Staying Positive

I started this a little while ago. Any time I step through a “gateway,” I think happy thoughts. A gateway in this case is anything with a shape that I can step through. Examples include:

  • Two entwined tree branches and the ground
  • A utility pole with a wire that dives into the sidewalk
  • Archways present in public sculptures
  • A-Frame ladders and the floor below
  • A circular hole in a wall

It came, like many of my daily rituals, from a place of fear. I told myself that these gateways represented new phases in my life. If I didn’t think happy thoughts when traveling through them, I’d doom the next phase of my life to a bad experience parade.

Recently, it struck me that every time I came across a gateway I had to change my thoughts. No matter what I had been thinking, it was NEVER happy. It suggested that I spent most of my life angry, sad, or afraid.

I examined my life, and realized this was no accident. I was going out of my way to find things that made me upset. I was worrying about things I couldn’t control. I was making myself feel better by finding flaws in people and their thoughts, in their art.

It struck me, then, that for me joy is not a default state. My resting face is a mild scowl. You can talk about how a frown takes more muscles than a smile, but not-smiling uses even less muscles.

I decided to change that. I wanted to make an effort to be positive.

I was going to make this post a list of changes I’m making to support this, but realized it was a back-door effort to complain about things. If it works out, all the negative stuff will be forgotten. Positivity will be the default state.

I’d like that.

If all goes well, one day I’ll walk through gateways with no thought at all. A happy resting state.

About paulgude

Paul Gude writes small books, makes stupid music, draws silly pictures, and does weird things on stage.
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