A lot of what we believe to be a misfortune actually is a result not of our own doing but of our own thinking. Take a rainy day for example. Years of experience of inconvenience, discomfort and even sickness resulting from being exposed to the rain has ingrained in our minds that it is something to dread or dislike.
But look at a preschooler. She would feel so excited about it because she can finally have a chance to put on her rain boots and play with the rain, enjoying the wonderful splashes she creates by stepping hard into the puddles! Rain is just another occasion for play! When you look at how inventive a child’s reactions to life’s predicaments can be, maybe you’ll think differently about your own problems in life.
“Kayden + Rain,” video by from Nicole Byon
In this video, the toddler experiences rain for the first time in her life. To her, rain is not a “problem” but something marvelous—nothing short of a miracle!
Yes, much of what makes us unhappy or pessimistic, is indeed caused by how we approach a problem—based on our unpleasant or painful memories from the past. This subconscious “mental programming” is built into our survival instinct so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes over and over, such as touching something burning hot. However, the working of this subconscious mechanism—a kind of mental deductionism, when used in a conscious way to predict or judge a situation, may or may not serve us every single time. In a positive way, we call what we have distilled from past experiences “wisdom.” In a negative way, the feeling of “once bitten, twice shy” sometimes overshadows the opportunities that actually exist out there.
Our process of growing up and social conditioning very often takes the sap out of our natural-born optimism. And when we let the habit of concluding that something “is always like that” obscure our creative problem-solving instinct, we start to attract more and more bad luck, because that is exactly what we expect to see and nothing else. Many of you have heard of the Law of Attraction. Well, this is one way to explain how it works.
It’s sad that both our collective and individual conditioning has taken away our natural gifts—the gift to see miracles in the mundane, to find a solution to each and every situation. It is sad indeed, that we have simply stopped to believe… in ourselves. To put a spark back into our lives, to find courage again when we face seemingly insurmountable problems, we need to unlearn all of the conditioning that we are somehow stuck with our obstacles.
Take a look at what Nature does. A tree, being bound by a hard wall or concrete around its roots, would continue to grow anyhow, extending its roots farther and deeper and sometimes resulting in a truly ingenious work of art! Amassing resources no matter how impossible the situation is—that is something that all of us have the ability to do. But we also need to have faith that it can be done—just as trees do—and give it time to work. This is what “trusting the process” really means. “Miracles” do not always happen as soon as you swipe the magic wand! Of course, if helps if you have access to such a wand ;-)
Recently I have watched quite a few Shirley Temple clips. Hers is an amazing spirit that has given hope to so many souls during one of the most difficult periods of human history (the Great Depression and WW2), and continues to do so even today. In one of her many television interviews, she talked about the reason why she had stopped making movies—that she had had enough of the “make-believe” world. But I don’t think we, as the audience, can ever be tired of such a world. The world of art and beauty serves to inspire us to the idealism of life. True, such a world may not exist in the lives of most of us, but it inspires us of what is possible, and it puts us in a good mood, which in turn attracts joyfulness and—miracles.
Let me end this post with a delightful song by Shirley Temple, “Be Optimistic.” Enjoy!