Tag Archives: Maya Angelou

The Secret is a Half-Glass of Positivity…or at Least a Half-Glass of Wine

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Hmm…..so, all of those people out there who have read the book “The Secret”….is the ‘secret‘ that you need to visualize exactly what you want and you will get it, or just visualize a happy outcome and things will naturally fall into place because of your positive attitude? What I mean by this is that if you see the world through rose-coloured glasses then maybe even the worst of scenarios won’t seem half-bad….

About 5 years ago when this book was flying off the shelves, I opted for another read.  “The Happy Neurotic” was my self-help guru.  It was a great read that encouraged you to relish in your oddities, try to love yourself through self-doubt, and realize that your personal fears are often what propel you to succeed.  I didn’t really buy all that ‘visualize’ and it will just happen mumbo jumbo…I have always strongly believed that action creates results.  Maybe aside from the chapter encouraging me to take up stand-up comedy as an outlet to self-deprecate (who needs stand-up when I have a blog?), the Happy Neurotic was a good read at the time.  It was a true message, not filled with hidden meanings, magic beans, or the belief that just ask and you will receive.

But, now that I’m a bit older, and I like to think a bit (wiser?)…I do think that positive thoughts = positive outcomes.  Not because you visualized something and it magically happened, but because you can see the good in so much more of what you never saw it in before.  I have the option of looking at my life and saying “Single, 31, renting, contract position, debt, used belongings” and create a reason to jump off that ledge.  However, instead I’m kind of looking at this all as a bit of an open book.  I have 2 degrees, a job I’m enjoying even if it’s not forever, am lucky enough to live in my own place, enjoy my own space, and take advantage of all the wonderful friends and family who in the past I didn’t know were always there for me…

They were. I just wasn’t always there for me.  Instead of trying to be the best or change the world, maybe just do your best and let the world change you.

Don’t get me wrong.  This is not to say that I’m not incredibly proud of myself for all the things I have gone after and with hard work, dedication, and effort I have achieved.  But, the harder part has been that these things didn’t necessarily make me happier in the end because I had set unrealistic expectations on what they would feel like or how they would change my life.  So, even though I was a success, I often didn’t feel it.  Hell, I battle that still.  I have proven that one can achieve what they set their mind to, but I think the key is to set your sights a little lower sometimes.  Good message to give the kids, right?

Mmmmhmmm. I think my parenting style may suffer some judgement in the future….

In all seriousness, lower may not be the right word, but just make sure you are realistic about what you are reaching for.

I now realize that the whole cliché of “glass half-empty or glass half-full” isn’t just a cliché.  It can’t be forced and it can’t be faked.  It isn’t an instantaneous change and it isn’t a perfect formula.  Let’s be honest, it’s not as simple as just changing your mind one day…there is no ‘on & off’ positivity switch. I think the real ‘secret‘ is honestly, truly, trying to see the glass as half full.  It’s life…and people…and time that can change how you look at things.  I can’t say I won’t have bad days, lonely nights, or things that don’t work out…but I can say that at least today, it’s a little bit intriguing to not know what is going to happen next.  Maybe the key isn’t to envision at all…

I do think that too many expectations or trying too hard to attain something may not always bring about the results you imagined.  There is a fantastic scene in the movie, “500 days of Summer” that shows a split-screen of Tom’s expectations vs his reality.  I, for one think that over-visualizing what you want from life will create a false hope that attaining one last thing will change you.  I’m not saying don’t make goals, I’m just saying, don’t judge who you are as a person by them.   I am over the moon to see what happens when you don’t try so damn hard.

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.                     – Maya Angelou 

The Ginga Ninja

There Goes the Neighbourhood…

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So, no matter what country, city, or abode you live in…there are little things that start to make your neighbourhood...your neighbourhood.  Good and bad, crazy or carefree…after a certain amount of time your neighbourhood does become just that.  And this truly does go for ANYWHERE on earth – from Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills to Khao San Road in Bangkok…some things just start to stick.

I have been in my new pad for around 4 months and I can say that there are already things that I think of with smirk-inducing fondness. We have the worst McDonalds on earth, Mr. Sub around the corner, the toothless Aisan man running the local convenience store, a streetcar within throwing distance for those drunken stumbly nights home…there is always something you begin to connect with and even things you might wish weren’t there, but are all actually part of your new reality.

I for one love all my neighbourhood cats.  There is Scotty Ted, the wide-eyed orange kitten next door who pees in flower pots, perches on my windowsill and scares the bajeezes out of me nightly.  Another favourite is Tom Selleck, a local Oreo-coloured cat who has a white mustache so bushy, I could only think to nickname him after the mustache-master himself, Tom Selleck.  Then there is Tim Selleck, a smaller, shyer, dirtier black and white cat I originally mistook for Tom, so I feel like those of you with a fourth grade education may figure that one out…. Lastly, there is the crazy cat house on the corner that has had no less than 2 and anywhere up to 6 cats (and sometimes a dog) sleeping on the front porch at all times. No, seriously. I find myself inclined to knock on the door one day and ask them just how close to legitimate animal hoarders they really are.

This is not to say all things here are perfect.  For instance, had I known there was an abandoned apartment complex or a halfway house at the end of my street, as a single girl I maaayyy have reconsidered this move, but thus far there seems to be no threat or immediate danger.  I joke that one intersection to my right is one of the newest and richest neighbourhoods in the city, and one interesection to my left is the “all welfare all the time” lucky jackpot corner.  I like to think that I’m right in between the rich and the crazy, sadly enough, probably exactly where I belong!

I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself. – Maya Angelou

The Ginga Ninja

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