with meaningful words. Christy is one of my all time favorite artists. She constantly tries new things and shares all her knowledge and talent with beginners like me. I admire Christy a lot because she has no fear when it comes to art or creating. That takes guts. To put yourself out there day after day for the whole world to see is scary. I want to be fearless when it comes to creating. Sharing more of the projects that I’m working on is gently nudging me towards being a fearless creator.
After registering for the belt making workshop it sat in my inbox for about a month. The workshop consists of several how to videos and a complete video of tools and supplies that are needed. The bracelets are really beautiful. I have seen them over the years and was so excited to be able to learn how to make them. Like most of my projects I thought it would be a “snap”. Snap is in parenthesis for a reason folks. I often dive head first into a project only to find that it’s a little more difficult to complete or the process is much more challenging than I could have imagined. Trying something new takes time and patience. Lots of patience.
After watching the videos and gathering all the tools (there are many…and they are somewhat pricey) I sat down ready to turn out bracelet after bracelet. The version of this project in my head was not exactly what turned out in reality. Let’s just say my optimism came to an abrupt halt when I couldn’t get the snap to fasten. Oh. My. Goodness. Who knew that snaps could be so stubborn. I’d get the snap set and hammer away like a mad woman to get it to fasten. I’d try the bracelet on and go to take it off…the snap would stick. The male part of the snap would stay in the female part of the snap and stick together essentially not allowing the bracelet to stay closed. Insert hair pulling emoji here. Oh the frustration. At first I thought it was me, then I blamed the cheap snaps from Walmart.
Snaps that just won’t let go…
Eventually I found snaps that were specific for leather use. I hammer the stink out of those snaps and so far that seems to be working. Hurdle 1 – complete.
Next step was the metal stamping of words. Who knew that stamping in a straight line was so challenging? See picture below. Sometimes my hammering was too soft…barely scratching the surface. Other times I hammered too hard and too crooked and had to start again…all while using tape as my guide.
A few of my mistakes…
Eventually after a few mishaps I got the feel of the stamps and how much pressure you need to apply with the hammer. I was able to gauge where the stamps should be placed and Voila…straight words. I had contemplated for a while naming my bracelets “Slightly Imperfect” – giving myself a little loop hole for my impatience.
After several rounds of practice and a whole bunch of new “slightly imperfect” bracelets for myself I got the hang of it. And I LOVE making these bracelets now. I have started taking orders and making them as gifts. It’s been a really fun project that I am especially fond of. Hurdle 2 – complete.
I think that I am most proud of the fact that I didn’t give up. Learning new things isn’t always easy or fun for that matter. Whether you’re making jewelry or learning a new skill at work – it’s a process. Make room for the hurdles that you will cross. Deep breathe your way through the frustration. But KEEP GOING. The end result just might surprise you.
Yesterday gave me the opportunity to reflect on my relationship with my mom. The majority of my life I viewed her as simply “my mom.” Not until I was married with a baby of my own did I finally get a glimpse into all the parts of my mom that I never really saw before.
I have realized over the years that my mom is very much human. She feels deeply. She’s sensitive. A trait that I have inherited 100%. She’s stronger than I ever believed, facing life’s hard truths and often putting on a very brave face. She’s faced an illness that has no cure with her chin up when I’m sure there are times she wants to give up instead. She loves my dad…a lot. She is as crafty as they come. She’ll kick your ass in a game of scrabble. She’ll give you her opinion whether you ask or not. If she doesn’t like you it’s obvious. If you cross her she has no problem kicking you out of her circle without a goodbye. She tries new things…climbing into a kayak for the first time at 64. Getting her first tattoo a few years ago. Sometimes she struggles with the past.
We fought a lot when I was a bratty teenager. We laugh about it now. I never realized that the sound of my hairspray and the sticky residue it left behind on the bathroom door drove her nearly insane by the time I moved out. Or how the spoons with remnants of peanut butter on them left in my room could have possibly invited a tribe of ants into our house. Wasn’t she just being dramatic? My head would surely turn 360 degrees on my neck if I found an old moldy hard roll under one of my kid’s beds which is exactly what my mom found in mine once.
Through all these ups and downs of our mother/daughter relationship I do know these things for sure: I know that she never stopped being my biggest cheerleader. I have saved texts that she sent me telling me how talented I am and how I deserve better then I got from people who didn’t appreciate my kindness. She saved my home made gifts. She still has the bean necklace I made her in kindergarten. And the note I wrote the tooth fairy in first grade when my tooth fell out of my lunch box on the way home from school. She loves my husband and my children with all of her heart. She drops everything when I need her – no matter the time or place.
I’m still bratty sometimes. Aren’t we all? I still get short with my mom on occasion. I don’t think that makes me a bad daughter. I think it makes me human. I try not to take for granted the fact that I have my mom by my side and unfortunately know that it won’t be forever. I’m thankful for growing up the way that I have with my mom only a phone call away. Not everyone is as fortunate. I hope as my kids grow they realize that I too am human. And for the many faults that I do have – there are just as many good parts. I save the home made gifts. I fight because I love them. I drop everything when they need me. I love their dad…a lot. And truth be told – I’m pretty good at scrabble.
I’m still growing as a mom…and especially as a human. I don’t always do the right things. I don’t always earn the blue ribbon. Recognizing the good parts and the not so good parts in others but more importantly in ourselves is a positive step in growth. With growth comes understanding. I think that’s something we all need a little more of.