This is the time of the year when many of us feel we must create perfection.
We tell ourselves stories that people expect perfection from us.
We will only be valued if we are flawless.
Any imperfection and everything is ruined.
I’m writing this week’s newsletter in an effort to disabuse you of this toxic thinking.
Wishing this holiday season bring’s you joy.
Remember: You Matter. Your Stories Matter. Tell Them Well!
The Storytellers Channel
How Can We Be More Thankful?
In 1942, Victor Frankl was interned in a concentration camp by the Nazis. It was a place of death. If you weren’t outright killed in the gas chambers or shot on a whim, you were being starved to death or worked to death. In short, to put it mildly, it was not a place of joy.
Frankl had been a therapist before the war; his training enabled him to detach and observe. In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, he shares one of his observations.
The prisoners began to recognize those who stood a chance of survival and those who had essentially given up.
He noted that the poison dropped into the gas chambers completely permeated the space making it uninhabitable. Conversely, the sight of a sunbeam breaking through the clouds or a violet blooming amidst the gloom was enough to fill him with the possibility of good.
He began to consciously look for those moments of positivity. He horded them and held them close to his heart. Reminding himself, goodness existed in this world. Amidst the horror of the camp, he clung to the memories of good things that had happened in his life and the belief that they would happen again.
I don’t like comparing pain. It’s absurd to trivialize another’s pain. Worse, it’s mean. But, I think I’m safe saying, few of us are in circumstances as deadly as WWII’s concentration camps.
So many people I know are in such pain. I want to ask,
“Is there nothing you’re grateful for?”
Let me encourage you to find the thing. The one thing that brings a smile to your face. Focus your attention on that thing. Fill your consciousness with that good thing. Fill your soul with the memory of that good thing. Leave no room for the pain right now. Because the pain is consuming. It won’t last. It’s like meditation; the pain will continue to creep back in and just like physical pain, if you let it get a hold of you it takes a whole lot more morphine to bring relief. Believe I know what I’m talking about. Be vigilant. It takes practice. Keep bringing your focus back to the good.
You need a break. We all do.
Something will go wrong. Something always goes wrong. Celebrate the stuff that goes right. Look at your stories. Find the part where something went right. Structure your stories to focus on what’s worked for you. I can guarantee you will discover more joy in your life.
Share those stories. Help others believe they can find a way through their troubles. And remember the inscription inside King Solomon’s ring: This too shall pass.
At least that’s the story he told himself. And one I tell myself, too. Try it, there’s little to lose and the possibility of finding a little joy.
If nothing else, it’s a way to be more thankful.
Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.
Donna Washington is coming to Richmond.
February 1, 2020 you’ll be able to find her telling at The Hearts Afire Storytelling Series at First Baptist Church of Richmond at 2709 Monument Avenue Richmond, VA 23220.
Tickets will be available, soon!
I Want to Hear from You
We are full scale into the holiday season. Wishing y’all a happy end to 2019.
Til next time,