Monday, August 31, 2009

A Woman in her Thirties is Above the Line (mostly)

Today I went to a training/workshop at my new school that centered around the power of positive thinking. I have to admit I was skeptical at first, seeing how I'm not very good at touchy-feely stuff (especially when it comes to teaching it) and when I looked at the agenda I realized I had about a million things on my mind that could have easily taken priority. But I listened, as a woman in her thirties is wont to do.

One of the ideas we talked about was the concept of 'the line'. It's complicated, but the gist is that if you are 'above the line' you are positive, you are energized, and you recognize when you are starting to think negatively and stop it before it starts. People who operate 'above the line' live more fulfilling and happy lives. Being below the line, the place where you focus only on the negative in any situation and tend to bitch and moan about anything at all that doesn't go your way, is a place for unhappy and unfulfilled people.

A woman in her thirties, I thought, should live her life above the line.

There was a lot of time for reflection in today's training, and so I reflected on how much time I actually spend below the line: gossiping, complaining, and taking part in what was called 'thought circles'. These are the thoughts that begin in our heads with how bad our hair looks on a certain day and end with us feeling as though we are ugly and useless-- all within a span of thirty seconds. When I thought about my own life, and my own line, I think I average somewhere between below and far below on any given day. I made a decision to be conscious of my 'line' from now on, and left training feeling energized and Pollyanna-positive.

I was actually thinking about this newfound positivity as I drove down the street to get to my 5:00 NIA class. I thought about it as I looked at the three young boys playing football in the street in front of me. As I slowed down passing through them in my car, I thought to myself what a wonderful....

BOOM! It was the sound of a football that had been thrown from one side of the street to the other, one that hit the side of my brand new car that I just got on Saturday.

I slammed on the breaks and hopped out as though it was on fire.

'Do you have any idea how dangerous it is to be throwing footballs over passing cars?' I yelled in my teacher voice that I hadn't heard in a few months. 'I could have swerved and hit you and your friends! NOT TO MENTION THIS IS A BRAND NEW CAR!'

'I'm sorry!' the boy said. 'I thought I'd make it. I didn't mean to. I'm sorry!'

I got back into the car and drove away when I saw that no damage had been done, but I was fuming. In case you were still unclear about Thought Circles, mine went something like this:

1. Those punks!
2. Kids are such jerks!
3. Where are their parents?
4. This is exactly what is wrong with society today!
5. I can't believe I have to teach kids like this next week!
6. Why did I ever go into such a thankless profession?
7. This year is going to be terrible!
8. My life sucks!

Before I could fall further below the line, I stopped myself. That was not positive thinking. It wasn't even logical thinking. It was an opportunity for me to put into practice what I was just taught.

So I let it go. I went to NIA, danced like a fool, and made enchiladas for dinner. And tomorrow, when I drive by the house of the boys threw the football at my car, I will slow down and smile. I might even laugh maniacally. That is me, letting it go. And if they happen to see me out the window, and happen to be afraid that they messed with the wrong woman in her thirties, then so be it.

Now that's positive thinking.

2 comments:

  1. I love every bit of this post. Now have a good day, dammit!

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  2. Muhahahahaha... this was brilliant - I couldn't stop from chuckling with a slightly evil grin at that last line (I sunk below the line, forgive me. :) )

    This weekend we went camping in Big Sur and as we were packing our stuff to leave, we saw two cars waiting on the dirt road, just in front of our space.

    We had had the most fabulous time there... it was positive on so many levels... but as soon as we thought we were being rushed - our little minds devolved into a hefty Thought Circle.

    Who are these people?
    It isn't even checkout time!
    They're hours earlier than they're supposed to be
    Can't they wait somewhere else?
    Let's really drag this whole packing up process and really make them sweat...
    Why do we have to deal with people like this on our vacation!

    --Only to find out they were waiting for another space entirely. At that point we burst out laughing recognizing the sick pleasure the mind takes from being "right" even when it doesn't have all the facts.

    Sorry to leave such a long post - you just really highlited our own recent experience. Talk about synchronicity! Thank you so much for bringing this intriguing topic up on your blog. It was perfect timing and reminds me about my own resolution to stay above the line. Mostly. :)

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