Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Smile and Happiness Will Follow

An exercise in positive thinking from The Conscious Shopper

I've decided that there's far too much negativity floating around the greenosphere right now. Believe me, my finger is pointed directly at moi, but I'm feeling it from other sides as well.

Sure we could blame it on February, that seemingly never-ending, dark and gloomy month. Or we could could blame it on Congress - could any group of people move any more slowly? Or we could crawl back under the covers and hibernate until spring (oh yes, if I could find a way to feed my family without getting out of bed, I would certainly spend the entire winter under the covers).

Or we could focus on the positive.

When I was in high school, my church leaders were always saying things like, "If you want to be happy, just smile, and then you'll start to feel happy." My response was always, "That is ridiculous." (Of course, I never said that outloud, being a very quiet and polite teenager.)

Then soon after my first son was born, I caught a virus called Bell's Palsy that basically paralyzed one side of my face, making it impossible to smile. I discovered that what my youth leaders had been saying was true - or at least the opposite was true. Not being able to smile made it hard to feel happy, and frowning all the time certainly made me feel depressed.

After a month or so, I was able to smile again, but I've never forgotten that lesson. Smile, and happiness will follow. Count your blessings, and you'll discover even more blessings. When you feel discouraged, focus on the positive.

With those thoughts in mind, I want to do a little exercise. I'd like you to take a minute to note all the changes you've made since you started on your green journey. Don't just think about it...write them down - either here in the comments, on your own blog, or on a piece of paper.

Then when you get discouraged because you've gone back to using your dryer, your public transportation is a pain in the rear, or you had an impulse buy at Target, push aside the guilt and whip out your "List of Changes."

Yes, the winter is dreary, the root vegetables endless. Yes, the long, gravelly path to sustainability is the road less traveled. But, look how much we have done!

This post is the Green Phone Booth's submission for February's
APLS carnival on "winter motivation." Discover more ways to stay motivated to live sustainably during the winter at Going Green Mama on February 18.


Simply Authentic said...

I think this is so great! While I feel that the hubs and I aren't doing everything we could/should be doing, I've also realized lately that we are doing so much more than most and are educating others around us by our choices at the same time. Thank you for an encouraging post!

Kathryn Grace said...

I've been moving this direction my entire adult life, but it wasn't until the early Nineties, when I read Diet for a Small Planet, that I realized I hadn't done nearly enough. Frances Moore Lappe showed me how important it was to figure out a way to go from a three-car family to no car, and a whole lot more.

We lived in a rural state. To live without a car as we aged, my SO and I had to move to a city with good public trans. We're here. Our daughter grew up and took one vehicle with her. We gave away one, sold the other for nearly nothing. We ride buses and trains, occasionally rent a car, and buy local every chance we get. We eat very little meat. Luckily, there is an organic grocer that carries a lot of local food just three blocks away.

Despite these changes, it's easy to get discouraged when I check my carbon footprint, or worse, think how many people don't even know what a carbon footprint is, but we're on the path. What's more, so are you, and so many others. We have a chance to survive as a species if we reach critical mass in time. You and so many others give me hope.

There's a lot to smile about.

Steph @ Greening Families said...

It is so easy to concentrate only on the road ahead and forget how far we've come, isn't it? For years I have kept a list of financial goals, with the ones achieved crossed off, and have experienced a burst of energy every time I look at it.

My family has recently stated doing the same thing in other areas of our lives and it has had the same impact on my husband and kids. Taking the time to look back is definitely energizing!


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