You'd think I'd welcome the beginning of this new year with open arms. The last one ended with a series of unfortunate events, but hadn't been altogether too terrible for me. After all, I'd met a wonderful gentleman who shares my loves of literary pursuits, who dedicates his days to achieving social justice and who colludes with me in occasional outbreaks of silliness.
Nonetheless, since the long New Year's weekend, I've lapsed into my old childhood habit of awakening each morning, paralyzed by dread. I've relentlessly been playing that old "what if" trick on myself again.
Fortunately, a couple of days ago I received an email that's made me reassess what I gain about peering into the dark abyss of "what might be."
Good day. I am presently reading Chicken soup for the soul and just now read your excerpt titled Eighty-five Percent.
It was as though I was reading about myself! Thank you for sharing. I have been working for many years to change my life's habits. One step forward and one step back appears to be my motto. Insecurity rears it's ugly head at the darnedest times.
Once again thank you. I needed to contact you.
I hadn't thought of that story for quite a while. I opened my copy of the book it appears in, and reread it. "Oh," I reminded myself. "That's what I need to begin doing again." So now I'm starting each morning with thinking a positive thought...or three
Here's today's: Though my date, because of a bad cold, had to bow out of attending a concert with me tonight, my son and his lady friend will share the evening with me instead. And it's Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto 1 at the Segerstrom Center. How positive can you get?
Grateful, I emailed Maryann:
Thanks so much for writing and letting me know how "Eighty-five Percent" from the book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Positive, affected you. Yes, anxiety does paralyze us sometimes...and I learned so much from my late husband's advice. I try to remind myself every time I feel knots in my stomach that I may be worrying about something that is not going to happen. Ever.
Chicken Soup for the Soul's provided readers for over 20 years now with inspirational examples of how to address life's perplexing issues. I've been privileged to have 27 of my stories included in the series over the past decade. I realize how fortunate I am to have this platform to share what I've learned in my nearly 80 years of living. I value hearing from readers, and want you to know how grateful I am that you took the time to write to me.
Here's the story that inspired Maryann. May it aid you, too, if you feel paralyzed by doom and gloom.
Let us be of good cheer, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which will never happen.
~James Russell Lowell
|In 2008 with Ken Wilson, who'd remind me: "Eighty-five!"|