Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows


“Oh God, of dust and rainbows help us see, that without dust
the rainbows would not be.” 
(Said by somebody famous)
 

If you have this habit of ruminating over your sorrows and problems, you may constantly feel frustrated, anxious, depressed and apathetic. You’re so absorbed in what’s wrong, you’re unable to notice what’s right. 

Sound familiar? Guilty as charged, officer. 

As I saunter through my home on the way to finding my hidden stash of lollipops (code for anything I enjoy) I make mental notes of things amiss.  “When am I going to paint over those spots left two years ago by a nasty leak in the roof?”  “Where can I find a nine-foot man to come change the lights in my living room chandelier which has only four bulbs still burning.”  Yada Yada yada…suddenly I have no idea where I hid the lollipops.

Why don’t I notice the wonderful patina of the floors marked by dancing and living done over the almost 150 years this old farmhouse which has been home to six different generations. Why don’t I listen to the glorious hum of the heating system which magically keeps us cooler on the days when the weather man gets it all wrong. 

Lately I’ve been obsessing over all the things that I “need’ to make me happy  – another negative thought pattern. I’m pretty sure Incessant “wanting” is a barrier to any kind of real happiness.  

In the 21st century we are bombarded with advertising and subtle messages from our cultural conditioning, that we need more ‘stuff’ or a better life situation in order to be happy.  Maybe the better solution is to stop in our tracks and think about what is good in our lives. It is actually almost impossible to be both fully deeply present in the moment and also have negativity arising. Try it out as an experiment and find out for yourself whether this is true.

 We may wake up and find that life is good. However, the contentment is not riveting. So we scan the horizon of our day looking for something to worry about. Once we find an object of worry, it pierces our minds like a dagger. It becomes a source of focus throughout the day.

We need a day to observe what’s good in our lives. The car starts, the sun is out, we wave to a friend across the street, the radio is playing our favorite song (because Paul Simon’s Rhythm of the Saints has been stuck in our CD player for months and it makes me instantly happy).  Life is good most of the time. We are just too preoccupied to notice
 
My friend Estel Wilson died a few weeks ago and I received a copy of a story he told at church one day. He was a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War.  One day he and his Cessna “Bird Dog” (which ran low and slow) was drawing fire and heading into the biggest thunderstorm he ever saw.  His plane wasn’t able to go over or around the storm and he was low on fuel.
 
He practiced the Three Ps in times like this:  profanity, panic and prayer.  The first two didn’t work so he prayed for help. Suddenly a glimmer of sunshine came out of the west.  Looking to the east the sun’s rays hit some of the storm’s rain droplets.  
 
“Pow,” said Estel.  “On the ground you only see half a rainbow,  from the air you see the whole thing – a perfect circle with those beautiful colors of the visible spectrum.  I had this compulsion that I could fly through that perfect circular rainbow and I did.  I stuck my arm out the window and actually felt the droplets which refracted that rainbow.  I experienced the most peaceful feeling I have ever felt in my life right there in the war zone. 
 
I love that story and will remember it when I’m all caught up in my own little manic panic episodes.  That, or I can channel my inner scarlet O’Hara and vow to worry about it tomorrow.  As long as there’s a tomorrow, I’m good to go.

 
Sent from my iPad

5 thoughts on “Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows

  1. Great column, Emily. At one time I tried to keep a daily gratitude journal. I think it lasted about a week but at least it was a try! There were so many good things I didn’t have time to write them all down! Have a great day!

  2. Thanks for sharing the story about
    Estel Wilson. He was one of a kind and we miss him so much.
    Always enjoy your stories

    Gail

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