Life is (still) Good

bird-in-hand-yellow(Q) I can feel myself becoming anti-everything. Is there a way to reverse the process before the metamorphosis is complete?

(A) The short answer is YES. I believe the process can be reversed. Here’s the longer answer: Some years ago, I found myself in a similar situation. I felt as if I had fallen to the bottom of a deep well from which the climb up seemed impossible. I had little faith in my ability to get myself out of my situation and doubted my resolve would equal the effort needed.

It’s true what they say, you know – that from the very bottom the only way out is up – and when I looked up, I saw a blue sky. And since I was not anti a blue sky, I started there. Still at the bottom, I began to look for and count how many things I was not anti. The list was quite small in the beginning, but it grew, and eventually became my ladder out and luckily, it wasn’t too late. The blue sky was still there.

As you explore a way out of your predicament it’s worth considering what ‘too late’ looks like. What does permanent anti-everything look like? How does an anti-everything person appear? Are there role-models to follow? Would you want to join a club whose members were anti-everything?

I suggest you ask these questions silently and aloud in three different environments – outdoors as you share an intimate moment with the natural world, indoors as you look into a mirror, and during a reflective visit with your inner-self. Stay in each environment until you receive an answer. See if any of these ‘friends’ greenlight the idea. I would bet at least two of the three would raise a caution flag, and the third would present a STOP sign.

Do you know any ‘too late’ people? Most of us do. It’s hard to be around them for very long. We wonder what happened to them. We’re afraid it might be contagious. So that is another question to ask yourself, what happened to you? When did it happen? Did it happen all at once or gradually over time? Was it a specific event or person? Did it happen to you, to someone you know, or to the world you live in? These are important questions and only you have the answers.

You say the metamorphosis is not complete and you are asking for help in reversing the process. That’s a good sign! It means that you are still pro something. That’s a good place to begin. I am pro earth, as you already know. Some time ago I discovered that I can be pro earth without having to be anti-climate chaos non-believers, for example. That was an important distinction for me.

I am pro many things. And I am anti several too. I am anti-war and weapons, anti-poverty and hunger, and anti-headaches and mosquito bites. I am pro health, pro-organic gardening, and pro-good friends and great food. It’s a long list.

I am also temporarily neutral on some subjects, which means that I am open to changing my mind later. Whenever possible, live and let live works for me. The inner and outer spaces that I occupy have a smaller footprint these days. I don’t have room for any more protest signs. My eyes and ears are open. I trust and believe that our life will provide the answers we need.

I strongly suspect that you and I, and many others, have been following the yellow-brick-road we learned about as children. It is supposed to lead us home, but only after we have been tested a bit. The yellow-brick-road has also fallen into disrepair. It’s a bumpy road now and it’s easy to trip over the many obstacles. It’s hard to see the blue sky above and avoid the bumps below at the same time.

life isn't fair but it's still goodWhat to do?! Proceed with caution. Hang back a bit. Make a (temporary) decision to remain neutral instead of positive or negative, or pro vs anti. Take a break from strong opinions and hard decisions. Sit out controversial conversations for a short stretch. Replace reactive voices with calm ones. Try this for a season. A season is approximately three months, one-quarter of the year. Not too long. It’s doable.

I will add this. It’s easier to be anti this, them, and that. It’s harder to remain balanced, which requires us to juggle instead of judge. Conserve your energy for the things that matter most. Going forward, we will all need skills that are forgotten or rusty from disuse. We can start practicing today.

Back to the short answer – it’s too soon to throw in the towel and call it a day – or a life. So please make every effort to reverse the process. And as you do, help others to do the same.

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