Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Positivity. by Patresa Hartman

You know what I think is fantastic?


I do not mean the oblivious, falsely enthusiastic, step aerobics and pat-the-bunny, cute like buttons positivity. I mean the kind that comes genuinely from decision -- acknowledgement that there is bad and rotten, but that there is also choice to actively search for what is good (because there is always good). (Always).

My body has developed extra sensitivity toward negative vibes in the last year or two. I am increasingly aware of the effects of nay-saying and complaining, flaw-focusing and arm crossing, blind refusals and failure-expecting, on my physical person.

I feel it in my shoulders.
It tugs downward at the corners of my mouth.
It leadens my step.
The atmosphere grows thick and impenetrable with it.

Conversely, I have become increasingly aware of the buoyancy that comes with surrounding myself with people who seek light and celebrate possibility. I want to sit across tables from daring positivity-excavators, share desk drawers, sip wine with these potential-finders. I want to offer them my brain and my brawn, share air and ideas and punch out holes in darkness. I want to join forces and illuminate.

I feel it in myself -- the joy and openness I feel when I high-five success and breathe patiently through imperfection. It isn't easy. All too often, I find myself crabbing when students do not do what I want them to do, when my husband does not choose as I would choose, when the earth does not rotate in sync with my step. I feel my eyes narrow and forehead crease with perceived slights. Everything goes heavy, and I do not like the sound of my own voice. I do not like that in a moment of disconnect, I slip easily into negativity. I let frustration and pride usurp a space that compassion and grace should unconditionally fill.

It is not about being false or naive. It is about understanding the nature of energy. I must remember the effects of the energy I send, because I understand well the effects of the energy I receive.


Anonymous said...

Being positive is strictly a state of mind. It makes the bad days go away and the good ones better. Cooaching has taught me to be positive rather than negative, and when the kids get it, their performances skyrocket. It is a blast to watch.
Oren (FOA)

Kathryn Magendie said...

Ah, truths truths! Negativity breeds more of the bast(#**#) negatives. I detest whining and bellyaching, yet, I do it sometimes and when I catch myself doing it, I go, "eyewwww"....but, Negativity is insidious...oh yes.

Nicely written post, as usual.

(Watch the furrowed brow - do you want forehead butt!?!?!?!)

Angie Ledbetter said...

As my Dad's fond of saying (even when it annoyed the snot out of us when we were kids): It's all mind over matter.

You are such a wonderful addition to this blog. I always come away with something good and interesting to think about, like this quote from today's post: "I let frustration and pride usurp a space that compassion and grace should unconditionally fill."

Thank you. I'm grateful for your presence.

Barbara Quinn said...

Yes! So true. Staying positive is staying in the light for me. Everything comes into sharper focus and even the bad things are easier to handle. We forget that we can adjust our attitudes.And sometimes I do unleash a good ole tsunami of a rant!

Patresa Hartman said...

THANK YOU, good people!

i felt totally light and airy today. :) thank you.

Angel said...

Great post!

I believe in every word of it:)

Devin J. Garman said...

I would love to be a more positive person. The difficulty lies in the fact that negativity becomes a habit, and a conscious effort must be made to brake if one is to brake the habit.

amy said...

I'm also an absorber of other people's vibes, Patresa. I do much, much better around happy, positive thinkers. And these are not cute, pat-the-bunny positive people either. For instance, my friend Carol, who is like #5 on my Healthiest, Most Stable People I Know list, sometimes comes to me to vent about people or situations that have left her aggravated and confused. "I have had hatred in my heart about this, Amy," she'll say to me. "After work today, I think I'll go home, make a cup of tea, and meditate on my back porch until it goes away."

Carol makes me wish I was better at meditation. But I'm great at making tea! And that's a start.


Lisa G. said...

Somehow, P, our paths have mysteriously aligned and each time I read your words I feel only YES, YES, YES!


It should be noted, that Positivity is also a terrific Stevie Wonder song.

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