This article, authored by Susan Rider, our Lead Dynamo,  was published in The News Enterprise in Spring 2011.

As the crocus bloom and the Easter flowers show their glory, it’s not uncommon for our minds to turn to spring cleaning.  A desire to freshen the linens, clean the cobwebs and start anew.   Just as we start to spring clean in our homes it might be a good idea to start spring cleaning our life! 

Let’s start with our minds.   First, eliminate all negative thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, a vacuum to perform this task hasn’t been invented, therefore, it will be up to us to ignite this new change in our minds.  Imagine a virtual garbage can and we’re going to get rid of all the garbage in our minds.  Throw out all those thoughts and feelings keeping us in a bad mood or motivating us to be angry.  So, get out a big garbage can and put all our thoughts of anger, hate, fear, worry, anxiety, jealousy and resentment in the virtual trash can.   Now, when these negative thoughts try to slip back into our minds, switch the thoughts to  positive ones,  such as comfort or confidence versus fear, happy versus sad, love versus hate.   It’s really hard to do but it will make a monumental difference in how we feel and we’ll have more energy.  Those negative thoughts tend to bring us down causing depression and sadness.  Un-forgiveness is one of those negatives.  So, forgive yourself and forgive others.  Let go of the past.  We don’t have a time machine, yet, so we can’t go back and change.   Let it go! View our minds with a light switch so when the negative thought creeps back into our minds, flip the switch and turn it into something positive. 

Every day we have a choice, we can focus on the positive or the negative.  If someone told us today was our last day on earth, few of us would waste our last hours on negatives, would we?   So, think this could be our last day, it’s easier to focus on the positive.   Change the way we think and we’ll change the way we live. Here’s an example of switching, one morning we awake and it’s raining, foggy, dreary outside, we could say, “YUCK I don’t want to get out of bed it’s a nasty day.  Or we could flip that switch and say, “Look at the beautiful rain, it’s going to nourish my flowers, fill the ponds, water the animals and less people will be out and about so the store will be less crowded or if you’re in sales, your customers won’t want to get out in this rain so when I call them they will be in the office.  I’m grateful for rainy days.”  

   Recently, on a plane and seated next to a lady who had just months before lost her husband.  I noticed she was sad, withdrawn and depressed.   How long were you married, I asked.   Sixty years she answered.   “Wow, sixty years with a wonderful man you loved.  How fortunate you were.  I suggested that she tell me some of her favorite memories.  She talked and laughed the whole flight.  She seemed like a totally different person.  When we landed, I suggested she flip that switch every time she began to feel sad and focus on how grateful she could be for the wonderful relationship she experienced with her husband.

 If you have troubles right now, it’s hard to be positive, it is work!   If you’re out of a job, getting a divorce, having money troubles, have a friend on drugs and you’re thinking, that’s easy for you to say, think positive, are you crazy?  Actually, I’m not crazy but do believe that in every dark cloud there is a silver lining.  Think just a moment about how it could get worse, but only a moment!  Then be grateful for other things that are going right, your health, the health of your children and friends, the clean air we breathe, the kind neighbor, your eyesight, your pets.   Got the picture?   No matter how bad things are we can always find someone who has it worse.  There are endless things we have to be grateful for if we focus on our gifts instead of our trials.